Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Oliver Letwin on tax cuts - the record so far

Oliver Letwin was in today's Evening Standard moaning about tax cuts and how great economic stability is again.

In the 2005 election Oliver promised £4bn of tax cuts. This is less than 1p off the standard rate of income tax. Its less than the A$12bn the Australian government tried to cut off income tax in 2000, with a third of the population - of course as typical tax revenues actually increased.

What happens. At the start of the election the only measure announced is that OAPs will pay less Council Tax. What measures follow, a sensible but complex one on increasing pension savings for basic rate taxpayers, too difficult for voters to easily understand, and a cut in Stamp Duty on properties, launched as an exclusive in the FT, hardly a paper with a mass readership.

Tax cuts did not work in 2005 for the simple reason the ones promised were too little and too vague, addressed at particular target groups of voters. If the tax cuts had been larger and to income tax and aimed at all voters, like they were in 1970, 1979 and 1983 then we might have won votes. Granted Oliver wasn't helped by having to fight a marginal, the then leader's insistence on the Howard Show, or some of the lefties in CCHQ being against tax cuts as a concept but its a big mistake to confuse the 2005 manifesto with a proper taxcutting agenda.

I found that many of the public perceptions of Oliver are highly unfair on a very reasonable man. But please Mr Letwin use your political nous to distinguish between poorly presented, confused rushed policy and a properly thought through and well argued tax cutting agenda - like the ones John Howard and George W Bush got elected and re-elected on.

PS The photo here actually is from the Shadow Cabinet page on the Tory party website.


At 3:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 2:38 PM, Blogger Praguetory said...

I don't understand why some Tories pander to the idea that there is a choice between tax cuts and economic "stability". They should be shouting from the rooftops that countries with the lowest/falling taxes (e.g. Isle Of Man, Dubai, Baltic States) are those with the highest economic growth rather than allow Brown to keep getting away with comparing our growth with the worst in class (FR, IT & GY).

At 2:38 PM, Blogger The TaxCutter said...

Spot on Praguetory. Your music taste ain't bad either


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