Saturday, April 18, 2009

Remember who wrote this?

"There is only one thing to admire in this Government---their bare-faced cheek. After bringing in the biggest tax rises in peacetime history, they try to paint Labour as the tax-raising party.

Listening to the Tories nowadays, you could be fooled into thinking that someone else has been in power. Hearing John Major, Kenneth Clarke, and Brian Mawhinney, you could be excused for believing that it was someone else who put up your taxes TWENTY-TWO times, adding £2,120 to the tax burden of the typical family.

That, of course, is exactly their game. They want to airbrush out the past, forget their broken promises, ignore the damning facts. And that is why they are again peddling the Great Tory Lies about Labour's tax plans.

I believe that you have suffered enough from the Tory tax betrayal. Hard-working families like you have been hit hard by the 22 Tory tax rises. That is why I have pledged that a New Labour Government will not raise either the basic rate or the top rate of income tax. They will remain unchanged under the next Labour Government. I am determined to ensure hard work is rewarded, not penalised.

Cutting bills for families

And because of this, my tax-cutting goal is to bring in---when the country can afford it---a new 10p starting rate. That will enable everyone to keep more of their hard-earned money. And it will encourage the unemployed off welfare and into work, saving us all cash.

I also intend that our taxation policies will be fair. Which is why we will cut VAT on heating to 5 per cent, the lowest level possible. That will cut family bills and help pensioners more than most. And don't forget that, but for Labour, VAT on heating would already be at 17.5 per cent. It was only our campaign and votes which stopped the Tories doubling the Cold Tax as they intended.

I have also promised that VAT will not be extended to food, children's clothes, public transport fares, books and newspapers. They will be the Tory targets if they retain power. These are my cast-iron guarantees on tax-based on our principles of encouraging work and promoting fairness.

The Tory tactic now is to make sure the facts don't get in the way of their smears.

So, without hesitating, they dream up a whole raft of new scare stories. And yet again, they won't let their record stand in the way.

Since 1979, it is the Tories who have raised national insurance no less than FIVE times. National insurance on working people stood at 6.5 per cent when the Tories came to power. It now stands at 10 per cent. By the Government's own admission, that change cost you Pounds 5.3 billion in extra tax last year. The equivalent of an extra 3p on income tax. That's a massive back-door tax rise. BUT you won't catch the Tories mentioning that fact. And they are trying the same trick on mortgage tax relief.

They ended higher rate relief, and then cut it in successive years from 25 per cent to 15 per cent-an extra tax bill for homeowners of over £500.

These cuts came despite a manifesto pledge to "maintain mortgage tax relief."

But just as with extending VAT and their tax cut promises, their pledges were worthless. It is a record of tax betrayal which would have most people squirming in embarrassment. But not the Tories. They know no shame.

Labour will only make promises that we can keep and not make promises that we cannot guarantee to deliver. We have published our spending commitments and we have also said how we will pay for them. And they do not require any tax increases except for the windfall levy on the excess profits of the privatised utilities.

The truth on finance

That is to pay for our programme of getting 250,000 jobless youngsters into work. When we are in Government we will have a chance to see whether the Tories have been telling the truth about the nation's finances.

We have every reason to be suspicious. At the last General Election, they hid from voters how bad the economy was. They underestimated by billions of pounds---either deliberately or through incompetence---just how much money was to be borrowed. Money that would have to be repaid by taxpayers.

Only weeks before the last General Election, Chancellor Norman Lamont forecast in his Budget that Government borrowing for the next year would be £32 billion. It wasn't. It was £45 billion. He was out by £13 billion. And he got every borrowing forecast wrong for all following years.

It has come to a staggering Pounds 66 billion more than he said. You can understand why I need to be cautious.

John Major knew he was being wildly optimistic. He just didn't care---provided the Tories won.

My suspicions that the Tories are not telling the whole truth again have only been increased by their decision to phase in the public pay awards. If the economy is going so well why can't the money for nurses be paid in full now? I fear the Tories are covering up the true state of this country's finances.

I am not going to behave like the Tories. I will not tell fairy tales, or make promises I cannot keep. But I will act on the priorities .

That is why I have said that the pay of top people---such as Government ministers and judges---should be frozen this year. And it is why I have said I cannot promise we will find £60 million of public money to build a new Royal yacht.

That is why we are phasing out the private schools' assisted places scheme to cut class sizes for five, six and seven-year-olds. That is why we will cut red tape in the NHS to release more cash for patient care. And that is why we will tackle the waste of youth unemployment.

I will only promise what I can deliver. And unlike the Tories, I will deliver my promises on tax."

Yep, you were right! This is an article by one Gordon Brown MP, published in the News of the World on Feb 9th, 1997. As JD, the commenter on the Coffee House blog says: "In view of the present situation, some of the lines are particularly ironic. Swap a few words around (e.g. 'Labour' for 'Tory', 'Brown' for 'Major') and they fit current circumstances amusingly well."


subrosa said...

Morning Ted. Hope you're trip to London was all you wanted it to be.

Isn't it the same old story in politics, what goes round comes round.

Ted Foan said...

Hello Janet - thank you for asking about the "scattering" - as John at the crematorium called it. It was a jolly and happy experience - my family are a bit weird like that! (Mum was 91 years old when she died.)

And yes, the world keeps spinning - as do the Labour Party (and, I suppose, any other party too) but this one seems to be in a tailspin now. Good! It deserves to fall out of the sky and crash and burn. Alice Mahon has said it all.