Friday, 15 February 2013

The Sums Do Not Add Up

It seemed Red Ed Miliband tried to woo the nation yesterday with a Valentine's Day treat - a policy. Until now Ed Miliband has offered nothing but a blank page. As soon as he started to utter his first words, at last we began to see why.

Red Ed announced that Labour will reintroduce the 10p tax rate scrapped by Gordon Brown in the fag end of the last Labour Government. It was announced that this would funded by the Lib Dem policy of a mansion tax on houses over £2 Million. Funny that.

Ed may think that he has pulled the wool over the public's eyes, but his announcement was nothing more than a masterclass in hypocrisy and shameless spin.

First: the hypocrisy. Back in 2008, when he was in government and had to actually account for the pledges Labour dreamt up, Ed was a leading supporter of the 10p tax abolition claiming that scrapping the 10p rate “makes the tax system fairer”.

Shameless. Worst of all, however: the spin. Balls and Miliband have announced that they will fund their new flagship policy with a mansion tax on properties worth over £2 million. Just the two problems.

One: Labour have already committed to spending the money raised through a mansion tax on reversing the Coalition’s cuts to tax credits.

Two: Even if the cash had not already been set aside for something else, the mansion tax would only raise £2 billion. That figure is a considerable distance short of the £7 billion required to pay for reversing the abolition of the 10p rate.

So the Labour leader has pledged to reverse a policy that he himself implemented and has offered no credible explanation about how it would be funded. This is magic money politics, disingenuous in the extreme. Then we wonder why the country is in the economic mess it is in.

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