Miliband goes on top rate tax attack

27th November, 2012 9:47 am

Today Miliband and Balls are in Stevenage holding a Q&A today ahead of next week’s Autumn Statement (which is being held in December, so should it not be a winter statement?). Both men will be stepping up their attacks on the 50p tax cut, with Miliband set to say of the government:

They don’t understand that you build economic success not from wealth trickling down but by rewarding and supporting working people. Earlier this year I highlighted the millionaires’ tax cut. I said David Cameron would be giving a £40,000 tax cut to every person earning over a million pounds a year.

But new figures we are publishing today show it is even more than that. The Government is about to give an average of £107,500 each to 8,000 people earning over a million a year. Not £40,000. But £107,500. To 8,000 millionaires. David Cameron and George Osborne are giving them this money. But it’s coming from you. You are paying the price of their failure and them standing up for the wrong people.

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  • SR819

    Always the reference to “working people”. We saw the same with Yvette Cooper’s question time performance. She was opposed to the changes in the benefits system not primarily on ethical grounds, but because it would cost the “taxpayer” more.

    We need to stop this deification of “taxpayers” as if they’re the only group who matter. The people really struggling are the unemployed and those on benefits, and no political party is willing to represent them. Everyone’s representing the “strivers” and the “squeezed middle”, which is fair enough, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that the real victims are the long term unemployed, failed by an economic and social system that simply doesn’t value them.

  • Does he know what he’s talking about? People on benefits are given money by the government, not millionaires like Ed Milliband, Ed Balls and Margaret Hodge. Taxpayers pay money to the government.

    On the other hand, if your idea of government is one that takes all your money and gives back to the worker what it chooses not to keep, then he’s right. Is this the image we want?

  • Hugh

    “I said David Cameron would be giving a £40,000 tax cut to every person earning over a million pounds a year.”

    Well, no, strictly speaking you said he’d be “writing a cheque to each and every millionaire in Britain for £40,000”, which wasn’t true.

    • aracataca

      Slightly pedantic isn’t it Hugh? Those earning £1,000,000 per year such as Tory zealot Nick Buckles from G4S will pay £40,000 per year less in tax.

      • Hugh

        Number of millionaires in the UK: c.600,000
        Number of people earning £1m or over a year: 8,000

        Not really that pedantic is it?

        And, no, people like Nick Buckles are not likely to pay £40,000 less in tax; they’ll pay £40,000 less in income tax. Overall, the tax burden on the most wealthy was increased by the last budget.

        • aracataca

          But the government is going to reduce the income tax levels of those earning £1,000,000 a year by £40,000 a year – correct?

          • Hugh

            Yes, correct: and this is not faintly the same thing as cutting taxes by £40k for every millionaire in the country – or for that matter even cutting taxes by £40k for every person with an annual income over £1 million.

            Correct?

          • aracataca

            Look people will make their own judgements on whether the proposal to reduce the income tax of those who earn £1,000,000 per year by £40,000 per year is fair or not. The substantive point that EM is making remains clear and unequivocal.

          • Hugh

            Well, it’s a lot clearer since he stopped being deliberately misleading in his rather individual use of the term “millionaire”. But would most people still inadvertently conclude that the wealthy are net beneficiaries from the last budget? I think they would. Is that Ed’s intention and, if so, is it honest? People will make their own judgements.

          • aracataca

            Even if that were true was it not colossally incompetent for a Tory Chancellor to announce this measure given the obvious embarrassment it would cause and the opportunity it would offer to his political opponents?

          • Hugh

            Which part don’t you think is true?

            And, yes. In fact, I don’t support the cut being made while it’s still entirely unclear what the impact is on the tax take, and it was politically stupid. Unfortunately, the vacuous dishonesty offered up by Miliband is not an attractive alternative.

          • Winston_from_the_Ministry

            Not really.

            £40k x 600,000 = £24 million

            £40k x 8,000 = £320,000

            That’s quite a difference.

          • aracataca

            Of course most people understand that it’s people earning over £1 million a year who will benefit from this measure.

          • Winston_from_the_Ministry

            If you say so.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Out by three zeroes (£24 billion versus £320 million), but the point remains valid.

            If the average income tax saving for these lucky 8,000 individuals is£107,000, then the real question is has this measure changed any behaviours (whether domicile, not moving companies abroad, investment decisions or anything else the Government thought they may not do if the 50 pence rate remained in force) that end up benefitting the country by more than £856 million? That is the cost of the income tax saving. I really have no idea how that could be measured or proven, but if it could, it is the only test that matters.

            (The possible logic is that the tax rate cut may also attract additional very high earners to come to Britain. If France is imposing tax rates of 75%, then there is a significant differential, and the Eurostar train seems very rapid to Paris. No doubt some enormously intelligent set of Treasury people and a very expensive computer are modelling all of these sorts of variables)

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Out by three zeroes (£24 billion versus £320 million), but the point remains valid.

            If the average income tax saving for these lucky 8,000 individuals is£107,000, then the real question is has this measure changed any behaviours (whether domicile, not moving companies abroad, investment decisions or anything else the Government thought they may not do if the 50 pence rate remained in force) that end up benefitting the country by more than £856 million? That is the cost of the income tax saving. I really have no idea how that could be measured or proven, but if it could, it is the only test that matters.

            (The possible logic is that the tax rate cut may also attract additional very high earners to come to Britain. If France is imposing tax rates of 75%, then there is a significant differential, and the Eurostar train seems very rapid to Paris. No doubt some enormously intelligent set of Treasury people and a very expensive computer are modelling all of these sorts of variables)

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Out by three zeroes (£24 billion versus £320 million), but the point remains valid.

            If the average income tax saving for these lucky 8,000 individuals is£107,000, then the real question is has this measure changed any behaviours (whether domicile, not moving companies abroad, investment decisions or anything else the Government thought they may not do if the 50 pence rate remained in force) that end up benefitting the country by more than £856 million? That is the cost of the income tax saving. I really have no idea how that could be measured or proven, but if it could, it is the only test that matters.

            (The possible logic is that the tax rate cut may also attract additional very high earners to come to Britain. If France is imposing tax rates of 75%, then there is a significant differential, and the Eurostar train seems very rapid to Paris. No doubt some enormously intelligent set of Treasury people and a very expensive computer are modelling all of these sorts of variables)

  • I like Ed, more and more, I just don’t like this approach. I could just about understand it if there wasn’t this pretence in the Labour movement that there is an ideological link to the 50p rate. We were in Government for 13 years and introduced the 50p rate the month before the 2010 election, and we did it solely as a political trap for the Tories so that we could hit them like this if they tried to scrap it. Labour’s view on the 50p rate has always been political strategy, not economic strategy, and it’s very much the ‘old’ kind of politics Ed has promised to scrap.

    • Hugh

      Would that be the old kind of politics that Brown promised to scrap when he took over? Or the old kind of politics that Blair was meant to be scrapping when he swept in in ’97? Or the old kind of politics the coalition signaled the end of in 2010?

      Promises to scrap the old kind of politics are the the new old kind of politics.

      • No doubt you are right. But it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

        • Hugh

          No, quite right.

    • Perhaps Ed actually agrees with it?

  • I am intrigued how we “know” they will say this? Is there going to be a planted question which allows them to say this? Perhaps they will simply use any question which remotely covers this topic to make this pre-determined speech, regardless of whether that covers the questioner’s area of interest?

    To be honest, neither option offers very positive connotations for the honesty of interplay between the parliamentarian and voter, and both options support the cynical view many “ordinary” people increasingly take of politicians and politics.

  • Timmo111

    Labour sent young men and women to war with no body armour and unsuitable equipment, why no tax rise then ?
    Labour borrowed like there was not tomorrow and was addicted to PFI, why no tax rise then?
    Labour gave a contract to ATOS to retest every single person receiving disability benefits, before the financial crash, why no tax rise then ?

  • David B

    Why is he not highlighting the tax avoidance of The Guardian Newspaper Group or the tax avoidance of the company in which Mrs Hodge is a shareholde!!

  • Andrew Ben McKay

    I’m warming more to both Ed’s every day.

  • sdrpalmer

    It is an autumn statement because winter begins at the solstice.

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