Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Tory manifesto: Keep them out of government!

The Tories unveiled their manifesto yesterday. Peel away the 'back of the envelope' people power puff, and what remains? The same Tory policies we'd all expected:

Redistribution of wealth . . . to the rich:
  • Raising the inheritance tax threshold to £1m will cost the Exchequer hundreds of millions in lost revenue from relatively wealthy people. It is a regressive tax cut that benefits only a wealthy few
  • Likewise cutting the proposed rise in national insurance, described as ("Labour plans to raise the Employees’ National Insurance Contributions (NICs) for everyone earning over £20,000 by 1 per cent") neatly obscures the fact that there is also a 1% increase for employers, which the Tories will also cut. While, due to the ceiling at around £35,000, NI is a regressive tax - cutting employers' contributions is redistributing wealth to business
  • The manifesto also promises "we will cut the headline rate of corporation tax to 25p". Bear in mind when John Major left office after 18 years of Tory rule it was 33%, and Labour has cut that to 28%. This is a massive redistribution of wealth to big business
  • Raising the stamp duty threshold to £250,000 is a tax cut for those buying their own home, but the manifesto says nothing about the 1.8 million families on council house waiting lists
Elsewhere there's the promise to freeze public sector pay in 2011, and "address the growing disparity between public sector pensions and private sector pensions" - which I'm guessing doesn't mean improving private sector pensions . . .

They also promise to cut the bulk of the deficit over a Parliament (i.e. going further than Labour). So, like Labour, it's cuts, cuts, cuts - but with some more redistribution to the rich and powerful sprinkled on top.

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