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Thursday, 10 September 2009

Labour and Tory plans for spending and the election

Jonathan Freedland argues that the election battles lines are drawn, with 'the many' and 'the few' having their champions decked out in their colours.
Cameron, he argues, has jumped on the band-wagon of MPs expenses to say how much he'll slash everything which helps politicians and ID cards, ID cards, ID cards.

"Proof of that came when reporters asked Cameron to offer more substantial cuts to the national budget than demanding honourable members pay full price for their custard creams. "ID cards", came the answer. Good for him. The identity card scheme is indeed a waste of money and should be scrapped. What else? "ID cards." And? "ID cards." Three times he offered up the same lamb for sacrifice. Which suggests that, for all the macho promises of frankness, he can't think of any other cuts – or none he's willing to admit in public."

Freedland argues that focusing on the size of the debt is a red herring, which i agree with. The size of the current debt is not something that needs a 'slash and burn' approach to sort, it should be gently wound down over time.

investment in young people and keeping people in jobs is worth while and will reep rewards in the future.

perhaps the most telling is the comparison between Labour's desire to keep inheritance tax and tax credits at the current level, while the Tories would reduce these:

"Labour will wield the axe with an eye on protecting the neediest. But look at the Tories. For all his talk of belt-tightening, Cameron has not promised to revoke his proposed change to inheritance tax – raising the threshold to £1m, thereby helping 3,000 of the richest estates each year. Yet tax credits, which boost the incomes of the lowest paid, are firmly in the Tories' sights. There are grounds here for Labour to replay one of its oldest tunes: that they are for the many, while the Tories are for the few."

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