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Saturday, November 19, 2005

Tax and spend

The spin on the Liberal Democrats tax commission is that they are going to come up with a tax-neutral" strategy which will alarm MPs and party activists on the Liberal Democrats left who gave the leadership a bloody nose on spending issues at this year's Blackpool conference. However, when one reads the details there is nothing there that I could not sign up to and I believe that goes for the vast majority of the rest of the party as well.

In particular the commitment to progressive taxation will remain:

That does not mean the party will ditch its commitment to a 50p rate of income tax on "the rich" - probably those earning more than £100,000 a year, on Mr Cable's "very reasonable definition" - or draw back from green taxes on targets like aircraft emissions.

It may also stand by controversial pledges to drop student tuition fees, replace council tax with local income tax, and extend free personal care to the elderly in England - all mocked as hopelessly unrealistic and "middle-class welfare" by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

All of our so-called 'controversial' pledges were principled and clear vote winners at the last election and it is right that we should not be in any hurry to drop them.
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