Look Up Chancellor, Look Up! How the Better-Off Can Plug UK Budget Holes

It is very welcome news that the Government appears to be stopping, or at least reining back, the cuts to disabled people and the wider welfare budget. Rebalancing the nation’s finances on those with the narrowest shoulders never made much sense, economically or morally, and it is terrible policy for reducing inequality.

We hope that the Chancellor will now refocus his gaze upwards, to those who can comfortably pay more. He could start by reversing the tax giveaways to the better off that were contained in last week’s Budget. He could also reintroduce the 50p top rate of tax and, more importantly, announce a revaluation of the nation’s property. This would involve moving away from the currently regressive council tax system towards a progressive property tax that takes account of the huge house price rises since 1991, when the last revaluation was carried out. He could also revisit his (quickly shelved) plans to reduce the tax perks given to the better off via the pensions system. There is also a good case for reviewing the proposed cuts in corporation tax at this time of strain on the public finances.

In short, there’s plenty of fat to be trimmed and rich seams to be mined if only the Chancellor would look towards the higher end of the income and wealth spectrum rather than down towards the bottom. This way, he can some give real meaning to the Prime Minister’s vision, outlined yesterday in Parliament, of a government that ensures we really are “all in it together”.

Bill Kerry, Supporters & Local Groups Manager