Tuesday, October 09, 2007

My cuts are bigger than your cuts.

I was going to launch another scathing attack on Gordon Brown today. But I've never been one for kicking a man when he's down - even if he does expect us to believe that he would not have called a General Election had the opinion polls not turned against him. And anyway, the much respected Welsh left wing blogger, Normal Mouth will fly off into another 'paddy' unless I'm very restrained in my phraseology when posting about Gordon. So there will be no gloating that the Prime Minister has been forced into a competition with us as to which is the tax cutting party. And no commenting on Labour's explicit commitment to hold a referendum on the EU constitutional treaty - even if the Prime Minister is expecting us to believe the unbelievable here as well. Mind you, the way he's been dithering, he might just change his mind on this one.

Today's Comprehensive Spending Review is interesting because the Government has chosen to 'spin' it as a statement about tax cutting. It is nothing of the sort of course (in fact it signals an increase in tax). But what's interesting to me is that it is suddenly respectable to talk about tax cuts again. Instead of attacking the Conservative's proposal to cut Inheritance Tax, Labour have tried to pretend that they are doing the same. Even though they are not. The doubling of the level where IT becomes payable from £300,000 to £600,000 makes no diference to many couples - becuse they were enjoying this benefit already. Where the spouse who dies first leaves £300,000 to the children and the rest to the other spouse, there is already £600,00 free of IT. This proposal is nothing more than sleight of hand - again. You really can't believe a word they say.

No wonder Brian Walden, the Labour MP turned television interviewer has had enough of it. He's going around giving speeches explaining why he will be voting Conservative at the next election. I could do with some high profile defections from the Lib Dems to me in Montgomeryshire.

In Wales, we must wait to see what Plaid Cymru Ministers are going to be saying. Throughout the 8 years that I was an AM, all Plaid did was hold out the begging bowl and say that Wales was not having enough to spend on public services. Well, they are going to be having a lot less from now on. I see some turbulance ahead for the unlikely couple. Watching the contorted faces of Helen Mary, Leanne Wood and Dai Lloyd in this year's Assembly budget debate is going to be priceless.


Dr. Christopher Wood (avatar: "Farscape") said...


But BIG CONGRATS on the new addition to your family!


Left Field said...

I sometimes get tired of being so right.

As Channel 4 said, they didn't so much steal your clothes, as the entire wardrobe.

If I understand it correctly, there IS a real change to inheritance tax. If you inherit from your parents I don't think you can split the tax burden with your spouse, although the Tory spokesman last night said you could have done it with a clever accountant. Well, no need for a clever account anymore.

As for Brian Walden, he lost any Labour connection when doing Weekend World. He was always Thather's favourite interviewer. According to Wikipedia she revealed in her autobiography that he had been a speechwriter for her, so I imagine it won't be the first time that he's voted Tory.

Glyn Davies said...

left field - I have no objection to the Labour Government stealing from our wardrobe - even if they try to take all of it. I am pleased if we can persuade the Government to accept our policies. By the way, did you see the Chancellor claim that he had been working on these policies all along and that the Tories had no effect on them!

You make a fair point about the need for lawyers (rather than accountants) to increase the current IT threshold to £600,000 - which is why what the Government is proposing is an improvement. But the change is not remotely as generous or easy to understand as the straight forward Conservative proposal. If a political party is so clearly 'setting the agenda' it will not be long until voters say that it might as well be in Government. Darling did a lot yesterday to make the Conservatives seem a party ready for government.

Mountjoy said...

How credible are Brown and Darling when they can’t even get the growth and borrowing figures right? It’s not just the non-election that proves they are indecisive and incompetent, but this PBR/CSR underlines what a mess Brown has made and what a tough job Darling has been left with … although he is following in Brown’s footsteps in terms of lack of charisma.

Savonarola said...

On Brian Walden.

I arrived in this country in 1977. Srikes, Grunwick, Eddy Shah, Scargill. Was I mad to arrive here with my young family? I listened to Weekend World and to Brian Walden and remember now his interview with Arthur Scargill who stated "I will nationalise Marks and Spencer." Mr Walden through his questioning exposed Scargill as a despot interested only in his own personal power and dominance of working men. I decided to stay. Thank you Brian Walden.

Left Field said...

I've been reading the BBC site, and just to clarify it appears that if for instance your father died 30 years ago and your mother dies, you can use your late father's £300,000 inheritance tax allowance together with your mother's giving £600,000

You are totally right though Glyn, they don't like making anything simple.

Savonarola: Surely you didn't just stay here because Brian Walden made Scargill appear an extremist?

It was always apparent that Scargill's ambition was to bring down the Tories and have a Labour government beholden to him. He failed, and unfortunately took the miners with him. Lions lead by donkeys.

Normal Mouth said...

Paddy? Moi?

Glyn Davies said...

mountjoy - well put.

savonarola - I too remember the shambolic industrial relations of the late 70s - which Mrs Thatcher's early Governments did so much to sort out.

left field - It is indeed retrospective - and a good thing too. I should make it clear that I am not opposed to the Chancellor's proposed change. Its just that it hardly stands comparison with our proposals, which will make a real difference.

And our postmen are starting to look like lions led by donkeys as well

hafod said...

Re the inheritance tax: Does anybody need to leave more than £600,000 to their kids? Even if they do, they can leave it before they die, thus avoiding a bit of tax (which is only 40%).
Howls of anguish from the nouveau riche of the Home Counties, newly concerned about the tax threshold because of housing inflation. Not something that's been taxed, not something that's been earned. Just good fortune.
Good fortune at the bookies is similarly taxed. Are Tories seriously saying that more and more money should be concentrated among the families of the rich? Oh, of course they are - that's what they've always said.