Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sabre rattling - or did he mean it?

Tonight, I was going to post about the interview that George Osborne gave Andrew Marr on the BBC this morning. It would have been very complimentary about the Chancellor, and about ex Labour MP, John Hutton who has agreed to prepare a report for the Government about how to deal with the unsustainable cost of public sector pensions. But with my recent record of dropping career damaging 'love bombs' I'm going to resist the temptation.

Instead, I'm going to post on comments given to the BBC's 'Politics Show' by Roger Williams, Parliamentary leader of the Lib Dems in Wales. Roger has informed us that he would not support any increase in VAT, if such an increase were to be proposed in the budget next Tuesday. I wonder what he meant by that. Did he just mean that he would not like it. Well I, and a lot of my friends would not like it either. Or did he mean that he would vote against the budget if it included an increase in VAT - even an increase of say 1%. That's what it looks like.

During the General Election campaign, I responded to questions by saying that I hoped a Conservative Government would not have to raise taxes at all. I also said that I hoped there would be reductions in business taxes - to stimulate the private sector to create new business. It followed that I accepted that there would have to be significant reductions in public spending. Circumstances have led me to slightly modify my position. Over the last few weeks I've accepted that there should be limited and selective increases in CGT to avoid blatant tax dodges. I support the Osborne approach that around 80% of the deficit reduction proposals should involve less public spending.

Now I don't expect to get all that I want next Tuesday. No budget has ever done that. But I expect to hear the Chancellor explain to us the reasons for any changes he proposes. I hope and expect his arguments are strong. To just say, two days before the budget that I would not vote for my Government's budget if he did something I disapproved of would have the Whips on the phone within the hour - quite rightly too. But that seems to be what Roger Williams did this morning. I wonder what Deputy PM, Nick Clegg thinks of it.


Anonymous said...

more to the point - what do you think about it? you're coming across as all talk but no trousers. Roger is a fine MP. and we deserve better in Montgomeryshire. Start by tackling the issues that effect this county before slagging off other MPs from other constituencies please!

Glyn Davies said...

Anon - I don't think I was 'slagging off' Roger in any way, and would be very surprised if he thought so. There's a difference between noting an interesting comment by a fellow politician, and 'slagging off'. I think I made clear that I too do not like the VAT increase, but accept that the Coalition Government had no choice but to act, following the problems that have beset the Greek economy in particular.