Saturday, 19 July 2008
It's the Labour/Tory economic face off...
A strange week in the world of UK economic policy. Alistair Darling has decided that there should be no more tax rises; So brave Badger after all these years of increasing the burden....
On the other hand his Master, Gordon Brown, has decreed that the Treasury look to relax fiscal rules to allow more borrowing. As much as this is final proof of the way they have mismanaged the economy, it is also the right thing to do. As I posted last week it could be the economy crashes utterly. the last thing to throw into that mix is huge public spending cuts and more unemployment etc. But no more than is necessary to current commitments only.
So what has been the Oppositions response? Two ideas have been floated this week. One is to make the Government accountable to an independent body for its spending. This is a great idea if you are about to lose power and would have been fantastic in 1997. However, in 2008 is this really the answer?
In some ways it irros discussions about the NHS - at the end of the day we vote for politicians to enact spending policy, make laws and start/end wars. To pretend that somehow an independent body should be in charge is an affront to democracy and also says how little politicians trust even themselves.
Secondly David Cameron said on Marr this morning that he would be open to tax rises should the need arise in 2010 when he is elected. Again, this is poor posturing, it is one thing not to lower spending in a downturn, quite another to advocate increasing the tax rate. There is plenty of scope for reducing waste and no room for raising taxes at all.
The Conservatives are at last putting forward some economic policies, but they are still very lacking on detail and clear thought. This kind of approach won't win them an election and instead Labour will begin to close the gap unless firmer, more intelligent suggestions are made.
Here are some easy ones:
List 100 quango's to scrap and put the savings into local government
Say that all the wasted IT projects, ID cards etc, will be ended.
Define the green taxes and the trade off to income tax/personal allowance.
Merge NI and Income tax and increase personal allowances.
Posted by CityUnslicker