Wiki Actu en

May 18, 2014

Bank of England governor warns housing market is biggest threat to UK economy

Bank of England governor warns housing market is biggest threat to UK economy

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Mark Carney in 2010.
Image: World Economic Forum.

United Kingdom
Related articles
  • 26 June 2015: Former Scottish Conservatives leader Annabel Goldie to stand down as MSP
  • 25 June 2015: Petition pressures City of Edinburgh Council to review clause affecting live music scene
  • 13 June 2015: English actor Christopher Lee dies aged 93
  • 6 June 2015: Major haemorrhage linked to alcoholism announced as cause of Charles Kennedy’s death
  • 4 June 2015: Charles Kennedy, former Liberal Democrats leader, dies aged 55
Location of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom (orthographic projection).svg
Collaborate!
  • Pillars of Wikinews writing
  • Writing an article

The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has warned that the state of the housing market in the United Kingdom is the current biggest domestic threat to the country’s economy, due to lack of house building, and regulatory issues.

In an interview to be aired on Sky News today, he said the housing market is the “biggest risk” to the economy and has “deep, deep structural problems”. Of house building he said: “There are not sufficient houses built in the UK. To go back to Canada, there are half as many people in Canada as in the UK, twice as many houses are built every year in Canada as in the UK and we can’t influence that.”

“We’re not going to build a single house at the Bank of England. We can’t influence that. What we can influence […] is whether the banks are strong enough. Do they have enough capital against risk in the housing market?”

Carney also said the Bank of England would look into the procedures used to issue loans and mortgages to see if they were being granted appropriately: “We’d be concerned if there was a rapid increase in high loan-to-value mortgages across the banks. We’ve seen that creeping up and it’s something we’re watching closely.”

Kris Hopkins responded to Carney on behalf of the government, saying the government “inherited a broken housing market, but our efforts to fix it are working”. “We’ve scrapped the failed top-down planning system, built over 170,000 affordable homes and released more surplus brownfield sites for new housing. We’ve also helped homebuyers get on the housing ladder, because if people can buy homes builders will build them. Housebuilding is now at its highest level since 2007 and climbing. Last year councils gave permission for almost 200,000 new homes under the locally-led planning system and more than 1,000 communities have swiftly taken up neighbourhood planning. It’s clear evidence the government’s long-term economic plan is working.”

Earlier this month, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development called on the UK government to “tighten” access to the ‘Help to Buy‘ scheme introduced by George Osborne and the coalition government in 2013. ‘Help to Buy’ has also recently been criticised by three former Chancellors of the Exchequer — the Conservatives Norman Lamont and Nigel Lawson, and former Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling. Darling said: “Unless supply can be increased substantially, we will exacerbate that situation with schemes like Help to Buy.”



Sources

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

March 24, 2010

Alistair Darling unveils UK\’s 2010 Budget

Alistair Darling unveils UK’s 2010 Budget

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

United Kingdom
Related articles
  • 26 June 2015: Former Scottish Conservatives leader Annabel Goldie to stand down as MSP
  • 25 June 2015: Petition pressures City of Edinburgh Council to review clause affecting live music scene
  • 13 June 2015: English actor Christopher Lee dies aged 93
  • 6 June 2015: Major haemorrhage linked to alcoholism announced as cause of Charles Kennedy’s death
  • 4 June 2015: Charles Kennedy, former Liberal Democrats leader, dies aged 55
Location of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom (orthographic projection).svg
Collaborate!
  • Pillars of Wikinews writing
  • Writing an article

Alistair Darling in 2006
Image: Agência Brasil.

Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, today unveiled the country’s final annual budget before the general election. The biggest announcements included abolishing stamp duty on homes under £250,000 for first-time buyers, whilst increasing it to 5% on homes over £1 million. In his statement to the House of Commons, the Chancellor claimed that the Labour government had made the right calls in countering the global recession, but warned that introducing cuts too early would jeopardise the recovery.

Opposition leader David Cameron attacked the Budget, saying that the headline stamp duty plans were stolen from his own Conservative party. He criticised the amount of government debt, expected to be £167 billion this year, pointing out that it was more than every previous Labour government’s borrowing added together. Cameron continued his call for spending cuts to decrease the deficit, saying it was time for a “radical change of direction”. Darling however maintains that it is too soon.

Cquote1.svg I know there are some demanding immediate cuts to public spending. I believe such a policy would be both wrong and dangerous. Cquote2.svg

—Alistair Darling

“I know there are some demanding immediate cuts to public spending,” said the Chancellor to the Commons. “I believe such a policy would be both wrong and dangerous. To start cutting now risks derailing the recovery – which is already bringing down borrowing more rapidly than expected.” This year’s expected government debt is less than the £178 billion that was forecast in December 2009’s pre-Budget report.

There will be an estimated 2.2% real terms rise in government spending this year, and several spending announcements were made. However Darling warned that cuts will follow after 2011, and could be “the toughest for decades”. The Conservatives have said that if they win the upcoming election, they will introduce an “emergency Budget” less than 50 days after taking office.

Among the plans announced by the Chancellor today are a green investment bank to support renewable energy and low-carbon industries. This will have £2 billion, half raised by sale of government assets, including the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, and half raised from private investment. Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds will also have to provide loans worth £94 billion to businesses, with small and medium sized companies receiving at least half of this. These companies will also have access to a new credit adjudicator to oversee banks’ decisions on loans.

There will be a sharp rise of 10% in tax on cider, with wine, beer and spirit duties rising at 2% above inflation as planned. These changes will occur from midnight on Sunday, and tax on alcohol is set to increase a further 2% for two years from 2013. The previously scheduled increase in fuel duty will still happen, but will now be staggered over a longer period.

HAVE YOUR SAY
Wikinews commentary.svg
How will the Budget affect you financially? And has it changed your voting intentions at the General Election?
Add or view comments

Other changes include a freeze of the threshold for inheritance tax for the next four-years, whilst higher winter fuel payments for pensioners will be maintained for another year.

UK Budget 2010 borrowing forecast.png

Expected government borrowing until 2015 is less in the 2010 Budget than in the 2009 pre-Budget report.
Image: the wub. Data: Budget 2010, page 24.

UK Budget statement 2010 wordle.png

A tag cloud of Alistair Darling’s Budget statement to the House of Commons.
Image: http://www.wordle.net/.

Related news

Sources

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

April 23, 2009

Darling announces UK budget for 2009

Darling announces UK budget for 2009 – Wikinews, the free news source

Darling announces UK budget for 2009

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Rt Hon Alistair Darling, MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer

The United Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, yesterday announced the 2009 budget. The budget is an annual audit of the nation’s finances, and decides what should be done with taxpayers’ money.

The chancellor fell under scorn for his GDP growth forecasts, which are considered to be too optimistic in predicting that Britain will bounce back from its weakest economic performance since the end of the second world war. Darling forecast GDP growth of 3.5% in 2011, even after he was made to downgrade his predictions. He expects a record expansion of 1.25% next year, but chief UK economist Howard Archer disagrees, calling Darling’s predictions “mildly optimistic in the near term and much more optimistic in the long term.”

HAVE YOUR SAY
Wikinews commentary.svg
Was the increase in the ISA limit “too little, too late”?
Add or view comments

His plans for savers and pensioners, however, were commended by many, though was also criticised by a large portion of the populace. In the budget, Darling increased the amount that savers can put into an Individual Savings Account (ISA) from £7,200 to £10,200, of which £5,100 can be saved in cash. These increased limits will be available only to people aged over 50 from 6 October this year, and will not be available to everyone until 6 April next year. A number of financial experts described the move as being “too little, too late”, and Rumina Hassam, of price comparison website uSwitch.com, said: “The government’s decision to increase the cash ISA limit by £1,500 to £5,100 for the over 50’s is a just another kick in the teeth for the majority of savers as they will have to wait even longer to benefit. There is no doubt that savers have been sacrificed as a result of the plummeting base rate, bringing savings rates to an all time low.”

Departmental expenditure limits

Economy and business
Euro coins and banknotes.jpg
Related articles
  • 25 June 2015: Petition pressures City of Edinburgh Council to review clause affecting live music scene
  • 5 June 2015: Australian businessman Alan Bond dies aged 77
  • 5 March 2015: Spanish authorities arrest Yuriy Kolobov, former Ukrainian finance minister
  • 26 February 2015: Southwest Airlines grounds 128 uninspected planes
  • 9 December 2014: New Delhi orders Uber cease operation following alleged rape
Collaborate!
  • Pillars of Wikinews writing
  • Writing an article
United Kingdom
Related articles
  • 26 June 2015: Former Scottish Conservatives leader Annabel Goldie to stand down as MSP
  • 25 June 2015: Petition pressures City of Edinburgh Council to review clause affecting live music scene
  • 13 June 2015: English actor Christopher Lee dies aged 93
  • 6 June 2015: Major haemorrhage linked to alcoholism announced as cause of Charles Kennedy’s death
  • 4 June 2015: Charles Kennedy, former Liberal Democrats leader, dies aged 55
Location of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom (orthographic projection).svg
Collaborate!
  • Pillars of Wikinews writing
  • Writing an article

The tables below show the government’s plans for spending between now and 2011, although the 2010 budget may change these plans.

Resource DEL Outturn 2007-08 Estimate 2008-09 Plans 2009-10 Plans 2010-11
Children, Schools and Families 44.9 46.8 49.2 51.3
Health 88.4 92.5 99.9 104.0
of Health: NHS England 86.4 90.9 98.2 102.3
Transport 6.8 6.5 6.4 6.4
Innovation, Universities and Skills 15.5 16.7 17.2 17.9
CLG Communities 4.2 4.3 4.5 4.5
CLG Local Government 22.8 24.6 25.6 26.3
Home Office 8.6 8.9 9.4 9.5
Justice 8.8 9.3 9.5 9.4
Law Officers’ Departments 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.7
Defence 35.7 37.9 38.7 36.7
Foreign and Commonwealth Office 1.9 2.0 2.0 1.6
International Development 4.5 4.8 5.5 6.2
Energy and Climate Change 0.6 1.0 1.1 1.1
Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform 1.8 1.6 1.8 1.4
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 2.7 2.7 2.7 2.7
Culture, Media and Sport 1.6 1.6 1.7 1.7
Work and Pensions 8.1 8.1 9.1 9.9
Scotland 23.8 24.6 25.4 26.1
Wales 12.3 13.0 13.6 14.0
Northern Ireland Executive 7.6 8.1 8.4 8.7
Northern Ireland Office 1.3 1.3 1.2 1.2
Chancellor’s Departments 4.8 4.8 4.6 4.5
Cabinet Office 1.8 2.0 2.3 2.4
Independent Bodies 0.7 0.8 0.9 1.0
Modernisation Funding 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.3
Reserve 0.0 0.0 0.7 2.9
Allowance for shortfall 0.0 -0.6 0.0 0.0
Total resource DEL 309.9 324.3 342.1 352.3
Capital DEL Outturn 2007-08 Estimate 2008-09 Plans 2009-10 Plans 2010-11
Children, Schools and Families 5.2 5.6 7.2 6.8
Health 3.8 4.6 5.6 4.8
of Health: NHS England 3.6 4.4 5.4 4.7
Transport 7.1 7.3 8.3 7.4
Innovation, Universities and Skills 2.1 2.1 2.6 1.8
CLG Communities 6.1 7.1 8.8 6.1
CLG Local Government 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.1
Home Office 0.7 0.9 0.8 0.8
Justice 0.8 1.0 0.8 0.7
Law Officers’ Departments 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Defence 7.9 8.6 9.1 8.8
Foreign and Commonwealth Office 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2
International Development 0.7 0.9 1.4 1.6
Energy and Climate Change 1.5 1.7 2.0 1.8
Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.3
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 0.6 0.6 0.7 0.6
Culture, Media and Sport 0.5 0.8 0.4 0.6
Work and Pensions 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1
Scotland 3.6 3.3 3.7 3.2
Wales 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.7
Northern Ireland Executive 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1
Northern Ireland Office 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.1
Chancellor’s Departments 0.3 0.3 1.0 0.3
Cabinet Office 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.4
Independent Bodies 0.1 0.0 0.1 0.1
Reserve 0.0 0.0 1.2 2.1
Allowance for shortfall 0.0 -0.2 0.0 0.0
Total capital DEL 44.1 48.3 57.7 51.6
Total Outturn 2007-08 Estimate 2008-09 Plans 2009-10 Plans 2010-11
Depreciation 10.8 11.9 12.4 13.4
Total Departmental Expenditure Limits 343.2 360.7 387.3 390.5
Total Education spending 78.1 83.0 88.0 89.2



Sources

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has more about this subject:
Budget 2009 (UK)
Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

November 20, 2007

UK government loses personal information of 25 million people

UK government loses personal information of 25 million people

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Alistair Darling
Image: Antonio Cruz/ABr.

British Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling announced to a shocked House of Commons today that two password-protected — but not encrypted — computer disks containing the entire Child Benefit database have been lost in transit between the offices of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in Washington, Tyne & Wear and the National Audit Office (NAO) in London, in what has been described as “one of the world’s biggest ID protection failures”.

The database contains details of all families in the UK who receive Child Benefit — all families with children up to 16 years of age, plus those with children up to 20 years old if they are in full-time education or training — estimated to contain 25 million individuals in 7.25 million families. Among other items of information, the database contains names, addresses, dates of birth, child benefit and National Insurance numbers, and where appropriate, bank or building society account details.

The discs were created by a junior official at the HMRC in response to a request for information by the NAO, and were sent unregistered and unrecorded on 18 October using the courier company TNT — which operates the HMRC’s internal mail system. When it was found that the discs had not arrived for audit at the NAO, a further copy of this data was made and sent — this time by registered mail — and this package did arrive. HMRC were not informed that the original discs had been lost until 8 November, and Darling himself was informed on 10 November.

The violation of data protection laws involved in the creation of the discs has led to strong attacks on the government’s competence to establish the proposed National Identity Register, when all UK residents will have an identity card. Conservative Shadow Chancellor George Osborne described the loss of data as “catastrophic” and said “They [the government] simply cannot be trusted with people’s personal information”.

The Chairman of HMRC, Paul Gray, has resigned over the affair, and critics are calling for Darling to do likewise.

This is the third data embarrassment for HMRC in recent weeks — earlier this month it was reported that the details of over 15,000 Standard Life customers had been put on disk, and then lost en route from HMRC in Newcastle to Standard Life in Edinburgh — and last month a laptop containing the data of 400 people with high-value ISAs was stolen from the boot of a car belonging to a HMRC official who had been carrying out a routine audit.



Sources

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

March 16, 2005

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer makes 2005 Budget speech

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer makes 2005 Budget speech

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Gordon Brown (file)

The United Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Right Honourable Gordon Brown PC MP, in a speech to the British House of Commons today presented his ninth Budget, what is very likely to be his last Budget before the next UK General Election. This opened the parliamentary debate on the 2005 Finance Bill, and was followed by responses from the opposition parties.

In a 48 minute long speech, the Chancellor presented a Budget of “tax cuts that are reasonable, spending that is affordable, and [economic] stability that is paramount”, that was “the prudent course for Britain”. There were few surprises that had not already been indicated in his 2004 pre-Budget report. The increase in the threshold on stamp duty was greater than that forecast by commentators, as was the amount of the Council Tax rebate to households with pensioners.

The Budget in detail

Duty

Before the speech, commentators had speculated that the Chancellor would increase the threshold for stamp duty on house purchases from £60,000 to £100,000 (the same increase that the Liberal Democrats had proposed in their Alternative Budget in February 2005), to reflect the increase in house prices over the past few years and to reduce the burden on first-time house buyers; and would not increase the duty on petrol. In his 2004 pre-Budget report, the Chancellor had committed to no increases in the duty on spirits, in advance of the duty stamps scheme scheduled to be introduced in 2006.

Stamp duty

In his Budget report, the Chancellor announced that the threshold for stamp duty on house purchases would increase from £60,000 to £120,000, effective from 24:00 March 16, 2005.

Spirits

In his Budget report, the Chancellor announced that the rates of duty on spirits, cider, and sparkling wine would remain frozen at their current levels.

Beer and wine

In his Budget report, the Chancellor announced a 1 penny increase in the duty on beer, and a 4 pence increase in the rate of duty on wine, effective from March 20, 2005.

Tobacco

In his Budget report, the Chancellor announced a 7 pence increase in the duty on cigarettes, effective from 18:00 on March 16, 2005.

VAT

In his Budget report, the Chancellor announced a refund of the VAT incurred by local councils in expenditure on childrens’ services; and an extension of the refund, of 100% of the VAT incurred by church renovations, to 2008.

Petrol, Diesel, and LPG

In his Budget report, the Chancellor announced the deferral of the increases in the duty on most fuels, to September 1, 2005.

Vehicles

In his Budget report, the Chancellor announced that there would be no increase in the rate of vehicle excise duty.

Taxes

In his 2004 pre-Budget report, the Chancellor had announced a payment of £50 to households with someone aged 70 or over in 2005.

Council tax

In his Budget report, the Chancellor announced a Council Tax credit of £200 for households with someone aged 65 or over in 2005.

Income tax

In his Budget report, the Chancellor announced that Income Tax Allowance would increase from £4745 per annum to £4895 per annum.

Inheritance tax

In his Budget report, the Chancellor announced that the rate of capital gains tax was remain frozen at its current level; and a raise in the inheritance tax threshold from £260,000 to £275,000, from April 6, 2005.

Company taxes

In his Budget report, the Chancellor announced that the rates for Corporation Tax and Company Car Tax would remain frozen at their current levels.

Benefits

No further changes to the savings threshold for benefits elegibility had been expected. In the 2004 Budget, the Chancellor had already announced that the threshold would increase from £3,000 to £6,000 from April 4, 2005. In his 2004 pre-Budget report, the Chancellor had announced

  • simplifications of the Housing benefit and Council Tax benefit systems, effective from April 2005 and October 2005;
  • that the upper bound on annual income for elegibility for Working Tax credit would be increased to £5,220 per annum, from April 2005; and
  • that the child element of Child Tax Credit would increase by £65 to £1,690 per annum, from April 2005.
Child benefit

In his Budget report, the Chancellor announced that child tax credit would rise by 13% over 3 years, to £63 for the first child and £111 for 2 children, and that child benefit would rise to £17 per week.

Allowances

In his Budget report, the Chancellor announced a £200 winter fuel allowance in 2005 for pensioners.

Business

In his Budget report, the Chancellor announced

  • changes by the Inland Revenue and H.M. Customs & Excise allowing small businesses to maintain a single tax account, simplifying paperwork;
  • an enhanced tax credit for research & development companies;
  • new tax reliefs for independent and low-budget films.

Employment

In his 2004 pre-Budget report, the Chancellor had announced the extension of the length of maternity leave from 6 months to 9 months, beginning in April 2007.

Stating that he had augmented his Budgetary goal of “forg[ing] a British way to stability” with a goal of “forg[ing] a British way to success”, in his Budget report, the Chancellor announced

  • a continuation of the New Deal policy, and an expansion of it to a New Deal for Jobs & Skills;
  • vocational centres for ethnic minorities.
Maternity leave

In his Budget report, the Chancellor announced that paid maternity leave would be further extended to 1 year.

Savings

In his 2004 pre-Budget report, the Chancellor had

  • agreed to consultation on retaining the £7,000 higher subscription limit on ISAs beyond April 4, 2006 to April 2009;
  • announced that the basic state pension would rise to £82,05 for single people and £131.20 for couples, from April 2005.
Tax-exempt savings accounts

In his Budget report, the Chancellor announced that the £7,000 higher subscription limit on ISAs would be extended to April 2010, one year further than that indicated in the pre-Budget report, increasing the maximum total tax-free saving over the lifetime of such accounts to £100,000.

Pensions

In his Budget report, the Chancellor announced that Pension Credit would increase by 13% to £119 per week.

Spending

Police and Law & Order

In his Budget report, the Chancellor announced an increase in spending of £3.5 billions on police and law & order in 2007/2008 compared to 2004/2005.

Health

In his Budget report, the Chancellor announced an increase in spending of £23 billions on health in 2007/2008 compared to 2004/2005.

Education

In his Budget report, the Chancellor announced

  • a goal of universal education from age 3 to age 18;
  • a scheme to allow senior pupils to lease computers for home use;
  • an increase in the spending allocations given to head-teachers, to £31,000 (rising to £34,000 and £36,000 in subsequent years) for primary school head-teachers; and
  • a programme to spend £1.67 billions on IT in schools over the next 3 years.
Armed forces

In his Budget report, the Chancellor announced new compensation payments to servicemen and servicewomen who are injured in the line of duty, and a scheme that would not penalize them for continuing to serve. He reported that defence spending related to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan had amounted to £4.9 billions.

Memorials

In his Budget report, the Chancellor announced that the construction of a memorial to the Queen Mother would be funded by the issuance of a new coin, commemorating the Queen Mother’s 80th birthday.

Responses from opposition parties

Conservative

In a speech lasting 16 minutes the leader of the Conservative Party, the Right Honourable Michael Howard QC MP, repeatedly accused the Chancellor of presenting a “vote now, pay later” Budget. Mr Howard stated that he agreed with the Prime Minister that this would be “the last Budget that this Chancellor will ever deliver”.

Mr Howard began by welcoming “the Chancellor back to the General Election campaign”, and throughout his response made frequent references to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. He stated that the Conservative Party’s policy would be to give pensioners a £500 council tax rebate in 2005.

Expanding upon his “vote now, pay later” theme, Mr Howard stated that “this Chancellor has got form”, describing Mr Brown’s 2001 pre-election Budget as “a vote now Budget” and Mr Brown’s 2002 post-election Budget as “a pay later Budget”. Mr Howard also questioned the accuracy of the forecasts in the Budget report, accusing it of being a “dodgy Budget based upon dodgy numbers”, and pointed to Mr Brown’s Budget reports in previous years where the forecast in the Budget report had been for a surplus of £58 billions but where there had actually turned out to be a deficit of £41 billions. Mr Howard accused “the Chancellor’s forecasts of surpluses” of being as unreliable as “the Prime Minister’s forecasts of Weapons of Mass Destruction”.

Liberal Democrat

In a speech lasting 15 minutes, the leader of the Liberal Democrat Party, the Right Honourable Charles Kennedy MP, emphasized themes of “social justice” and “fairness”, and contrasted Liberal Democrat Budgetary policies with those of the Labour Party and of the Conservative Party.

Mr Kennedy began by pointing to the “favourable backdrop” against which Mr Brown was publishing his Budget, stating that one of the reasons for the favourable economic circumstances was the implementation by the Labour Party of the Liberal Democrat policy of an independent Bank of England.

Accusing Mr Howard and Mr Brown of engaging in a “Dutch auction” with respect to Council Tax rebates for pensioners, and of both ignoring the “ticking bomb” of Council Tax revaluation that would markedly affect people’s Council Tax bills, Mr Kennedy stated the Liberal Democrat policy of scrapping the Council Tax entirely and of instead bringing in a system of local Income taxation. Mr Kennedy characterized the Council Tax rebates as a “quick fix for this year only”, and contrasted this with local Income taxation which he characterized as being one that “pensioners benefit from every year”. Mr Kennedy also questioned why the National Audit Office would not have “access to Mr Brown’s books”, for checking the assumptions made in the Budget report, until the end of the year.

Further outlining the Liberal Democrat aims for “social justice” and “fairness”, Mr Kennedy accused the State Pension system of being one that is “iniquitous” for women, whom he said both lose National Insurance credit as the result of time taken off work for starting and raising families and who have to rely upon the State Pension more because of their greater life expectancy. Mr Kennedy also stated that the poorest 20% of people in Britain pay more, as a proportion of their income, than do the richest 20% of people.

Mr Kennedy concluded by pointing to the lack of any mention of the environment in Mr Brown’s speech, which he termed a glaring “sin of omission”, and by describing the Liberal Democrat presentation of its taxation and spending policies as being one of “That’s who’ll pay it. That’s what it will cost. That’s who’ll benefit.”, and accused the Labour Party of, by contrast, making pre-election promises in the past to not raise Income tax, only instead to raise National Insurance contributions after the election.

Sources


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

Powered by WordPress