Coffee House

No 10 attacks Miliband’s ‘admission of economic incompetence’

14 February 2013

1:18 PM

14 February 2013

1:18 PM

Here’s an interesting thing: Number 10 has released a statement on Ed Miliband’s 10p tax rate pledge. The Downing Street press machine hasn’t been in the habit of doing this sort of official reactive spinning, although this may be in part because Miliband’s speeches thus far have been pretty light on anything you can actually react to. This is what a No 10 spokesman said:

‘This is a stunning admission of economic incompetence from Ed Miliband and Ed Balls – that their decision in Government to scrap the 10p tax rate hurt millions of working families. People will never trust Labour again. The low income working people who lost out the most from Labour’s 10p tax hike now pay no tax at all thanks to this Government’s record increases in the tax free personal allowance. Losers under Labour have become winners thanks to our tax changes.

‘Now Labour’s new homes tax would mean government snoopers in every home to revalue your house for council tax, meaning council tax rises for millions. Instead this Government has increased tax on the richest in every Budget, through higher stamp duty on expensive properties and taxes on the biggest multi million pound pension pots.’

Labour will like this, jeering that Miliband has clearly rattled Cameron’s cage (which, whether you agree with the policy or not, he has because the Prime Minister made a point of claiming the speech would have no new policies in it at PMQs yesterday, and because he referred to the 10p tax rate, too).

[Alt-Text]


But while the second half of this statement makes an very good point about the way Miliband would fund this change by using a mansion tax, leading to the dreaded revaluation of properties (and Ryan Bourne has written an excellent post for us explaining these problems in more detail), there’s also something just a little bit amusing about Number 10 scolding someone else for changing tack on tax policy, given the number of U-turns that the Treasury had to execute after last year’s Budget.

However, even if admitting the mistakes made by your party when it was in government is a wise move, there’s still, as the No10 statement points out, the problem of whether voters will trust Labour again on the economy as a whole. And as our leading article this week says, Miliband is trying to say ‘trust me’ when voters don’t trust anyone.


More Spectator for less. Stay informed leading up to the EU referendum and in the aftermath. Subscribe and receive 15 issues delivered for just £15, with full web and app access. Join us.



Show comments
  • wycombewanderer

    A dwelling, any dwelling, is only worth what someone else is prepared to pay for it.

    I can estimate that my house is worth 2 million but that doesn’t make it so.

    If I relocated from the village I live in to within 10 miles of central London it might become that valuable but only if I can find a buyer and of course that would in all likelihood mean finding a buyer who can raise the finance through a bank to pay such a sum.

    In order to value every single property in the UK it will cost millions and after it has been done their will be two effects.

    Everyone will be paying more in council taxes.

    Anything just over the so called 2 million barrier, making some ordinary family homes in the south east, ‘mansions’ will become worth less.

  • andagain

    the dreaded revaluation of properties

    If property values have changed, why should they not be revalued?

    • Andy

      It’s a political hot potato that’s why. A better idea is to abolish property taxes.

      • andagain

        Thus neatly shifting the burden of taxation from the rich to the poor. And from the old to the young, for that matter. I expect that to be a very popular idea among Conservatives.

        Pity about the next election, but I suppose they have written that off already.

  • HooksLaw

    I do not see that some sort of tax on houses worth over 2 million will raise enough to be meaningful for hundreds of thousands, millions of low paid. The supposed hypothetical of property taxes towards income taxes looks wrong headed anyway.
    The measure will also have to be paid for with some adjustment in the bands affecting other standard rate payers.

    What is needed is …
    control of spending
    and
    those paying their fair share who should be doing

    which would allow lower rates for us all.

    if it quacks like a gimmick and wheedles like a gimmick – its a gimmick.

    • Andy

      What is needed is radical reform. We need to actually look at what the State does and what it spends our money on.

      Then we need to cut, cut and cut. That way we can reduce taxes which would create jobs, jobs and more jobs.

      • BenM_Kent

        One of the biggest follies of all is the mad belief in the superiority of so called “small government”.

        The race to fulfill the small government delusion has been marked by economic crashes and widening inequality.

        Beyond the small state propaganda, when people find out what it really means for them, their jobs and the services they rely on they rightly run a mile.

        • David B

          And big government worked really well in the past 16 years. No bust no banking crises. The reality is government cannot control the economy and the hard it tries the more of a mess it makes.

          Government needs to act in a way that minimises the impact of its actions.

          • BenM_Kent

            Big government prevented all out economic collapse after the private sector banks collapsed.

            Voters are happy with active government and easily see through appeals from usual suspects to “cut” its size.

            • David B

              That is political spin, the Labour Government knew that the party would be destroyed and would have been out of power for the next 20 years if they had allowed RBS to fail. That is why they chose the
              complex bail out model that kept the banks open and allowed the bonus to be paid.

              There were other models for the orderly closure of the banks. Iceland chose the roughest one and allowed the market to take it’s course. They had no violence on the streets (unlike Greece), only Gordon Brown declared them terrorists and now their economy is growing strongly and they do not have the massive debt mountain we have. The only people in Iceland that paid the price were the governmen of the day. A price that was to high for Gordon!

              Big government leads to decisions in the best interests of Big Government. That is why the NHS used gagging orders to
              ensure information about it was kept out of the public domain, in contravention of statute. If that information was in the public domain I suspect the Voters would not have been so happy.

        • Pincer22

          The race to fulfill the large government delusion has been marked by economic crashes and widening inequality.
          Ask the Russians. Queue for a day for a loaf of mouldy bread, while the elites feast on cavier in their dacha’s

  • cyllan2

    it doesnt matter…the cons will lose the next election because they didnt bribe enough voters through benefits…..this is the way of the world now since our western civ is gone

    • telemachus

      Yes
      Remember what Tories gave us
      Falling living standards for the many, and tax cuts for millionaires

      • Andy

        Lets remember what Labour gave us
        The deepest recession since the 1930s, and debts that will take 40+ years to sort out.

        • telemachus

          We should not rehearse the actual blow-in from the US
          My actual point is that the Tories are losing the sound bite war
          Last week bedroom tax
          This week living standards

          • Andy

            And yet the facts remain . . . . .

            Labour created the biggest boom in history, and created the biggest bust in history.

            Labour spent, spent and spent, creating debt, debt and debt.

            So that is Labours great achievement, DEBT, DEBT and yet more DEBT.

            • telemachus

              We are into perceptions of 2015 not the past
              Folks feel I’ll used by Osborne constantly banging on about austerity while they struggle to pay council tax, clothe their children etc

              • Andy

                And the perception in 2015 will be that Labour f***** up and we are still sorting out Gordon the Moron’s mess.

                We will be still sorting it out for the next 40 years.

                • telemachus

                  Ordinary folk are hurting
                  They will hurt a lot more by 2015
                  The memory will be of austerity sold to them by a smug rich boy

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Gordon Brown might be smug and rich but I wouldn’t call him a boy. An overgrown, shiftless and shifty student maybe.

                • Andy

                  The memory will be the utter incompetence of what Guido calls ‘the prime mentalist’ aka Gordon the Moron Brown.

                  People will remember the ruin brought to them by the Labour Party.

                • Pincer22

                  Unfortuantly you are over estimating the attention span of you average voter.
                  If Labour do win they will have to do something to deal with the economic mess, they will either tax and spend in wich case the country goes the way of Greece, or they will continue the cuts, (citing the old chestnut “the Country’s finances are in a worse state than we realised” in which case, their core lunatic fringe supporter will turn on them quicker than a hungry staffie.
                  It could well be the case that losing the next election is the best thing for the Tories. Though not for the Country obviously.

            • BenM_Kent

              The Tories had racked up half the debt that existed on the cusp of the crisis in 2008.

              Labours boom and bust was the biggest boom and bust since, er, the Tory boom and bust of the late 1980s.

              Governments should spend. And particularly in a crisis like this one. It is noticeable how, since the deficit hysterics got in, growth has disappeared. Yet Labour had initiated a recovery in the 12 months prior to the 2010 General Elecion.

              • Andy

                You are deluded. I would suggest you study the Red Books and you will find that public expenditure, in cash terms, has not been cut and will be higher at the end of this parliament than at the beginning.

                Also you should ask yourself if your Keynesian ideas work why is Japan’s economy not booming ? It has stagnated for over a decade and yet they have spent, spent, spent. Could be that Keynes was wrong.

          • Colonel Mustard

            You have no point. You are a broken record. No one here is listening. Go and peddle it to your deluded comrades.

            • telemachus

              So deluded that we will rule over you soon

              • David B

                And there it is – rule over you! Not rule in everyone’s benefit. As for sound bit politics, you can lose it just as easily. Funny how Ed avoids the NHS now

                • telemachus

                  The stage before egalitarian “paradise”

                • Colonel Mustard

                  We have heard that one before, in Russia, in Romania, in East Germany, in Vietnam, in North Korea, in Cambodia and in Cuba. Unfortunately the “paradise” never comes, only the repression and the murder and the misery.

                  Grow up. At your age you should be beyond that sort of student union marxist twaddle.

                • telemachus

                  When folks analyse the degradation of the ordinary Russian citizen after Yeltsin they and all right thinking people elsewhere will want to return to the path
                  Remember the gate is narrow and the path equally narrow that leads to paradise
                  The gate is wide and the path broad that leads to destruction

              • Colonel Mustard

                Ah, I see the “caring” mask has slipped and the nasty authoritarian Soviet Union face is showing.

                All you people ever “care” about is gaining power over people and all you ever do is connive and lie your way to that purpose.

                • telemachus

                  In gaining an egalitarian society some folks need persuasion
                  I have posted earlier this week about the ends justifying the means
                  I do not actually like the phrase dictatorship of the proletariat

                • Colonel Mustard

                  There will never be an egalitarian society because the “egalitarian” society you and your comrades will create will have a socialist elite of party members and apparatchiks, a secret police and all the other trappings of the student union revolutionary triumphalism that idiots like you still believe in.

          • http://twitter.com/MisterQuintus Tony Quintus

            Sound bite war? A bedroom tax that’s not a tax, economic policies which are shredded within an hour of the speech, harping on about a tax cut for millionaires and being slapped each and every time with “Higher than 13 years with your mob” and Labour councils cutting services while having millions in the bank. And all that with GDP having risen in real terms each and every year of this government.

            If the front bench weren’t so dedicated to shooting themselves in the foot the Two Eds would be on life support.

            • telemachus

              All of your cynicism does not detract from the fact that the average Sun and Mirror reader fell less well off than under labour and believe the sound bite not the analysis

              • Colonel Mustard

                You have spoken to each one have you? More twaddle from Labour’s shill who is not actually a member of the party.

            • Andy

              Can I turn off the machines ?? Or shall we raffle that honour ???

      • Colonel Mustard

        And yet a few weeks ago you told us you were not a member of the Labour party. And you marched arm in arm with Tariq Ali. And you were one of the founder members of the SDP. And now you walk among us, the socialist reincarnation of Baron Von Munchausen.

        • telemachus

          Grosvenor square demo us embassy

          • Colonel Mustard

            Absolute tripe. You and your nasty comrades are nothing but a menace to this country. The only thing you’ve ever learnt is how to be a PITA. Nothing remotely reasonable about socialists.

            • telemachus

              Other than caring

              • Pincer22

                Caring is easy, saying meaningful platitudes is easy, promising evrything to everyone is easy, spending other peoples money is easy.

                Runing a Country so it is fair, and economically
                sustainable requires difficuly choices.
                These choices become even more difficult when lumbered with £1t + (and rising) worth of debt.

                • telemachus

                  We will pay back when we grow under the build for growth policy

              • Colonel Mustard

                Remind me again what the caring bit was about Gordon Brown abolishing the 10p tax rate for the poorest workers?

                And the coalition have already raised the tax threshold more in two years than Labour did in 13 years when they had all the money.

                You are full of it.

                • telemachus

                  Start at the NHS
                  Ask the 50% who cheated death by getting cardiac surgery before they died on the waiting list
                  Or the thousands who carried their grandchildren around for the 5 years they would have been housebound with hip disease
                  Gordon had more caring in his big toe than Osborne

                • Colonel Mustard

                  No, start at the question I asked, don’t just dodge it and move on to another Labour party slogan you sideways scuttling little creep.

      • Colonel Mustard

        That is what Labour gave us. Remember Byrne “|The money is all gone”.

        The Tories are in coalition with your shape-shifting pals from the SDP trying to clear up the mess left by Gordon. YOUR mess. So pipe down about it.

        • telemachus

          David Owen would have nothing to do with those weasels

          • Colonel Mustard

            Owen was chief weasel. Labour, SDP, Lib Dems, all weasels.

            • telemachus

              David, Chancellor of one of our great Northern Universities, had a forensic neurosurgically trained brain and was one of our greatest Foreign Secretaries

              • Colonel Mustard

                Absolute rubbish. He was a registrar in neurosurgery and psychiatry but never followed through, preferring instead to become a political weasel.

      • David B

        And Gordon Brown raised taxes on the low paid like no other chancellor. And now even Balls is ashamed of him.

        • telemachus

          You win a few lose a few and move on

          • Colonel Mustard

            And airbrush out the past and/or pretend someone else was responsible and/or blame the Tories. But never, ever take responsibility for Labour’s many, many crimes against the people.

          • David B

            Tele, this is not a beauty contest in which you hope the nasty bits don’t get out until you have won. This is about our management of the economy, not for our own gratification, but ensuring that what we hand on to our children is better than what we were handed. Gordon Brown, as Chancellor then as PM, definitely left an economy in a lot worse shape than he found it.

            That is why the two Ed’s change of mind is interesting, but coming 5 years after the fact is not a lot of use. Michael Grove was pilloried for realising his policy proposal would not work and changing it before it was implemented. The questions the Ed’s need to look at is what else did they get wrong that is still damaging the economy, but they still want to do – Perhaps doubling the national debt for no good reason!! What policies are they proposing now that are wrong?

    • Gareth

      They don’t tend to vote in large numbers anyway. The constituent most likely to vote are pensioners, who have done very well under this government. If you’re looking for bribes, start there.

  • Colonel Mustard

    What happened to Home Improvement packs and the “jobs” they created? Wasn’t that another cunning Labour wheeze to circulate money from the people who earn it to the people who don’t – pushed by Cooper?

  • toco10

    Red Ed has just demonstrated why Labour failed when in Government and why the hopeless nonentity who is Ed Miliband should never again be allowed anywhere near the UK’s purse strings.A much better way of paying for lower taxes for those in receipt of moderate incomes would be to close tax avoidance schemes such as the limited liability companies through which the millionaire BBC news hacks channel their income thus avoiding National Insurance,income taxes,enabling payments to friends and family etc. etc.The rest of us are obliged to pay our taxes through the PAYE system and have no alternative but to pay our fair or should I say unfair share.

    • Andy

      Well I’m surprised that the Inland Revenue has not challenged the ‘BBC news hacks’ arrangements in the Courts. There seems to be a ‘Master, Servant’ relationship their and so these ‘news hacks’ should be on the BBC’s books paying tax via PAYE and NI.

Close
Can't find your Web ID? Click here