Set your TiVos. At 6.55 tomorrow evening, BBC1 will air the Liberal Democrats’ latest party political broadcast. For those of you who can’t wait, here’s a sneak preview:
In the video, Nick Clegg describes his proposed increase in the income tax personal allowance as ‘a £700 tax cut for ordinary working people — that’s an extra £60 in
your wages every month’. I’ve remarked before on the similarities in both rhetoric and policies between the Lib Dems and Barack Obama, but Clegg’s ‘£60 a
month’ pitch is as close as you get to the way Obama sells his payroll tax cut extension as ‘about $40 in every paycheck’. We can now surely look forward to the Lib Dem version of this video, in which ‘ordinary folk’ tell us what the extra cash would mean to them.
And this video’s not the only way the Lib Dems are turning up the heat on George Osborne. Both Tim Farron and Simon Hughes have emailed members urging them to sign an e-petition backing their policy. And then we have David Laws framing it as a policy to ‘end the austerity in household budgets’. In an interview with Allegra Stratton on yesterday’s Newsnight, Laws said:
‘Household budgets have been falling in real terms since 2008, what we’re saying is that now that we’ve completed most of the tax increases, now that we’re seeing inflation this year on a firm downward track, that gives us the opportunity, if we can make these other reductions in taxation by increasing the income tax threshold, as Nick Clegg has suggested, that gives us the opportunity of ending the austerity in household budgets, allowing the household budgets of most people to start expanding again from later on this year and into next year.’
It’s a relatively sunny outlook — especially after all the talk of the ‘squeezed middle’ facing years of stagnation — and echoes Laws’ ‘reasons to be cheerful’ article in the Daily Mail last month. This seems to be one way the Lib Dems are trying to set themselves apart from the Conservatives. Osborne’s emphasis, for now at least, is on continued austerity — ‘staying the course’.
Clegg and Laws, meanwhile, are offering to ease your pain and telling you that things will soon be better. But only if they get their tax cut.Tags: Barack Obama, Budget 2012, Coalition, David Laws, George Osborne, Income tax, Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, Tax cuts, UK politics