by Stephen Tall on April 3, 2009
Over the last week, Lib Dem Voice has invited the members of our private forum (open to all Lib Dem members) inviting them to take part in a survey, conducted via Liberty Research, asking a number of questions about the party and the current state of British politics. Many thanks to the almost 200 of you who completed it; we’ll be publishing the results on LDV over the next few days.
First up, we asked about the Lib Dems’ policy on tax: Nick Clegg this week announced that the Lib Dems would no longer find it possible to cut the overall burden of taxation because of the current economic crisis, as had been announced in last year’s Make It Happen policy document. The party will continue to pledge to cut the taxes of low- and middle-income earners, though, funded by raising taxes for the wealthiest. Which of these statements best represents your view?
Here’s what you told us:
80.3% – This is the right approach: tax cuts for the poorest are needed, but the overall burden cannot be reduced in the current circumstances
8.3% – Nick Clegg was wrong to drop the party’s pledge to cut the overall burden of taxation
8.3% – Pledging to cut taxes at all, even for the lowest paid, in the current economic circumstances is unrealistic
3.1% – Don’t know
Here’s a selection of your comments:
It’s very unfortunate that we can’t right now, but it’s simply not possible. We should pledge to cut the overall burden whenever the economy is in a better state.
I don’t think the overall burden should be reduced at all, recession or not; I do think tax cuts for the poorest are needed, and needed now.
I don’t know why it took Nick and Vince so long to realise and acknowledge that this aspect of “Make It Happen” was unrealistic.
They key point is getting across that we want to see tax cuts for the lowest earners. Today’s announcement risks sounding like we no longer support tax cuts.
I think we may have ended up looking a little foolish by changing our mind on this so quickly, when we predicted some time ago that there would be an economic downturn. However if the choice was sticking with our original plans and making our sums add up the latter was still the right decision.
There is still a lot of inefficiencies at central government level. The overall burden should be cut during recession and efficiencies made.
This is a sensible approach. However I would prefer major policy changes to be made through conference – we’ve only just had Harrogate – not announced in the press.
It’s the continued pledge to cut taxes for the middle income earners that is unrealistic
In 2010 government may spend more than private citizens (i.e. >50% GDP). This is a dangerous precedent and will damage the economy. The party should look to radical cuts in useless public expenditure so as to achieve tax cuts for everybody.
Who told Nick that cutting base rate of income tax from 20% to 16% helps poor people. Learn from what happened over 10% band. Increase personal allowance do not reduce the rate! Why are people on minimum wage rate paying income tax!