Memo to the media: Clegg was first on Labour’s stealth tax, as Tories play catch-up

by Stephen Tall on March 25, 2010

Excuse me, while I discard my customery mode of politness, and begin to vent …

[vent] What is it with the media, and their inability to report the Lib Dems or our policies or statements?

The political news this morning has been dominated by a ‘Stealth tax’ dispute … PoliticsHome informs us that, ‘The Conservatives have accused the government of a effectively creating an additional tax on 30 million people by freezing personal allowances on income tax, as part of yesterday’s Budget.’

Except it took the Tories a day to cotton on to that story. The chap who spotted Labour’s tax ruse on the spot was not David Cameron, but Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg. I’ve even copied and pasted, below, an excerpt from the Hansard transcript of his budget reponse delivered yesterday afternoon.

Has Nick been given any credit for this? No. Perhaps part of the reason is because the BBC refused to broadcast Nick’s budget response yesterday, cutting instead to an oh-so-important talking heads studio discussion instead.

The same thing happend in 2007, after all, when then Lib Dem leader Ming Campbell immediately spotted the ticking time-bomb which was Gordon Brown’s abolition of the 10p tax rate.

Maybe if the media gave the Lib Dems a break they’d actually learn some of this stuff on the day, rather than have to wait for the Tories to play catch-up later?


From Nick Clegg’s budget response, 24 March 2010:

Finally, on tax, the other gross disappointment in this Budget was the failure to make our tax system fair. Under Labour, the bottom 10 per cent. pay a staggering 48 per cent. of their income in tax, while the richest pay 34 per cent. The Chancellor took pride in saying today that he would make no big announcements on tax. How can he look at a system such as that and say, “Let’s have more of the same”? Indeed, his comments seemed to suggest a freeze in income tax rates, which would, if earnings rise, once again hit the poorest hardest. So much for fairness under Labour. How can he happily accept that it is okay for a banker in the City of London to pay a far lower rate of tax on their capital gains than their cleaner does on their wages? So much for fairness under Labour.