by Barry Platt on 10 April, 2013
According to the financial commentators the economy is on a knife-edge over whether we are going through a triple-dip recession. The government, despite all the cuts it is making, is still spending much more than it is collecting in taxes. Many businesses are struggling and some are having to give up altogether.
Those are the headlines – but the consequences run much deeper. They affect us all as salaries, wages and benefits, where they rise at all, do not keep pace with inflation. The state pension is protected thanks to the “triple lock” introduced by the Lib Dems (so that pensions rise by the highest of price inflation, wage inflation or 2.5% each year), but many private pensions and savings have been hit by the long period of low interest rates. For most people there is less money to go round and difficult choices have to be made about what can be afforded, and what to do without.
On the front page of the Liberal Democrat manifesto it said that the party wanted to increase the income tax allowance – the amount that you can earn before you start to pay income tax – to £10,000 per year. Under Labour it had been just £6,475. We are nearly there. This year income tax payers will be £600 better off than under Labour, and over 2 million extra people will not have to pay any income tax at all. Looking just at Cambridgeshire this will mean that local people will have £160 million more to spend – a massive boost for the local economy.
It would be helpful if councils kept council tax down. The government offered to give councils the equivalent of a 1% increase if they did not increase council tax this year. Both our local Conservative-run councils rejected this offer. The county council chose to increase council tax by 2%, and South Cambs increased theirs by 4.3% – one of the largest rises in the country.
Council Tax on a Band D Property
And, despite these increases in council tax, the Conservatives are cutting basic services – the “bread and butter” of what councils are there to provide.Leave a comment