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“A lie can travel halfway around the world …

24/04/2013

… while the truth is still putting on its shoes.” [attributed to Mark Twain]

In Britain’s 2009 Budget, the Labour Party – which had already largely resigned itself to defeat in the coming General Election – inserted a cynical little poison-pill. We had had a top rate of income tax of 40%, since Nigel Lawson dropped it from 60% in the 1988 Budget. Alastair Darling announced that, from 6 April 2010, the top rate would be increased to 50%. I won’t bore you, any more than you are already bored, with details of the various tax thresholds.

The new Tory:Liberal Democrat government, elected in May 2010, announced in the 2011 Budget that the top rate would be reduced to 45% with effect from 6 April 2012.

Ever since, the Labour Party has been grizzling about the callous and cynical inhumanity of the government “looking after its rich friends”, by “giving a tax cut to millionaires” while the rest of the country die lingering and horrible deaths, homeless and shoeless with rickets, emphysema and suppurating wounds, in rat-infested streets which are festooned with ordure, rotting food and toxic chemicals.

Okay, I might have got a tiny bit carried away there, but the underlying message is clear. Deploying the imaginative, fantasy, thumb-in-the-air economics which had characterised their approach to budgeting during their time in power, they decided that there were 13,000 “toffs” who would benefit from this tax cut.  Never mind that the 50% rate had only taken effect a month before Labour lost power, and that people had always paid 40% during their entire 13 years of government, this was – in their view – a disgraceful betrayal of the nation.

Well, we have some local elections here next week, and the campaign literature is all about. The Labour Party really needs to think about offering a decent wage to a halfway literate copy-editor, because:

tax cut

It’s not just one careless slip. That same naughty little zero is also missing here:

tax cut 2

and here:

tax cut 3

The pressing question of the day has to be: will those 13,000 millionaires be getting £100 each, or do they have to share it out equally?

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