• Judgment queried over revelations
• publicAccusations of misleading the
- George Osborne was last night at the heart of a bitter row over the economy after claims that Gordon Brown was planning a hidden “tax bombshell” began to backfire on the shadow chancellor.
The Tories claimed leaked Treasury documents showed Labour was planning to raise another £50bn a year in income tax by 2013-14, accusing Brown of having quietly “factored in an income tax hike” that could add an extra £2,770 a year to the average family’s bill by the end of the next parliament.
However, Osborne was facing questions of his own last night after it emerged that the supposedly confidential figures were actually published in last spring’s budget – and a leading independent economic forecaster said they did not provide proof of any secret agenda.
Robert Chote of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the leading independent analyst of budget projections, said it was possible to question whether growth and therefore tax revenue really would bounce back so quickly, “but there is no hidden policy change here”. The government’s growth projections have already been widely questioned.
Furious ministers came close to accusing Osborne of lying. The row will resurrect memories of the legendary “tax bombshell” campaign run by John Major before the 1992 general election. That claimed every Briton would have to find another £1,000 a year more in tax under Labour to pay for uncosted spending promises, suggesting families would have to forego cars, holidays and grocery shopping or work extra shifts.
“Osborne’s claims are false. These government tax projections are already published and are in the public domain. They simply set out what is raised by our existing published measures as the economy returns to growth,” said Liam Byrne, chief secretary to the Treasury. “This creates serious questions over George Osborne’s judgment. The shadow chancellor needs to answer why he is trying to mislead the British people.”
Senior Tory sources last night accepted that the figures were actually in the public domain, but stuck by their claim that a normal economic recovery could not explain why the cash raised from income tax should rise by nearly a third in five years.
Osborne had seized on figures compiled within the Treasury last April, the day before the budget, showing that the total raised from income tax was due to jump by £16.8bn in 2011-12. Pointing out that a planned new top-rate tax for the “super rich” and other changes only accounted for £2bn of this figure, he challenged ministers to explain where the rest came from.
“Labour’s secret spending plans, which Gordon Brown never wanted to make public, appear to reveal an income tax bombshell. Income tax receipts are set to rise by a third. Are they asking us to believe that this is due only to recovery from recession and the 50p rate?” Osborne added.
The Tories insisted the rise was so high that it “cannot be explained” by a normal recovery from the credit crunch. However, Treasury officials said that the extra billions meant to flow into government coffers were based on expectations that tax revenues, which fell by £12bn during the recession thanks to unemployment and the scrapping of City bonuses, would return to previous levels and then outstrip them as the economy starts growing again next year.
It also reflected the fact that the economy would be bigger in 2011-12 than now, so that taking the same percentage out in income tax would generate more cash. The income tax burden as a share of GDP is actually projected to be almost identical in 2011-12 to now. “All budget projections are based on published policy. No more, no less,” said a Treasury spokesman. Although secret tax rises could theoretically be drawn up in private government papers, civil servants must provide explanations to underpin figures published in the budget, making it difficult to “hide” tax rises.
The row signals the start of a bitter and bad-tempered battle over tax and spending in the run-up to the general election, with Labour seeking to undermine Osborne’s claim to economic credibility and the Tories likely to home in on Brown’s reputation for double-counting and manipulating figures.
The first shot in the conference season was fired on Friday when the Liberal Democrats cited Treasury documents revealed under freedom of information laws to argue that the Tories had racked up £53bn in uncosted spending plans. That drew accusations that the government was playing political games by using taxpayers’ money to spread damaging claims about the opposition.
The Lib Dems are also likely to re-enter the fray this week, with Nick Clegg signalling yesterday during an interview with Lib Dem bloggers that new tax proposals will be unveiled at the party’s conference in Bournemouth.
The new claims follow the publication last week of leaked Treasury documents, also drawn up earlier this year, revealing that spending cuts of up to 10% were planned over the next four years. Those were widely held to have been a coup for Osborne because they showed that even as Brown was publicly trumpeting his belief in investment and accusing the Tories of threatening cuts, his own Treasury officials were working on similar projections.
They also helped explain tensions within the cabinet over Brown’s refusal to publicly discuss cuts.
At the time Osborne said that Brown had “misled the public, misled the Commons, he was not telling the truth”, in an unusually strongly worded and personal attack – words now thrown back at him by Byrne.
The Tories will, however, note that the minister’s response does not specifically rule out future rise in taxes. The issue is likely to be widely debated on the fringe of next week’s party conference, with many on the left pushing for rises as an alternative to cutting public services
The cost of taxpayer funded quangos – the shadowy, oddly named things that you don’t really understand but we use to scare you – has hit an incredible £170 billion, or 25.2 TRILLION yen.
In 1997/8, quangos cost a very reasonable £24.1bn, but thanks to Labour cronies given free reign to set up millions more since then, their number and spending have sky rocketed. A guess by our work experience boy puts the number of quangos at 994, while the tea lady says the number of staff employed by them has jumped from 1m a decade ago, to 1.5m today.
The spending on quangos is almost five times the Ministry of Defence’s £35.4billion budget, and billions of times more than my wife spends on the weekly shop.
Ludicrous wooly minded organisations like the “Learning and Skills Council” have seen their budget explode from £5.5bn to £11bn.
The Taxpayers’ Alliance quote generator said: ‘This situation is unacceptable and is costing taxpayers in Britain a fortune. For ordinary people facing pay freezes and redundancies it is an insult for the public sector to carry on creating jobs.’ A source added: ‘Yes we know quangos aren’t related to public sector job creation, but there wasn’t an option to generate quango quotes so this will have to do. It’s the same principle anyway.’
Fighting the credit crunch this year has left Britain more than £1,000 in debt for every person in the country.
By Justin Penrose and Vincent Moss 20/09/2009
Hundreds of lapdancing clubs face closure in sweeping changes to the law.
All clubs will be forced to reapply for their licences under new guidelines to be revealed this week.
A loophole in licensing laws classed clubs like Spearmint Rhino and For Your Eyes Only in the same way as cafes or karaoke bars.
Their number soared to more than 300, with many in residential areas and on High Streets. But now the Government has ruled that ALL clubs will have to apply to trade as a “sex encounter” venue.
The move will allow local councils to close down clubs where residents or councillors object.
It marks a major victory for Women’s Minister and Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman who has fiercely opposed the explosion in lapdancing clubs. Last year one opened in Britain almost every week and local councils were powerless to stop them unless there were complaints from those living within 200 metres of the club.
Kat Banyard from the Fawcett Society, which has been leading the fight, said: “Local authorities have had their hands tied. The Government has responded to a chorus of voices…who have been saying they should have more say when these clubs are opened.”
The sweeping changes will be revealed this week by Home Office Minister David Hanson.
Earlier this week Ms Harman announced plans to ban City firms from claiming back tax on trips to lapdancing clubs.
If you cut Tax as an example, the average worker then as a little extra cash floating around.
He needs a New Tv -Car -Holiday-meal out Etc .
So he goes out with his extra disposable income and buys them.
Of course it’s not just him it’s hundreds and thousands of British workers.
So we have to produce to meet the demand
So we have growth and possible expansion. jobs every body is happy.
But no lets change Put up taxes
less disposable income.
Worried about buying this year,
So no demand
Labour and conservatives answer Tax but we don’t now how much yet i suppose the Tories are waiting to see what brown says first.
Why Do we Choose War – Cost in Life and financial
Data Base for the NHS
I would have thought we could kill a few people with what we have.
ETC ANY COMMENT
Today i sat and listened to how this Government is about to cut teaching staff.
Remember Education Education Education.
Building Schools for the future.
What did Mr Heart of St Georges say, it’s not buildings it’s Staff that educate our children. Well New labour you are digging holes faster than i have every seen. Cut Teachers cut you own throats, i can see all the Tory boys across this country licking their lips.