Cutting Taxes!

Lib Dems: Cut taxes for ordinary people, not the richest

The Lib Dems are opposing calls for an immediate cut in the 50% tax rate paid by higher rate taxpayers. Nick Clegg’s party instead wants to give more help to those on middle and low incomes who need it the most.

Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said, “At a time when the whole country faces serious financial challenges, the priority needs to be people on low and middle incomes.”

A key part of the coalition agreement was the Lib Dem commitment to making taxes fairer. The Lib Dems are well on their way to delivering on their pledge that no one should pay tax on the first £10,000 they earn.

Nearly a million low paid workers are no longer paying income tax thanks to this. All basic rate tax payers are paying £200 less in income tax. Each year more and more people on low and middle incomes will gain more thanks to the Lib Dem fairer tax plan.

Danny Alexander said, “Fairer taxes is our goal. I don’t see why, in the next parliament, we shouldn’t be trying to get to a situation where people in a full-time job on the minimum wage are paying no income tax at all.” This would mean that no one would pay tax on the first £12,500 they earn.

Being an active trade unionist for over 30 years in a public sector union that has consistently fought for a fairer tax system I find some encouraging words here. The big issue though will be getting the national debt down so to facilitate significant action towards fairer taxes. One thing is for sure the Tories will never want fairer taxes for low and middle income folks and Labour, when they had the chance in the boom years, did not deliver as my trade union (PCS) said at the time.

Fighting for a better NHS

The Lib Dems are continuing to work in Parliament to ensure NHS reforms deliver a better deal for patients.

Nick Clegg: NHS reforms must deliver for patients

Nick Clegg’s party won major changes to the reforms earlier this summer. These included measures to ensure there will be no privatisation of the NHS and no special favours for the private sector.

 Nick Clegg said, “With the Lib Dems, the NHS will always be free at the point of use and will deliver top quality treatment for patients. We want to deliver a better NHS that can cope with the increasing demand and rising health costs.”

 The NHS reforms will cut waste and bureaucracy that costs billions of pounds. They will help the NHS cope with the costs of Britain’s steadily ageing population and the rising cost of many treatments.

 By making the NHS more efficient and by protecting the NHS budget from cuts, more money can be spent on improving care for patients.

 NHS faced disaster with Labour

 Had Labour won the last election, the NHS would have faced deep spending cuts. That along with Labour’s refusal to tackle waste and inefficiency would have been a disaster for our health services.

 Labour rigged the market in favour of the private sector by giving contracts that were unfair for the taxpayer and for patients.

 Over £250million of taxpayers’ money was handed over by the last Labour government to private providers for operations they didn’t even perform.

 The Liberal Democrats have made sure that this kind of favouritism towards the private sector will now be illegal.

 And this takes me back to what I blogged about only recently when I recalled that under Labour GP practices in parts of Sefton (Maghull was certainly on the cards) were up for being run by huge private sector companies.

More on those damn claims companies

My most recent posting on this subject ended up with an article in the local press who picked up on my story last week. However, readers will not be surprised to hear that I have been contacted and spoken to by quite  number of folk as a consequence of the press story, a couple of whom have told me a story that goes something like this.

I am told that when visiting A&E at Fazakerley Hospital in recent times (and if you come out with an obvious injury) you may well be pounced on by peolple working for a claims company. Indeed, a Maghull lady called me up to say that she had taken her son to Fazakerley A&E and on the way out, with his arm in plaster, they were accosted by a couple of people asking them how the injury had happened. When they replied that the injury had happened in their home (falling over kids toys I think) the response was to suggest to them that if they said it happened outside the home a claim could be made!

No wonder we are all paying so much for insurance if stunts like this going on. As the lady said to me ‘its just not right’ to have ambulance chasers siting in wait at A&E.

But where is the money coming from?

If you accept that our economy is flat lining at a pretty low level, has been for quite some and will do for quite some time (as most folks, economists and informed ‘experts’ do) then why suggest that Government does not need to re-balance the economy and make savings? 

And in this posting I am not trying to point the finger of blame anywhere as that has been done by me and many others for the past 3 years or so. No, what I am trying to get at is why intelligent people stand up in front of conferences and events, seemingly in a bubble all of their own, and try to convince us all that there is money to spend, that we can borrow more and that the financial collapse did not have any consequences?

As a long time trade union member and activist of course I can see why unions are so upset about the savings but then again we all are. But what is their alternative as union leaders simplistically call for more spending and greater borrowing as if that is the obvious sustainable solution. Yes, we can all point to areas were we don’t like the savings and I bet we can all point to where we would rather they be made. Our views will, in the main, be associated with our own family and circumstances.

So for example, all 3 of us in my household are public servants. On that basis we are clearly not happy about the fact that we have have not had a pay rise for a long time and don’t know when we will get one. We don’t like our pension prospects being reduced and having to make higher contributions. We don’t like our jobs being continually under threat. 

However, I am not so bound up in my own world that I can’t see that others think differently. For example, I have friends working in the private sector who feel that I should make higher pension contributions, who say that they have not had a pay rise for as long as they can remember and who lost their jobs in the early years of the recession.

Locally, we all know that Sefton Council has make more heavy savings and we await Labour’s lead on this as they are in charge of the Council’s budget these days. I am sure they will put forward savings that we Lib Dem do not agree with just as they disagreed with the savings we had to make last year when we Lib Dems had the responsibility for the Council’s finances.

It all comes down to choices about where the savings are made as opposed to if they have to be made. So is it not time that those politicians and union leaders who have been living in their own little bubble stopped trying to convince us all that the financial collapse never happened and that if it did there are no consequences?

Bernard Hogan-Howe

When I heard that Bernard had got the top Policing job in England I thought good luck to him. I was impressed with him during his period as Chief Constable of Merseyside and remember only too well how he turned up in Maghull on one occasion when there was some trouble in KGV Park with youths. He was certainly hands on!

I know that he had a keen eye on his officers as well and came down hard on those who were not up to scratch or worse, corrupt.

So my best wishes to him; it is a tough job being London’s top Cop, a job that has brought a number of his predecessors into deep waters. I will be surprised though if Bernard is not a success, he has what it takes from what I have seen.

Merseytravel are watching you! (and me)

My good friend Cllr. John Dodd (Meols ward in Southport) is an opposition Lib Dem member of that somewhat struggling local authority organisation Merseytravel of which much has been written in recent times as it has staggered from one crisis to the next. I could not resist posting what John said to me in an e-mail yesterday as it shows that Big Brother is alive and well in Merseytravel monitoring us Lib Dems. Of course I have recently posted about its Chairman (who is also a Sefton Councillor) treating the whole of Sefton Council to readings from Iain Brodie-Brown’s Birkdale Focus Blog so we must assume that many hours are put aside at Merseytravel checking on who is saying what about them. Who knows it may be full time job for someone! This is what John had to say to me:-

At Merseytravel’s authority meeting this afternoon, the new committee structure was passed with an all party agreement.  Mark Dowd, as chair of the authority, announced the Labour party nominees for chair and vice chair of committees.  Although Mark Dowd has relinquished the chair of Rail Services and Customer Forum (Sefton), therefore losing 2 chair Special Responsibility Allowances (SRA’s), he is now vice chair of Rail Services (SRA), so overall he has relinquished just one SRA.

Due to my writing on the Meols ward blog that I welcome the new committee structure, I was requested by the monitoring officer to issue the following personal statement at the start of the meeting:  “Although I have stated on my ward blog that I welcome the new proposed committee structure, I have come here with an open mind”.  Merseytravel must be using officer’s time to observe councillor’s web sites.