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Danny Alexander the coalition has helped not hurt the poor

November 24, 2014 4:59 PM
In Liberal Democrat Voice
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

Danny AlexanderDanny Alexander, Lib Dem chief secretary to the Treasury, has an article in Sunday's Observer rejecting the paper's front page lead last week headlined 'Revealed: how coalition has helped rich by hitting poor'.

"I absolutely reject this assertion. Nick Clegg and I led the Liberal Democrats into coalition not just to rescue the British economy from the aftermath of the 2008 crash, but to do so fairly."

He details, with examples, various of the Coalition's policies which aren't picked up in the analysis reported by the Observer and sets out ways the Government (thanks to the Lib Dems) is ensuring the burden of economic retrenchment is fairly shared:

"We're ensuring the better-off do their bit. The top 1% of taxpayers now pay more than 28% of income tax revenue, more than at any point under the previous government.

"In every single budget we have raised revenues from the wealthiest. In 2010, we increased higher-rate capital gains tax. In 2012, we raised stamp duty on high-value homes and introduced a limit on income-tax reliefs that can be claimed on pensions. And in 2013 we took measures against offshore tax evasion.

"Before 2010, the richest 20% in society contributed around three-and-a half times as much in tax as they received from public spending. Now it is around four times as much. Independent analysis also shows that the tax and benefit reforms we have implemented since the fiscal consolidation began have hit the richest hardest.

"Those on low and medium incomes, by contrast, have benefited. Our flagship Liberal Democrat policy has increased the tax-free personal allowance from £6,475 in 2010 to £10,000 now, with a further rise scheduled in April next year to £10,500. That's a saving of £805 for a typical basic-rate taxpayer - and more take-home money for more than 25 million working people. More than 3.2 million low-income individuals will be taken out of tax altogether by the end of this parliament."

Danny concludes:

"It was inevitable that living standards would suffer after a crash as severe as that of 2008. But regaining that lost ground can only be done on the back of a growing economy underpinned by sound public finances and strong business investment. Encouragingly, the most recent monthly ONS figures showed wage growth outstripping inflation. The recovery we are beginning to see is only happening because the Liberal Democrats are in government. It is our values and our policies that have placed a sense of fairness at the heart of the recovery plan".

You can read Danny Alexander's piece in full here.

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