Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Letter To Norman Baker MP

Just wrote this

Dear Norman

I wish to enlist your sympathies, to whatever extent, for a Conservative voting family with one member taxed at the higher rate . I am talking about child benefit ,of course, and the coalition’s brutal policy.

The state taxes me for various reasons, many of which I abhor, but overall we have a deal. Part of it was a fifty year old regime whereby some of my cash came back to me when I needed it, as child benefit. This much loved institution was only redistributive to children from adults, and from everyone to themselves over time.

Now, having funded said benefit for rich and poor, I will not get my turn. We have lurched from deal to no deal in one breakfast TV chat when , oddly enough ,I recall countless guarantees that no such cut would be countenanced. This is what we call lying .It is not appreciated and please don’t insult my intelligence by saying things are worse than was thought . That would require an inability to think at all.

Aside from the savage deceit, think of the intergalactic stupidity. For a family with three children , like mine, and an income of say £44,000, the loss of child benefit amounts to £46 per week or an effective tax rise of £2,400 a year. For someone at a marginal rate of 40% plus 2% National Insurance, that is equivalent to a loss of £4,132 of gross income . Do you think people on tight budgets have that sort of money spare ?

Imagine if every Public sector worker on over £40,000 got a £5000 pay cut .In fact that is less than the amount their salaries have outstripped real world earners ,so why not ? Sadly families have no Unison or GMB and that’s why we are in the firing line isn’t it . An easy hit , nowhere to go ,that is the calculation is it not ?

To add to appalling cynicism there is further sophistry in the timing . The top rate, as you know, is due to come down to about £42,000 at the next budget. The median full-time employed man from 35-50 in the South is not far from this after three years of inflation. We are not rich ,we are average people with old cars and no holiday ,devoted to our children . Many on our estate are working hard to get somewhere. Are we all to give up ?

Well we might as well. For family bread winners between £40,000 and say £47,000, the effective marginal rate is ...well you work it out 90% ...100%? Maternity allowances, child tax credits, baby bonds. The coalition is slightly less child friendly than King Herod , and remember, you are attacking the very people who have been getting it in the neck for ten years anyway .We are already badly stretched .

I have listened to the least respected chancellor of my lifetime, defend £9billion going overseas with no support whatsoever from voters , ( I can show you the surveys if you like ). Some of these people earn a pound a year he says .What fatuous sanctimony .The Oxfam box is always there George . For me my own children come before ,“World peace”, a phrase rightly associated with dim witted beauty queens and latterly Coalition Ministers .

We have ring fenced Dr. Croesus and his wasteful NHS, we are still replacing Trident ,we are still posturing around the word as a faux major power ,we are paying the precious benefit to 40,000 Polish children in Poland for god’s sake. We show no sign of squeezing efficiency out of bloated state and all in all , I suggest no-one gets me started .Are there really no better targets than children?

I hope I have made my point but I do have some questions I would like nice clear answers to :

1-Do you, or do you not, support the removal of £2500 every year from me, my family and everyone like us ? There are lots of us

2-It has been suggested that this was pushed for by Nick Clegg and Vince Cable. Is this true ?

3 I have read that the median wage caught in this attack is £75,000. At that level the loss can be sustained but with South East House Prices the disposable income amongst those in the early £40s makes this a brutal clumsy and callous measure. We can see it was not thought through ,by the frantic TV tours on the day, and Cameron’s infuriating admission that he was ‘stunned’ by the anger .

Clearly ordinary life is another planet to him. Child care cost , long term penny pinching , this is our life . We had plans, we all had plans.

With three years to go, can anything be done ?

4 I do not believe the figures of 1.2 million families and billion of income they are far too low , what are the real figures ? ( I will find out anyway but help appreciated )

I was overjoyed at the coalition and I never imagined I would be set against it so soon but this vicious attack cannot be forgiven .I hold you responsible in the first instance .Sorry but there it is .I shall also be directing my ire at the Conservative Party, however, and in particular the patrician ruling elite for whom it now seems to exist . My support for the administration is entirely withdrawn and it does not stop with this letter .

I look forward to hearing from you


Best Regards



Auntie Flo' said...

Totally agree with you. Though I no longer receive child benefit, I am extremely angry about this cut; first because, while campaigning my guts out for the Conservative election win, I gave my word to those I canvassed that this benefit would not be cut.

I believed I could do that with confidence because David Cameron and the Conservatives had given their word to me on this: via our manifesto.

How dare they lie to me and to the electorate!

Cameron needs to put this right and pretty damn quick - or else.

Auntie Flo' said...

On the subject of high marginal tax rates...

One of my colleagues is a pensioner, she is in her mid 70s, has worked all of her life and has never claimed benefits. She still works full time and is a higher rate tax payer.

The government deducts from her pension, would you believe, an eye watering 50 pence for every one pound she earns above around £20,000.

In addition, she must pay tax on the miserable remainder at 40%.

Blue Eyes said...

Flo, my mum who is of retirement age but not quite ready for the labour-market scrapheap decided to do some part-time work after her job booted her out.

She soon gave it up as she realised that after tax the money she was receiving from an ad-hoc part time job she was doing was considerably less than she was paying the cleaning lady!

She now plays croquet and is - in the current jargon - economically inactive. Well done Gordon Brown.

The problem is that taxes need to go up to bridge the gap before spending reductions kick in properly. That means that everyone who earns more than £40k is a target because they are in that golden "progressive" zone.

I don't like it either but that's just the way it's going to be for the next few years.

asquith said...

It's funny, I oppose what the coalition have done even though I haven't got any kids & none of the parents I know earn enough to be affected (nor did my parents when me & my brother were children). But a bad policy is to be opposed.

Almost every old person I know clocked off at 65. A few people left early but it's rare for anyone in an area like this to amass enough savings. I've never met anyone who stayed beyond pensionable age because they all hated their jobs.

Newmania said...

Flo you have hit the nail on the head. Lying is wrong

Blue Eyes - Yes that is right and what I cannot help thinking is how right I was to shout "Lie" whenever Labour have pretended the rich would pay.They never pay its always us .

Asquith the great problem with this is the regional disparity of its impact. In many parts of the country my earnings would be comfortable but not in the South East.
An ordinary family home is £300k to £400k you work it out

simon said...

What did you expect?

tory boys never grow up said...

Of course he will just reply along the lines that things are very hard and everyone has to make sacrifices including those who are well off etc. etc.

The point that you don't make is that "fairness" needs to apply within the well off and not just between the well off and the basic rate tax payers. Even those on £100k plus (i.e a junior ministers salary with tax free allowances) a year with children have a lower ability to pay taxes than someone on the same salary without children - and those that say the opposite clearly don't have children.

As an aside it could be argued that those higher rate tax payers who haven't borne the financial burden of children shouldn't be entitled to a state pension which will be paid for by such children.

I agree that there is a need to raise additional taxes from the well off - my complaint is that it should be done by income taxes (the all party fetish about not using this tax is pretty irrational if you believe the tax burden should be shared based on the ability to pay) which apply to all the well off - rather than just picking on those with children.

As for the LibDems - they of course voted overwhelmingly for universal child benefit at their recent conference. While Clegg knowing what was proposed just said nothing. A bit like his silent support for Tory deficit policy during the election which only came to light after the election. It would be interesting to know what windbag Baker knew and when.

Newmania said...

The problem with income tax T Boy is that we are already pretty much on the curve of maximising revenue from the rich and further redistribution could only come from the middling which is me again.

AS to what Baker knew and I am 1005 confident that he knew he was getting the shadopw transport job and I infer he knew much much more

tory boys never grow up said...


You may be middling for somewhere as prosperous as Lewes if you are a higher rate tax payer. But you are certainly not for the South East or London where the median salary is just over £30k - see here

While I don't accept your view that more cannot be raised from income tax on the well off (there are plenty of European countries where more is raised), my point is that if more has to be raised from what you describe as the "middling" then this should be done by getting the "middling" without children to contribute as well as those with children - i.e the "middling" should be taxed according to the ability to pay. The Conservative Party used to say it believed in the family - this policy just exposes that lie.

For all those selfish singletons who don't see families and children as a public good, and then accuse those with families as being selfish (without understanding that children are usually the cure to selfishness) - could I ask whether they will be renouncing the sate pensions that our children will have to pay on their retirement?

tory boys never grow up said...

There is of course also the question of lying by Cameron and Clegg. Anyone who really believes Cameron's line that he forgot to include the abolition of child benefit in the manifesto needs to look up the word "gullible" in a dictionary.

Newmania said...

TB - You have to adjust for life cycle , those reciving child benefit are , lets say ,between 35and 50 in full time employment.

The median ( SE) is not far off £40k says Hopi Sen , in those terms and btw the coalition have used your faulty logic to badly misrepresent the facts on this.

tory boys never grow up said...

Much as I agree with Hopi on most things - you still have to go some way to get median earnings for those of child bearing age in the South East up to the higher tax rate bracket. That said there are probably plenty of towns in the South East where median earnings are in that bracket - and my guess is that more than a few fall in Tory/lib Dem marginals/councils.

But that isn't my argument and I don't think that it will be a very sucessful one in convincing the country as a whole which doesn't have much love for the South East. My point is that more taxes will have to be raised from higher rate tax payers - even the Tories acknowledged this in their manifesto, but that thse taxes should be raised in a fair manner which do not disproportionately penalise those at the bottom of the higher tax rate pile (or those who aspire to be there) or those with children - the child benefit proposals do not. And that is even before taking account of the democratic deficit attached to the proposals.

Despite what many Tories may think not all Labour supporters see fairness entirely in terms of equality.

Newmania said...

Well I am not so far away from you really TB as you will see from my next post

( Hopi Sen is far from the only one to make the regional/ life cycle point though which I feel is crucial )

tory boys never grow up said...

I don't think the point about regions has much validity. People don't live in regions they live in towns and villages - and that is where they tend to make their comparisons of lifestyles. Lewes for example is a very different place from Chatham.

tory boys never grow up said...

But of course you can still get tax relief at the higher rate if you are putting away up to £50,000 per year in a private pension. As always with the the Tories there argument that we all have to make sacrifices does not appear to apply to the very rich.

tory boys never grow up said...

Should be "their" not " there" in the last post.

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