Tories wrong on Darling’s election tactic

Much of the week’s events – and day-to-day functioning of finances – has been measured by the pre-budget report. Darling’s point that there is evidence to suggest confidence is growing, in house prices both in the UK and the US, as well as the assurances in the manufacturing industry and therefore gross domestic product, is also what informs Darling that growth will return within the next two years (1-1.5% in 2010 and 3.5% in 2011-12).

There seems to be no reason to doubt that he might believe this, on the notion that confidence is evident, and for this reason the opposition’s charge that Darling’s plan for the tax relief of carers, for example, is all strategic is categorically erroneous. The charge has stemmed from the matter of Darling planning to drop these tax reliefs after the election, if indeed that takes place after April. However, the relief – and other measures for the lesser off – is with the intention to help families when the economy is contracting, and, as Darling predicts, when the economy is on the grow, taxes can be levelled again.

Personally, with this, I would like to see city bonuses capped at a price that afforded the worst off to be protected in line with inflation over the next 4 years (benefits were only at 1.5%, and given that inflation is estimated at 3% without the benefit being linked with inflation, this is a problem that needs to be solved – and soon), but I’m able to hold this judgement without thinking that Darling is holding the poorer electorate to ransom.

I would throw the charge back at the Tories. To say that relief for the lower economic scale is merely tactical, is to miss the point, and to block out the predictions such a move by the chancellor is congruent with. It might also be testament to the fact that the Tories had taken their eye of fairness for those to whom the economic breakdown will affect the most. Further, it could show that the Tories are pulling their “don’t trust a labour government with your money” moves, because their support base has, and is, dropping considerably.


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