There have been some telling comments about George Osbourne’s budget. The headline that most of the media have picked up is the drop in the highest rate of income tax from 50% to 45%. This has lead to Ed Milliband, leader of the opposite (for the moment at any rate) dubbing it the “Millionaires Budget.”, following on from his spin doctors policy of making him refer to the cabinet as the cabinet of millionaires.
There is irony in this on so many levels. Although it’s a couple of years out of date now, the papers went to town in 2010 when 23 out of the 29 cabinet members were millionaires. Even last year, the Guardian published this cartoon on the subject:
|copyright the Guardian
So I suppose it’s fair game to talk about vested interest when tax cuts are wielded for those on high income by people who themselves are on a high income. Lets not forget that MP’s actually decide their own pay rises.
Well done Mr Milliband!
Except various sites suggest that the Labour party aren’t lagging that far behind in terms of wealth. 18 members of the Shadow Cabinet are millionaires is the statistic I’ve seen bandied about, again dating back to 2010. The Labour MP for St Helens South does own his own castle, complete with butler but then he used to be a Tory. There really is that little between the three main parties nowadays.
Obviously earning money and getting rich isn’t evil, it’s something I’d like to be much better at but in instances where the money is inherited or earned pretty much entirely from working in parliment (Guido Fawkes, the political blogger says,” Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper trousered a joint household income of some £300,000 per year for their five years or so in goverment positions.”) or as a result of having influence because you work in parliament, it does remove the politicians from the reality that normal people live through every day of their lives. They’re not rich because they’ve succeeded by any measure that we would find commendable.
So when Ken Clarke was on the television prior to the budget spreading his hands and sadly saying that the middle classes had to take their responsibility and shoulder their own burden of the national debt in the form of child benefit cuts (which have fortunately been somewhat watered down), it was difficult to take since he’s worth well over a million pounds, has worked for international tobacco companies, pharmaceutical organisations, hedge funds and F1 teams. He knows little of living on the bread line, having to count the pennies on a weekly basis.