Income Tax: the moral case for the 10p band
When one considers the considerably-increased costs of food, fuel, and council tax (not to mention cigarettes and the tax-escalator on alcohol), and the bizarre (and bureaucratically expensive) preference for dishing out benefits and tax credits instead of sustaining the 10p band, the ‘party of the poor’ which professes to be concerned with social justice is nothing of the sort. New(-ish) Labour has widened the poverty gap by positively encouraging people to remain in poverty, and has made the whole system so convoluted that people have ceased to comprehend it. It was John Cole who said: ‘Politics is only important through the effect it has on the lives of ordinary people’. And these ordinary people are about to face the financial consequences of 10 years of Labour.
The poor are real people in real situations – the very people to whom the Lord ministered and placed in a privileged position in the Kingdom. They were called blessed, and were given assurances and promises of a better life in the world to come. They are hard-pressed pensioners or single mothers pulling their hair out trying to make ends meet; they are not simply numbers in the latest government round of statistics. The reality of their plight becomes a very strong moral argument for lower taxation.
And when billions of pounds are poured into black holes of bureaucracy, inefficiency and incompetence, it is a moral outrage. To take a worker’s hard-earned money through coercion demands that the level of public spending be good enough to fulfill the trust and good faith of the worker. The benefit to society of the tax must outweigh the pain of paying the tax. It does not. This Labour government has failed to fulfill its moral obligations and failed to deliver its political promises.
Cranmer is reminded of a scene from Shakespeare’s Henry VIII which features His Grace responding to the litany of complaints against Cardinal Wolsey's destructive appetite for burdensome taxation, his hoarding of the nation's wealth, and his wasteful self-interest. Instead, Cranmer offers a vision of economic plenitude during the future rule of Elizabeth: ‘In her days every man shall eat in safety / Under his own vine what he plants, and sing / The merry songs of peace to all his neighbours.’ In immediate contrast to the spectre of Wolsey's degenerative ‘ill husband(ry)’ that defies ‘thrift’, this is a vision of self-sufficiency, of a nation made up of perfectly-functioning domestic economies, of households which are happy and content with their lot; a country at peace with itself.
If one’s hope is to keep one joyful, one may replace ‘Elizabeth’ with ‘David Cameron’. To believe otherwise is to offer no hope at all.