Lord Tebbit triumphs in the Budget
He has consistently sided with Nick Clegg on this matter, contra many in his own party, pointing out that it is nonsensical for people who are so poor that they claim welfare benefits to be deemed simultaneously sufficiently wealthy to pay income tax. He observed two years ago: 'The effect is that people at the bottom of the stack living on benefits who try to get back into work are hit by 20 per cent tax, 11 per cent National Insurance and benefit losses that can add up to amost 100 pence in the pound. It is all very well for the better-off to complain about the disincentive effect of losing 50 per cent of every extra pound they earn, but what about the poor devil at the bottom of the stack who loses 90 per cent?'
It has taken some time for his fiscal wisdom to permeate through to the Chancellor, but it is ethically right and wholly moral to support working people on the lowest incomes. In a 'fiscally neutral' budget, this move will mean that more than 2.5million low-wage earners will not have to pay any income tax at all. And all Ed Miliband can muster is a cry of 'Same old Tories'.