Cameron the low tax Tory; don't make me laugh


David Cameron

Prime minister David Cameron's pledge that he is a 'low-tax Conservative' is no surprise to the rich who have benefited from his policies, but may come as a shock to the poorest in society who have seen benefits slashed to pay for his tax reforms.

Who can forget the 2012 Budget when the Tories cut the highest income tax rate for those earning £150,000 or more a year from 50% to 45% - making the richest in society the biggest winners from that year's Budget. That cut cost the Treasury £3 billion in the first year it was implemented, rising to £4 billion by 2016/17.

And in more recent contrast to this we have 36,000 of Britain's poorest families who now have to find a combined £5 million extra to pay council tax following changes to the benefit system. Cameron and chancellor George Osborne call these changes 'reform' but that implies this is progressive which the shake-up to the benefits system is not.

Couple the increased council tax with the 'bedroom tax' and you have families struggling to keep a roof over their heads. Meanwhile, the wealthiest in this country are benefiting from tax cuts, the majority of the tax relief on pensions and quite often low corporation tax rates (plenty of Britain's rich list are captains of industry).

Reforming welfare does not mean slashing and burning. It should mean helping people back into work and supporting those that are working and still struggling.

There is a misconception that benefits are for people out of work, but of the 14.1 million households with a person in work, seven million will see entitlements reduced by an average of £165 a year. Some will suffer far more.

As part of his low-tax schtick Cameron has said he wants to give people's wages back to them, to make sure they have more in their pocket which would be great if he wasn't giving with one hand and taking with the other.

For the poorest in society, for families that are working and struggling to make ends meet, Cameron's low-tax rhetoric is just that. It does not help them put food on the table and it does not help them find more work: it penalises them for being poor and the gulf between the haves and the have-nots widens.