22nd JUNE 2010
Responding to today’s ‘emergency’ budget, Benjamin Ramm, editor of The Liberal magazine, criticised the coalition’s failure to address inequality and to take steps towards a redistribution of wealth.
Ramm pointed out that VAT, which has risen from a rate of 8% in 1979, taxes poorer families disproportionately, to 14% of their income as against 5% for the wealthiest (research by Save the Children). He remarked: “It is incumbent on Liberal Democrats to temper the zeal of those within the coalition who desire swift and ‘savage’ cuts in place of responsible, redistributive measures that assist those on lower incomes. This VAT rise is a tax on the poor to absolve the sins of the rich”.
Expanding on the theme of inequality, Ramm said: “Even greater than the fiscal deficit is an ethical deficit at the heart of our political economy. The chasm between rich and poor continues to rupture Britain’s social fabric, already decayed after 30 years of neo-liberal economic policy. Liberal Democrats are duty-bound to address this inequality as a primary priority, in the knowledge that their privileged position in coalition is due in part to voters’ frustration at Labour’s failure to improve social mobility”.
For further comment, or to speak with the editor, call (020) 8444 1944 or 07812 650 399.
The Liberal is an independent publication dedicated to the revival of liberalism. It has no affiliation with the Liberal Democrats, although previous contributors include Nick Clegg, Vince Cable, Chris Huhne, Simon Hughes, Menzies Campbell, Shirley Williams and Paddy Ashdown.