The 10p tax saga ain't over yet. Jeremy Paxman's interview with
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Labour slow-learner Yvette Cooper exposed her failure to read the letter from the Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown Alistair Darling to the chair of the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee John McFall.
The letter states:
As a sign of the government's intent, we do not wish to wait unnecessarily until November. Whatever conclusions we come to, all the changes will be backdated to the start of this financial year.
Politically the message is crystal clear. Vote Labour on 1 May. Labour really is on your side.
What is less clear is whether that commitment just refered to pensioners/retirees aged 60 to 64 irrespective of gender, or all 5.3 million (or however many) adversely affected by the abolition of the 10p tax band. Questions about how that commitment can be achieved are all over the media.
But for us in the Labour Party, Alistair Darling's swift response, as soon as Gordon Brown admitted there were losers from his decision, deserves acknowledgement throughout the Party, whether in the Balls/Cooper household, No 10, or every CLP in the country. There is an urgent need to build the case for open and transparent progressive taxation. All the political ingredients are to hand - greedy, failing
fat cats bankers, a Labour government that understands political economy, a nation committed to fairness.
Labour launches an internal policy review next Friday as soon as the polls close. This must feature as a major consideration, surely? Oh, and the 10p tax compensation has to be for all and back-dated. Vigilance is vital.