Andrew Smith MP

On your side in Oxford East

The Issue: Top rate of income tax

OXFORD_MAIL_2013.jpg"Was George Osborne right to stand by his decision to cut the top rate of income tax in his latest budget?"

No: It says all you need to know about the priorities of this Lib-Dem Conservative government that at the very time they are taking hundreds of pounds away from low earners in cuts to working tax credits and freezing child benefit, they are giving tens of thousands of pounds back to the very richest people in the top-rate tax cut.

This also comes after the government froze pensioners' personal allowances.

Then they came along with the unfair "bedroom tax" penalising people in social housing who can't move to a smaller house. No wonder the gap between rich and poor is getting wider and wider under this government.

The present top rate of tax was brought in as an emergency measure to ensure the very highest earners made a fairer contribution to bringing down the deficit. The government tries to claim "we are all in this together", but its actions speak louder than words. It is the bulk of people on middle and lower incomes who are being made to pay the price, even as they struggle just to get by with rises in the cost of living.

The story this budget told was one of lower growth, higher borrowing -- and a government that cares most about a tax cut for millionaires. Our economy badly needed bold action for growth, jobs and affordable housing. It also needed action to make the economy fairer and help people get on in life. This government's approach is failing on both counts.

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