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Reading Lib Dems Welcome Budget

key_Tax_cuts_Budget_2014Reading Liberal Democrats welcome many items in yesterday’s budget. Included in this are the positive points in the budget:

  • £700 tax cut promised, £800 tax cut delivered
  • The Budget has confirmed victory for the Liberal Democrats in our campaign to deliver an £800 tax cut for people on low and middle incomes.
  • Cutting income tax by £700 – by raising the tax-free allowance to £10,000 – was the top priority on the front page of the Liberal Democrat manifesto. That comes into effect next month and the Budget has confirmed that the Liberal Democrats have now been able to go even further. The tax-free threshold will rise to £10,500 next year, giving a tax cut of £800 for 25m working people since 2010.
  • Liberal Democrat policy is to continue to increase the threshold in the next Parliament to £12,500

The Budget also includes:

  • A boost for apprentices – £85m to extend the Apprenticeship Grants for Employers scheme, creating 100,000 new apprentices, and £20m to support apprenticeships up to postgraduate level
  • A fuel duty freeze
  • Giving people control over the money they have saved in their pension pots – removing the need for people to be tied into buying annuities
  • Help for savers – reducing tax on savings for people on low incomes and increasing the levels and flexibility on ISAs
  • Help for small businesses – doubling the amount of money that companies can set off against tax for investing in new equipment to £500,000
  • Tax-free childcare worth up to £2,000 per child
  • More measures to clamp down on tax avoidance

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander said:

“This recovery would not be happening without the Liberal Democrats in Government. The Liberal Democrats are committed to building a stronger economy and a fairer society. The Liberal Democrats have fought for rises in the amount of money that people can earn before paying income tax right from the start of the coalition. We have already delivered an increase to £10,000 by April this year. That gives millions of tax payers a £700 tax cut.
We’ve been campaigning for months to go even further and we’ve been successful. The personal tax-free allowance will rise to £10,500 in April 2015 which will give millions of taxpayers another £100 tax cut taking the total tax cut in 2015 to £800.”

Commenting further, Reading Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Ricky Duveen said:

“We promised to give a tax cut to people on low and middle incomes, and we have done just that. £700 was promised, £800 was delivered. And now people earning less than £10,500 per year won’t pay tax at all from next year”

He also welcomed changes to savings and pensions, “the changes to pensions championed by the Lib Dems will give people much more freedom when investing money in retirement. We believe people know best how to manage their own money.”

Jobs boost for 4,830 under 21s in Reading

Vince meets workersThe drive to help young people get jobs in Reading will be boosted by plans to abolish employers’ National Insurance Contributions (NICs) for under 21-years-olds.

The news means businesses will no longer have to pay tax on their employees aged under 21-years-old. For example, companies will save £1,000 each year for every young employee earning £16,000.

In Reading the plan to abolish NICs for young people from April 2015 means companies will not have to pay the contributions for 4,830  young people.

Reading Lib Dem Council Group Leader, Ricky Duveen welcomed the decision, which was as part of the chancellor’s Autumn Statement, and said:

“The Liberal Democrats are focused on getting young people into work and this is exactly the kind of initiative needed to give businesses a break and encourage them to start recruiting.

“Since 2010 we have already helped create more than 1.5m new apprenticeships. Meanwhile, Nick Clegg’s £1bn Youth Contract is supporting work experience, wage incentives and apprenticeships.

“Our economy is growing because of the hard work of people and businesses, they deserve this help. The coalition’s economic plan is the rock on which our recovery is being built – and it is happening because of the Liberal Democrats.”

Supporting the Living Wage in Reading

Meri O'Connell

Cllr Meri O’Connell

All families are feeling the financial squeeze at the moment, but care workers, who visit our most elderly and  vulnerable residents, often don’t  even  take home the minimum wage! Their employers are able to reduce their pay further by tactics such as not paying for travel time between visits. Losing £1ph travelling when you only earn £6.19ph, really matters!

Reading Liberal Democrats believe that, on a local level, supporting the living wage (where you are paid enough to actually live) is an excellent start in reducing poverty amongst those who are in work.

I am pleased that Reading Borough Council already pay all their directly employed staff above the minimum wage, but  am increasingly concerned about those at the bottom of the pay pile who work on behalf of the council, but are employed by outside contractors.

In my youth I spent a summer working in a local Authority care home, the work was hard, but most of the staff I worked with went about their tasks with humour and tenderness. I would go to bed after work with sore arms and an aching back from all the manual jobs, but it was also enormously rewarding. No matter how busy they were the care workers always tried to find time for a chat with residents and you could see how valuable that was in the smiles they received. These people deserve decent pay and working conditions.

Reading Lib Dems would like the Council to commit to ensuring that all those who provide services on behalf of the council receive the living wage rather than just the minimum wage, and that their travelling time between house calls is paid as well.

On a national level, the Lib Dems want an end to tax poverty and to put more money back into working people’s pockets. Because of the Liberal Democrats, since April the  personal tax allowance has been £9,205. From 2014 it  will be raised again to £10,000, saving 25 million people across the UK  a total of £700 Income Tax. That’s money worth having in these difficult times!

But we want to go even further – the Lib Dems are committed to ensuring that no-one earning the minimum wage should pay tax on it. We want to raise the income tax threshold to £12,400 in the next parliament.

Everyone who works will benefit from this, but those on the lowest wage – like care workers, doing some of the most physically and emotionally demanding work possible with our most precious relatives and loved ones , will benefit the most.

It’s a small but important way for society to say ‘thanks’.

Cllr Meri O’Connell is a Lib Dem Councillor for Tilehurst

Reading LibDems table amendment on maternity pay & family cuts

At last night’s Reading Borough Council full meeting, Reading Liberal Democrats Councillors tabled an amendment on a Labour motion on maternity pay and family cuts. Raised by Leader of the LibDems on Reading Borough Council, Cllr Daisy Benson, it was backed by the Conservative and Independent Councillors.

Speaking on the amendment, Cllr Benson said: “This motion is a cynical move by Labour in Reading. Ed Balls and Ed Miliband have not said they would reverse any of these cuts.’

‘Time and again Labour are very clear about which cuts they are against but have no ideas about what they would do if they were in government.’

‘Is it any wonder very few people are willing to trust Labour near the economy again.

‘In contrast, Liberal Democrats working in Coalition have taken a range steps to help families on low and middle incomes in Reading despite massive pressure on the public finances – including increasing spending on Reading’s poorest children to help improve their life chances, cutting income tax bills and making childcare more affordable.”

Notes to Editors:

Original amendment document by Cllr Daisy Benson

72,200 in Reading will get Income Tax cut in April

income-taxCommenting on the raising of the Personal Allowance further than already planned, Cllr Daisy Benson, Liberal Democrat Leader on Reading Borough Council said:

“Liberal Democrats are working for a stronger economy and a fairer society, so that everyone can get on in life. That’s why we are cutting taxes for working people.

“Today’s announcement means that by April, 72,200 ordinary working people in Reading will get a further Income Tax cut, bringing the total tax cut to £600 a year since Liberal Democrats joined the Coalition Government.

“In Reading, this welcome news also means that 5,710 low-earners have been lifted out of paying Income Tax all together since the Coalition Government came to power.

“Liberal Democrats want fairer taxes, which is why we made raising the tax-free allowance our number one priority at the General Election – so important that we put it on the front page of our manifesto.

“When times are tough, with rising bills and wages not keeping pace with inflation, we want to give people real, practical help.

“Cutting Income Tax will not deal with all of those problems, but it will help. And I hope it will make a big difference to every family in this country.”

68,100 people in Reading to get Tax Cut

As part of the Budget, the Chancellor has announced that from next year, the Income Tax threshold will be raised further, ensuring that no one pays any income tax on the first £9,200 they earn.

In Reading that means 68,100 people will receive a £220 tax cut cut next year and by 2014 over 5,000 people will be lifted out of paying Income Tax all together.

This is on top of tax cuts of £200 last year and a further £130 next month as a result of raising the threshold.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Group Leader on Reading Borough Council Cllr Daisy Benson said;

‘I was one of over a hundred Liberal Democrat Leaders in local government who wrote to the Chancellor calling for the Income Tax threshold to be raised further and faster to help working people in Reading and I’m pleased the Chancellor has responded to our calls.’

“As a Liberal Democrat, I want to see a fairer tax system where help is provided for those who need it most and where the richest pay their fair share.

“Raising the Income Tax threshold to £9,200 will help thousands of ordinary working people in Reading who have been struggling with bills and higher cost of living.”

Commenting further, Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander said:

“Liberal Democrats have been clear in our priorities for the Budget. We wanted to see a Budget for the millions, not the millionaires.

“The Coalition Government inherited an unfair tax system from Labour, who in their 13 years hit ordinary working families hardest by abolishing the 10p tax rate while letting tycoons get away with shameless tax avoidance.

“Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government are doing the right thing to clear up the mess Labour left behind, making sure the wealthiest pay their fair share by clamping down on tax avoidance, introducing a ‘tycoon tax’ and putting an end to stamp duty dodging by the super rich.

“Raising the Income Tax threshold is a key Liberal Democrat commitment that the Coalition Government is implementing. The announcement in the Budget will mean almost 2m people will be taken out of paying Income Tax all together in the UK and give nearly 21m people a £220 tax cut.”

Tax cuts must be lasting – Patrick Murray

Liberal Democrats in Reading West have called for income tax cuts to help struggling families weather the recession.

Speaking to a meeting of members over the weekend, Patrick Murray (Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesperson) said that people in Reading West have endured a year of rocketting fuel, transport and food prices and many were still out of pocket following the government”s decision to double the starting rate of income tax.

“Today, 24th November, the Chancellor presents his Prebudget Report to Parliament,” said Patrick. “Liberal Democrats will be pressing for permanent tax cuts for people on low and middle incomes. We will be looking for radical changes in the tax system which lock in lower rates of income tax for good.”

“To make these tax cuts lasting, they have to be funded. That means shifting the tax burden onto pollution and ending the tax perks and loopholes enjoyed by the highest earners, as Vince Cable pointed out in his speech at Reading University last week.”

“We are worried that the Government will simply introduce temporary tax cuts, paid for by borrowing, which will disappear once we start to come out of recession.”

“Now is the time for a genuine and radical change to the tax system. Liberal Democrats will be pressing for that and, having spoken to many residents of Reading, I know it is what people here want.”

“We believe, however, that an area where borrowing should be allowed is investment in new buildings and facilities that are needed. I am very keen to see people’s homes properly insulated and more affordable homes built for people who need them.”

“As well as boosting jobs and the economy, it will help to save money in the future.”

Editor’s Notes:

To see the Pre-Budget Report click here.

Salter has been taken in by Government spin over tax rise – Patrick Murray

Liberal Democrats in Reading West have accused Labour MP Martin Salter of letting down local people on low and modest incomes, by backing the Government over the doubling of the 10p tax rate without an adequate compensation package.

Patrick Murray, Lib Dem PPC for Reading West, said:

Martin Salter has been taken in by the Government. The Government’s compensation promise offers no guarantees at all.

“The Government won’t say how many people it will help. They won’t say if it will be permanent, or just for one year. And they already seem to have gone back on their promise that it will all be backdated.

“How do the Government expect people on below average incomes to pay today’s bills with money they won’t get for another six months – and that there is no guarantee they will even get then?

“On Monday night MPs had a chance to guarantee that the compensation package that the Government eventually come up with will be an adequate one – by voting for an amendment that said the 10p rate would be restored at the start of next year unless MPs have voted to approve a compensation package they judge to be adequate before then.

“Sadly Martin Salter voted against this. He seems content to trust Gordon Brown on this, when all evidence so far suggests he cannot be trusted on this issue. It was Gordon Brown after all, who originally claimed no-one would lose out under the changes.

“Labour MPs have now been fooled twice on the 10p rate. First in March last year, when they cheered Gordon Brown’s budget and it was left to the Liberal Democrats to point out he was upping tax on the low paid. Now they have been fooled again by a promise of compensation which has more holes than a fishing net.

“It is clear that Martin Salter cannot be relied on to stand up for local people on low and modest incomes.

“It is also clear that the Liberal Democrats, not Labour, are the party of fairness in Britain today.”

Editor’s Notes

According to data released by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, losers from the doubling of the 10p rate will be those on incomes between £5,435 and £19,355. IFS Report

More than 50 Labour MPs will make their average constituent pay more income tax if they vote to double the 10p tax rate on Monday, Liberal Democrat research shows.

In total there are 58 constituencies where the average constituent would lose out by the abolition of the 10p tax rate, with 51 of them held by Labour MPs.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable said “Labour MPs have a stark decision to make either they vote with the Government and make millions of low income workers worse off or they vote with their conscience. The Chancellor’s supposed concessions of last week will not make a blind bit of difference to the millions are ready feeling the pinch from Gordon Brown’s tax grab. Labour MPs must not give in to the Chancellor’s bribes and half promises. Labour simply cannot pretend that the doubling of the 10p rate will not hurt people when 50 of there MPs will be voting for a tax rise for their average constituent. The abolition of the 10p rate is clear evidence that the Prime Minster has lost all touch with ordinary people. MPs from all sides of the house must come together to tell the Prime Minister that we simply will not accept this cynical tax rise on those who can least afford it.”

And finally…
A snippet from the Revenue website on 6 April 1999
NEW 10P RATE OF TAX MEANS A BETTER DEAL FOR THE PEOPLE OF BRITAIN
The new 10p rate of tax comes into force today – the lowest starting rate of tax for over 35 years.

Chancellor Gordon Brown today welcomed the new rate of tax saying “My Budget in March introduced tax cuts for a purpose – to make work pay, encourage enterprise and support families. And so from today, all taxpayers will see the benefit of the promises the Government has made to the British people. We are delivering on those promises to get a better deal for Britain. The new 10p rate – the lowest starting rate of tax in Britain for more than 35 years – will make work pay and help people, especially those who are low-paid, to keep more of the money that they earn. People will see the benefit of the new 10p tax rate in their first pay packet after 17 May – just a few weeks from now. As a result of the new 10p rate, 1.8 million low-paid workers will see their tax bills halved as a result – a gain of up to £150 a year. And from today too, every worker in Britain who pays national insurance will have their tax bills cut by £65 a year, because of the reforms we have made to national insurance contributions.

“When we make promises, we keep them.”

Har de Har!

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