Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Thursday, 24 June 2010

James Forsyth's contorted logic

There's some rather specious reasoning going on over on the Spectator blog today. Fraser Nelson has posted a piece where he refers to an article by James Forsyth in the paper version of the magazine entitled "The true meaning of Osborne's budget".


Some of the points from James that Fraser highlights are quite incisive but this one is not:

"During the election campaign, nearly every Tory candidate despaired at how so many families on £50,000 a year were voting Labour to protect their £545 child tax credit — despite the overall cost of a Labour government to them being far higher than that. Osborne’s Budget dealt with this directly. Within two years, no family earning £30,000 a year or more and with one child will receive tax credits. That class of wavering Labour voters, so irritatingly prevalent in marginal seats, will be no more."

According to James this is part of the process of reversing dependency on the state and trying to ensure that the Tories win outright next time. But just look at what he is saying. Some families in marginal constituencies who were on around £50K per year were worried that if the Tories got into power then they would lose their child tax credit. That is exactly what has now happened so by those terms they were right to be worried and if enough of them had voted Labour then they would perhaps not have lost it (although of course we cannot be sure Labour would not also have made this move).

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely think that in the current economic circumstances this adjustment was the right thing to do. But to then make the leap to suggest that because the benefit is not there any more then the Tories will benefit electorally from exactly those people is contorted logic to say the least. Unless everyone just forgets that they used to get those tax credits. If anything it's likely to be the other way round, after all Labour will surely bang on about this at every opportunity they get.

Is there something I am not spotting here?

1 comment:

akashic said...

I think his argument is that stealth taxes covered up the fact that the taxes on couples earning £50k+ required to pay for child credits were more than the value of the credits they received.

By not receiving the credits they will be better off than if they had to pay extra taxes to enable the credits.

In the future Labour will have to explain how they will raise the money to pay for tax credits, rather than raising stealth taxes on the sly.