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The Lib Dems are the party of social justice

September 25, 2008
[Nick’s letter to the Labour MP]

Dear Michael,

It is unpleasantly ironic that in your recent column for the Observer – ‘A Fairer Britain’ – you are dishonest and deeply unfair about proposed Liberal Democrat tax cuts for low and middle income families.

You are either deliberately misrepresenting our policies, or you have not understood them.

Let me explain.

The first point you must accept is that the Conservatives would never propose tax cuts for low and middle income families.

As you probably know, but have omitted from your article, the Conservatives have pledged to match Labour’s spending should they be returned to Government, and their only tax policy is to raise the Inheritance Tax threshold for millionaires.

By contrast, we have put forward tax cuts funded by increases in green taxation and tax on wealthy families. We are prioritising redistribution – a word that has curiously disappeared from the Labour lexicon.

This was a policy introduced at our previous Conference.

Just like the furore over the 10p tax band, it seems that policy takes a while to sink in on the Labour backbenches.

What we have introduced at this Conference is a pledge to get better value for money from current Government spending, and to redirect some of it to our own priorities – the pupil premium, free care for older citizens, more police on the streets. The programme is called Make it happen.

On Tuesday I took the trouble to read Gordon Brown’s speech in full. I agreed with a lot of what he said. The trouble is, there is often a large gulf between what Labour does and what it says it will do.

Remember the Post Offices?

The British people will give their verdict on Labour’s trustworthiness at the next General Election.

In the meantime, I suggest you read Nick Clegg’s speech if you have not done so.

If you are really committed to social justice, then maybe you should become part of the re-alignment between Labour and the Lib Dems that Vince Cable foresees.

After all, he has been right about more things than your lot recently.

Yours, as ever,

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