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Vince Cable for Chancellor

March 31, 2010

I don’t blame Amber…

If my party’s Shadow Chancellor had performed as poorly as George Osborne did in Monday’s Channel 4 debate between the three would-be Chancellors, then I too would be tempted to write my weekly column about a trip on the East Hill Lift rather than the key economic choices that face the country.

It’s typical of the Conservatives actually.  They bang on about being the party that will save Britain’s economy, and then they serve up to the nation what Vince has ridiculed as schoolboy economics.  They have pledged to tear up Alistair Darling’s National Insurance proposals made in the Budget, without saying how they will find the money to do so.  Not that I agree with the NI proposals – I don’t.

Vince Cable won the TV debate because not only has he superior experience and economic literacy than either of his two opponents, but also because he is prepared to be honest where the others obfuscate and shilly shally.

I must say, as a Northerner, that I find Vince’s bluntness about what we need to do to protect and grow our fragile economy, putting fairness at the heart of it all, enormously comforting.  And it seems that many people watching on Monday did too.

Nick Clegg, Vince Cable and the Liberal Democrats have been specific about the spending cuts we will make in order to try to bring down the country’s budget deficit – we will scrap Trident, Eurofighter, ID cards and biometric passports and various government IT projects in order to take £15 billion off the deficit.

Neither of the other parties has been so specific.

Vince has been a lone voice on re-balancing our tax system so that, in a decade where painful economic choices will have to be made about public spending, people will know that the heinous injustice presided over by Labour (where families and individuals on low and middle income paid more tax as a percentage of their income than the very wealthy) will come to an end.

The Liberal Democrats will lift over 3.5 million people out of tax altogether by raising the Income Tax allowance to £10,000 – this will result in a tax cut of £700 for most middle income earners.

And it will help to stimulate the economy too.

Our tax package is fully costed, and will be paid for by closing tax loopholes for the very wealthy, by a mansion tax (for houses worth over £2 million) and an environmental tax on aircraft.

We are also prioritising job creation within the green industries and making our economy less dependent on the financial institutions which have let us down so badly over the past months.  And we will split up the banks, and make sure that they make credit available to the British businesses that so badly need it.

These are all important issues for a constituency such as Hastings & Rye.

Paddy Ashdown said at the Lib Dem Conference in Birmingham earlier this month that you only get Vince Cable as Chancellor by voting Liberal Democrat.

He’s absolutely right.

If you didn’t get to see the debate on Monday night, why not take a look:

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid74425226001

I think you’ll be impressed too.

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