Government leaving East Dunbartonshire residents in the dark over tax U-turn

Gordon Brown was threatened with a major backbench revolt over his plans, which increased the burden on the least well-off

Jo Swinson has expressed concern that vulnerable East Dunbartonshire residents are being left in the dark following Gordon Brown’s 10p tax rate U-turn.

From 6th April, Labour doubled the starting rate of income tax from 10p to 20p in the pound. Previously, a 10p rate was paid on the first £2230 of taxable income. Under pressure of a threatened rebellion by Labour backbenchers, Gordon Brown has been forced into offering concessions to those set to lose out, but there is confusion about who will be eligible for this additional help.

Commenting, Jo said:

“This series of events has seen Gordon Brown’s tax plans fall into disarray.

“Already, thousands of East Dunbartonshire residents are set to be up to £232 a year worse off because of the abolition of the 10p tax rate. Now, we are told of cobbled-together plans for a package of extra help for the least well-off, as a kneejerk response to a backbench rebellion.

“However, there is a worrying lack of clarity over who this additional support will go to. Will it be backdated? Will it go to people receiving tax credits? How will vulnerable pensioners be affected? East Dunbartonshire residents deserve to know exactly how Gordon Brown’s tax plans will affect the money in their pockets.

“Labour’s shambolic approach is not one of a party claiming to be serious about tackling poverty.”

Under the tax changes announced earlier this month:

• A single person with no children earning less than £18,500 will be a net loser, by up to £232 a year.

• People taking early retirement with a taxable income of less than £8,000 will lose, by up to £232 a year.

Liberal Democrat plans to cut the tax burden for those on low income include scrapping council tax and replacing it with a local tax based on ability to pay, and cutting the standard rate of national income tax by 4p in the pound, paid for by closing tax loopholes used by the wealthy and by increasing green taxes, such as the duties paid by the most polluting vehicles and those who travel in the most polluting aircraft

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