Week in, week out, I meet and talk to a large number of my constituents.
Although their economic circumstances may be different – many are struggling, others are doing well – overwhelmingly they tell me that, as we make our way through the national and global economic recession, they do want to see some fairness in paying for the problems and in addressing the recovery.
Back in 2010, George Osborne told us “We are all in this together. I am not going to balance the budget on the backs of the poor.” It’s a message which he and David Cameron and Nick Clegg have kept repeating.
It’s certainly a message which the vast majority of my constituents wanted to hear and for it to be acted on. Unfortunately, right now, they tell me that they do not believe that they’re getting a fair deal from this government. It’s important to examine why.
Since 2010 there have been 24 tax rises; this does not include the cuts to tax credits which have hit millions of working families. The result is that households will be about £1000 a year worse off by May 2015 than they were in May 2010. In addition, as wages have not kept pace with inflation, on average, they will be another £600 a year poorer.
However, David Cameron and Nick Clegg have chosen to cut the 50p top rate of tax to 45p. Just 1 in 100 households will be significantly better off because they are enjoying a £3bn tax cut. It has meant that someone earning £1 million has received a tax cut of over £42,000 a year and millionaires as a whole got an average annual tax cut of £100,000.
What my constituents are telling me is that ‘When the deficit is still high, when tough times are now set to last well into the next decade, when for ordinary families their real incomes are falling and taxes have risen, it surely cannot be right to have chosen to give the richest people in the country a huge tax cut.’