Friday, 28 January 2011

Boris Johnson pushes for tax cuts ... for the rich

Boris Johnson, the Tory Major of London, previously a fellow member of the elite Bullingdon Club alongside David Cameron, is no master of political spin and is well known for coming straight out with what he thinks.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, the Conservative Mayor of London urged the Chancellor, George Osborne (another past member of the Bullingdon Club), to set a course for low tax and stated we need “a clear direction of travel” that will include how taxes will be reduced over the course of this parliament ... but for who?

Yes you guessed it ... the rich!  ... as he's only arguing for a reduction in the 50% top rate of income tax,  suggesting it is harmful to London's economy (and therefore Britain’s)! David Cameron and George Osborne are obviously having to play a much more political game (particularly given their need to keep their coalition "partners" on board), and are careful to currently offer only vague assurances that they will lower tax.

David Cameron and Boris Johnson

Mr Johnson says he does not want his comments to be seen as “a criticism of my friends”, but he adds: “I need to speak up for London and its interests. I think we need to set out a pretty clear direction of travel, a pro-enterprise direction of travel. He said “I understand about 50p tax politically but there has got to be a sense of where we are going and where we want to be as a country.”

Mr Johnson hints that the Chancellor is planning tax reductions in the March Budget. He says: “I know this is something George knows and he wants to do. Labour have created a climate that is miserable and anti-wealth creation and was resentful … it takes a real effort of political will to dispel that. I hope very much that is what George will do and I will lay money he will. That is the way forward and I know he thinks this.”

Boris Johnson appears to definitely be 'in the know' (no surprise there), so maybe David Cameron and George Osborne are quietly behind him asking for such a tax cut, stressing it to be an 'absolute necessity for kick-starting economic growth' ... so they can gauge reaction ... and determine if they'll be able to get away with it!  Shock, horror, do these kind of things really happen ... absolutely, and all the time in politics ... if the reaction's not too bad then they'll know they can get away with it ... and if there's a violent reaction to it then they'll know they can't (just yet) ... and can conveniently distance themselves from Boris!  

It's worthy of note that Mr Johnson is also urging Mr Cameron to step in quickly to bolster trade union legislation too, to make it difficult for union leaders to call strikes, saying the Coalition needs to develop its “Norman Tebbit side”, a reference to Margaret Thatcher’s industrial enforcer in the past. Yet another interesting 'test' ... at a time of growing concern/unrest about this Government's motives (and actions) ... and at a time where other Government's around the world (1,2,3) are under pressure and being kicked out*!

NB It's interesting to see the political elite in Egypt are moving rapidly to cut off the internet and any mobile communications, to avoid a 'coup de text'!