Thursday 25 February 2021

Taxing Times

Windfall taxes have been levied at least three times in the last 40 years, once by Tony Blair and twice by Margaret Thatcher. If Labour voted against one this year, then it would be positioning itself to the right of both of those First Lords of the Treasury.

And reversing David Cameron's and George Osborne's cut in corporation tax, which was a key weapon in their imposition of the cost of the 2008 Crash on the rest of us rather than on their current employers, was one of Keir Starmer's 10 Pledges. Indeed, it was the first of those Pledges.

The Left should vote in favour of the windfall tax, and it should at least vote in both lobbies on corporation tax. There would then be a case for adopting the latter approach to the Finance Bill itself. This is asking a lot. Back when Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell were voting against the Blair Government, then they were rarely or never "voting with the Tories", who were of course voting with that Government, if at all. But here we are.

Here we are, indeed. But where are the Liberal Democrats? The cut in corporation tax was a measure of the Coalition, when Ed Davey was in the Cabinet, and when members of his party held the positions of Secretary of State for Business and of Chief Secretary to the Treasury. That party is back at third place in the polls this week. A touch of scrutiny would be in order.

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