Many Labour council groups around the country are submitting a standard council motion on the planned VAT increase. The following wording from the Liberal Democrat Group in Southwark is the amendment that they submitted to their full council meeting:
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- With regret the new Coalition Government discovered that the outgoing Labour Government left the public finances in a catastrophic state and much worse than they had previously admitted. Notes this public deficit is the second largest in Europe and is equivalent to £22,400 for every man, woman and child in the UK. Also notes the outgoing Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Labour MP, Liam Byrne left a note stating ‘Dear chief secretary, I’m afraid there is no money. Kind regards – and good luck! Liam.’’
- Council Assembly further notes that the outgoing Labour government was also planning massive public spending cuts to get the deficit under control with the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, admitting in a BBC interview on 25 March 2010 that Labour’s planned spending cuts would be ‘deeper and tougher’ than those implemented by Margaret Thatcher.
- Council Assembly recognises that the Government’s spending cuts have been carefully considered and knows the moderating influence of Liberal Democrats will ensure the decisive action needed to reduce the deficit will be tempered with fairness and a concern for the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.
- Council Assembly welcomes the measures in the budget protecting the poor and vulnerable including:
- Nearly 1 million low earners taken out of tax altogether with more to follow
- £2billion extra child tax credit to tackle poverty
- Help for pensioners with the restoration of the earnings link that Labour had 13 years to restore, but failed
- A 10% increase in Capital Gains Tax for top earners
- A new tax on banks
5. Council Assembly further welcomes the new government’s freeing of councils from unnecessary and wasteful bureaucracy including the ending of the Comprehensive Area Assessment and believes the resources now freed up from the inspection regime can be used to more effectively align frontline services to reflect the priorities of local people.