Tuesday, 27 March 2012

The Vote on 50p Tax Rate

For all the detail of last week's budget, Ed Miliband and Ed Balls focused almost exclusively on attacking the cut of the 50p rate of income tax.

Now, I'm in favour of cutting it because it deters enterprise, raised little revenue and smacks of the politics of envy. But, I accept that there are reasonable economic and political arguments for and against. And it is healthy to have rambunctious debate.

But, what I don't get is how - after all that huffing and puffing - when Parliament voted on it (last night), not one of the Labour front-bench bothered to turn up, as reported here. They were there for the debate. I saw them. Some backbench Lab MPs voted against the cut - well just two, in fact: Paul Flynn and Dennis Skinner. But Miliband, Balls et al all abstained.

Sometimes, there are good reasons to abstain. But, having worked themselves into a lather about the 50p tax rate, I am genuinely puzzled that they ended up sitting on the fence en masse.


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