Tuesday, 28 April 2015

The new Indian Bicycle meme: Doing X to fund Y

The Tories have taken this pre-election silliness to new levels today:

A Conservative government would use fines imposed on Deutsche Bank for its involvement in rigging interest rates to fund 50,000 apprenticeships, David Cameron has announced.

This reminded me of Labour's last desperate attempt to bribe Scottish voters:

Jim Murphy claims UK mansion tax will pay for extra nurses in Scotland

This is quite a popular meme actually, so I did a quick trawl. Here's a selection of all the silly "doing X to fund Y" proposals they have dreamed up over the past year.

First, they all had their ideas about scaling back subsidies for the City of London pension tax breaks:

The Liberal Democrat party "claims around £1 bn [extra NHS] funding for the following year (2016-17) could be found in a pension tax relief for the wealthiest and a dividend tax squeeze on those earning more than £150,000. Ending the Conservative "shares for rights" policy would also bring in extra revenue."

The Tories
"have just announced that if they win the May election, main family homes worth up to £1million would escape inheritance tax if they were left to children or grandchildren. But the policy would be paid for by cutting back the amount higher earners are able to pay annually into their pension and still qualify for tax relief."

Labour leader Ed Miliband
"has announced plans to take £2.7 billion from pension savers in order to fund a cut in student fees, if he wins the general election."

Greens and UKIP went a bit left field:

The Green Party "would introduce a new wealth tax, rigorously clamp down on tax avoidance and evasion and introduce a financial transaction tax - a Robin Hood Tax, and we are not ashamed to say that those on incomes above £100,000 should pay more income tax. Providing free social care for the over-65's means security and freedom from fear, suffering and loneliness for many, and it means 200,000 new jobs and training places."

UKIP of course have promised to spend the savings from leaving the EU and slashing the aid budget ten times over in various pre-election promises/giveaways.

One exception to the rule that these "doing X to fund Y" proposals have to be totally plucked out of the air and not in any way intellectually coherent is this one:

UKIP "is preparing a manifesto pledge to slash billions of pounds from Scotland’s budget to help to pay for tax cuts for English voters."

And as a nice book-end to the first one, here's how the Tories said they would fund all those extra apprenticeships last year:

The Conservatives "would cap benefits further to fund three million apprenticeships if they win the general election, the prime minister has said."


Random said...

We'll just ignore the effects further down the line then. :(

Lola said...

I really do not any longer know what to say about all this.

Random said...

Conservative government would use fines imposed on Deutsche Bank for its involvement in rigging interest rates to fund 50,000 apprenticeships, David Cameron has announced
Were they not using Deutsche Bank research to show how well their economy was doing?

Random said...

Here. They were. Hypocrites. Labour will lead to "higher long term interest rates." Oh the irony.

Random said...

A DUP-Labour coalition. Wow, that's er... Just brilliant. Great idea. Not.

ThomasBHall said...

I have no problem with politicians explaining how they will fund something. I agree however it is extremely annoying when they try and make out some saving/revenue is in some way rincefenced for some special spend- when we all know it simply goes into one big wasteful pot. Things like NI spring to mind...

Bayard said...

Is it just me, or are the pre-election bribes more numerous and desperate this time around than they have ever been before? At least in the C18th, you got your bribe in your hand up front, before you voted.

Mark Wadsworth said...

L, neither do they, that's why they keep contradicting themselves.

R, yes, and..?

TBH, there are good taxes, neutral taxes and bad taxes; there is good spending, neutral spending and bad spending. Each side has to be justified on its own merits.

But picking and choosing to morally match 0.1% of tax receipts here with 0.1% of spending there is a nonsense, that's not how it works.

Labour might as well have said "We will introduce the Mansion Tax to fun apprenticeships" and the Tories "We will use the banking fines to pay for extra nurses in Scotland". That's still gibberish.

If you think Mansion Tax or banking fines are a good idea, then present them on their own merits, ditto apprenticeships or extra nurses for Scotland.

B, my impression is also that they have gone mental on the bribes and sweeties front this time round. The whole things is laughable Indian Bicycle Marketing.