Elections are won or lost on taxes
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell, above, and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have big ideas about how they want to change society TWO big issues that came out of the Chancellor’s Budget last week.
The first is that two million workers will get a pay rise.
More than two million workers will see their pay increase next April, as the National Living Wage jumps to £8.21 an hour.
This is the hourly rate for people aged 25 or over.
Minimum wages for those aged 16-24 also will also go up, while pay for apprentices will go up by an extra 20p an hour.
The second big issue is that many working people will pay less tax.
Someone earning £12,500 a year will benefit by £130. And someone earning £50,000 will gain £860-a-year.
There’s been lots of talk about whether the budget ended austerity or not.
It didn’t. Police services and local councils aren’t getting extra money as a result of this Budget.
But many working people will be more interested in the impact on their wallet than arguments about austerity.
So will the people who depend on them - husbands, wives and other partners.
It’s changes to wages and tax that have a noticeable, direct affect on people.
This is why the Budget caused difficulties for Labour.
Nobody’s going to disagree that the current Labour leadership moved the party to the left.
Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor, have big ideas about how to change society. They want firms to hand over 10 per cent of their shares to a fund controlled by employees, for example, which in a sense gives workers a share in the ownership of their employer.
But Mr McDonnell, in particular, is serious about winning power. He’s waited his whole life to put some of his ideas into practice, and now he sees a chance to do so.
So he’s determined to stop the Tories using an argument that traditionally works against leftwing parties. This is the idea that they are going to increase taxes in order to increase public spending.
Labour does want to increase public spending. But Mr McDonnell has promised that he won’t put up income tax - at least, not for anyone earning below £80,000.
The message is that it’s safe to vote Labour. Even if you’re on a pretty good salary, Labour won’t put up your taxes.
And that means he can’t really oppose the Tory tax cuts - even though these cuts benefit people who are pretty well-off.
If he says he opposes the tax cuts then he’ll be threatening to put taxes back up once he gets into power. Or at least, that’s what it could sound like.
And he wants to make it very clear that he won’t put up your taxes, even if you earn £50,000 or £60,000 or £70,000 a year.
Labour’s shadow chancellor is a smart politician. He knows that however much people care about the NHS, schools or police, you can’t win an election if you’re threatening to make them poorer.
It’s a lesson politicians in all our political parties should remember.