My Daybreak interview on charity tax & London Marathon

KG: It looks like they are not going to go ahead with the degree of capping that were going to, they are going to re-look at it.

EB: Well in the House of Commons, the Treasury ministers yesterday were wanting to plough on, clearly the Prime Minster is now very worried about this because the reaction from the charities is so strong, and there is quite a good example here. If you cobble something together at the last minute, you don’t think about it, you don’t talk to the charities, you don’t talk to the charity commission, it all falls apart, and in this budget there has been so many things, caravans, pasties, pensioners tax rise, charities, where the chancellor doesn’t seem to have thought it through in advance and now it is, you know, it is a mess really.

KG: So it must be odd for you though, a Labour politician to be suddenly finding yourself on the side of the high earners and saying, ‘hang on, this tax is wrong.’ And it is the coalition that are saying ‘no, we need to make these people pay more tax.’

EB: But lets be clear about the context here, at the moment out there, there are cuts to local services, for elderly people, for children and it is hospices who are saying, ‘we are going to lose funds,’ it is Macmillan nurses, lots of charities saying, at just the moment when our services are under pressure anyway from public spending they are now going to take away money from charities and what is so difficult is that the government cut taxes for the richest people but they are taking the money away from the charities, where is the fairness in that?

DL: But that was never the plan though was it, they weren’t thinking, ‘oh, lets take money away from charities.’ They were thinking, ‘we need to get these really high earners paying the tax that they should be paying.’

EB: Well look, that is what they said but they are raising half a billion pounds a year, where is that going to come from, well that is money which would have gone to charities and is now not going to go to charities because you put off these higher earning people from paying tax, but yesterday they published…

KG: Are you now arguing that charities should be providing these services, not supplying state services by tax? That seems very odd for a Labour politician to be arguing that.

EB: If you are a charity, lots of charities get money from local authorities, in my constituency, charities providing…

KG: I still get that, we are talking about the money from these philanthropists?

EB: But the point is that public spending on those services to charities for public services are being cut on one side, and the government comes along and then says we are going to cut taxes for the richest people but take money away essentially from charities, that is why you have got this massive outcry saying: ‘Why would you do this to us in such a peremptory way’

KG: I mean they still will give money charity and when you see some of the figures that the Treasury released yesterday, presumably to try and bolster their argument for this. It was talking about 6% of those who earn more than £10m paid less than 10% in income tax last year, I mean it is extraordinary, and another 3% only paid 20%, surely that has got to be tightened up hasn’t it?

EB: But I’m not saying keep the status quo just as it is. Every treasury has got to tighten up the rules and stop avoidance if you can, but those figures also showed that the vast majority of top-earners were paying their full tax, paying the top rate of tax, they’re going to get 14,000 millionaires an average tax cut of £40,000 when the charities are losing money, pensioners are going up, we have got a chance to make a difference to this in the budget debates in the next couple of days. I hope Conservative MPs will vote with us to stop this charity change and also to stop the pensioner’s tax rise which is also really unfair when millionaires are getting a tax cut.

DL: Before we go, marathon coming up this weekend, did you slide in a little training run this morning?

EB: I didn’t, I did my last one on Sunday. Look, talking about charities there is tens of thousands of people on Sunday who aren’t going to be giving money themselves they are giving their time and their effort, and I’m one of the tens of thousands running the marathon, just hope I get to the end.

KG: Ed, if you don’t finish, oh my good, what kind of political metaphor will that be?

EB: In politics it is a marathon not a sprint…

KG: Exactly, you’ve got to finish the marathon!

EB: If you don’t finish that is not good, I’m running for Whizz-Kidz and for Action for Stammering Children, brilliant causes, got a Just Giving site and to be honest thinking of the kids and what we can do to help them will drive me on. Just hope I get to the end and this is something which is cross-party so I’m hoping the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats will support my run as well as Labour MPs too.

-ends-

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Posted April 17th, 2012 by Ed