19 Feb 2011

Caroline Lucas sets out the case for citizens and councillors to resist cuts

I am working to oppose the cuts. After receiving many constituency letters on proposed changes to the civil service compensation scheme, I raised concerns in parliament. I have tabled an Early Day Motion questioning Defra proposals to sell off parts of the Public Forest Estate, threatening 865 Forestry Commission jobs.

The cuts are not inevitable: they are an ideological choice. This administration is doing what Tories have always done: privatising public goods and services. There is another way: fair and progressive taxation.

The UK is one of the most unequal societies in Europe. The poorest 10% pay more tax as a percentage of their income than the richest 10%. The financial crisis is an opportunity to rebalance the tax system and reconfigure the economy.

A more progressive system might involve applying the 50% tax rate to incomes above £100,000, abolishing the upper limit for national insurance contributions, raising capital gains tax to the recipient's highest income tax rate, and helping lower earners by reintroducing the 10% tax band.

Tackling avoided, evaded and unpaid tax in the UK economy is fundamental. HM Revenue and Customs admits tax evasion and avoidance come to at least £40 billion a year. In more than 20 parliamentary questions, I have drawn attention to this staggering injustice.


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