ukip intends in September to confirm its “opposition to the Bedroom Tax” (see paragraph 8). However, all its other policy ideas are definites, we will cut this, set up that and repeal something else. ukip, therefore, is not committing itself to repealing the Bedroom Tax if it were ever in government.
ukip seems to be setting out to be tough on welfare, despite the contention it is pitching for a bigger slice of the working class ‘left behind’ vote. I guess saying that you will be opposed to the tax suggests otherwise and may provide some comfort to a few ukip voters, who think the tax is not a national government policy. I have often sat across the desk from someone on Social Security who was unaware of the difference between a civil service department and their local council. Although how ukip would cope if they were running a council is anyone’s guess.
To be fair to ukip in one way, they may have inadvertently repeated, without amendment, a pledge made in their Local Authority Elections Manifesto 2014 (see page 9, Environment, Planning and Housing), but failing to amend this policy for its policy launch hardly suggests that they are getting better organised at presenting their policies. However, the LA Manifesto contains references to policies that would require Parliamentary legislation for local authorities to implement. And those policies are mostly clear cut, too.
If ukip is attracting a goodly number of the ‘left behind’ then some of them must be paying the Bedroom Tax so why not say you will cut it? Could it be because of ukip’s Libertarian, small government, everyone should stand on their own feet wing? Oh and the 50% of its vote who are ex Tories? Keeping hold of their votes and attracting more implies that ukip will be hard on ‘benefit scroungers’, despite some of them currently being its voters and supporters.
There are three references to benefits in the LA Manifesto:
Up to 29 million more people are, therefore, entitled to come here, to take advantage of our benefits, social housing, primary school places and free health care, having contributed nothing to them. (Page 3)
We must end benefit and health tourism and give priority to local people for housing, education, health and social services. In planning, the local people’s opinions should be respected and not overruled. (Page 8)
Our membership of the EU costs £55m a day – and another £23m a day goes out in foreign aid – while jobs, services and benefits are being cut at home. UKIP believes that we should save that money to help rebuild our debtridden economy. (Page 9)
Now £55 million and £23 million per day might sound like a lot to most people, especially ukip supporters, but, believe me it is a drop in the ocean of government expenditure. Our total annual EU subscription amounts to (using Farage’s figures) £20 billion and our Overseas Development Aid to £8.4 billion per year. Now Farage has recently conceded that we get back £7 for every £10 we pay into the EU and that he wants to reduce, but not end ODA. He proposes to reduce it from 0.7% of GDP to 0.2%.
ukipers have assured me on Twitter that the 70% of our EU subscription we get back will be spent in a similar way as now, but instead of on the advice of chaps like me in the Regions (hence European Regional Development Fund), the decisions will be made in Whitehall. I am sure we are confident, particularly everywhere outside of London and South East, especially in the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament, that this centrally directed money will still go where it is most needed. I will talk more about that topic in a later post.
£8.3 billion divided by 7 and multiplied by 5 equals £6 billion and 30% of £20 billion equals £6 billion. After an expensive referendum and making a decision that will reduce the UK’s standing in the world we will have an extra £12 billion, ceteris paribus, per year to spend on ukip’s policy proposals. The proposal to cut Income Tax for those on the National Minimum Wage has been estimated, if implemented, to result in a loss of tax revenue to the Exchequer of £13 billion. ukip cannot contend that BREXIT and reducing ODA will make any immediate financial difference to those receiving Social Security.
I think it is not unreasonable to assume, given that reference to “debtridden (sic)” above, that ukip may well be considering slicing a further £73 billion from annual government expenditure and some of the policy ideas listed in Goodwin’s article would seem to support that contention. There is also no evidence to support the theory that cutting the top rate of Income Tax from 45% to 40% will, as Farage asserts, raise more revenue than before the reduction and as ukip wants to make sure the 40% starting point is not subject to fiscal drag then something has got to be cut. I leave you to ponder where the axe would fall, but do not forget that the Hard Right of the Tory Party not only likes the cut of ukip’s jib, but has openly talked about getting into bed with them.