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Tax – Tuition fees – Communications Data Bill

January 28, 2015 12:16 PM

Tax

8.3m families will benefit twice from the Liberal Democrat tax cut, new analysis has revealed.

Thanks to Liberal Democrats increasing the personal tax allowance to £10,600, these families will on average be £1,330 better off each year.

Income tax cuts for working people were a top priority for Liberal Democrats when we entered the coalition in 2010 and one which we are proud to have delivered for millions of people.

In government Liberal Democrats have fought tooth and nail to deliver a tax cut worth £825 for more than 26m working people.

The Tories are now trying to take credit for it but back in 2010 they said raising the personal allowance was unaffordable. In the 2010 Leaders' debates Cameron said:

"It's a beautiful idea, a lovely idea. We cannot afford it."

By raising the personal tax allowance to £10,600 we have lifted more than 3m people out of paying tax altogether.

As well as helping families make their money go further we're also lifting the lowest paid out of paying tax.

By April:

340,000 sales and retail assistants will no longer pay tax.
169,000 care workers and home carers will no longer pay tax.
162,000 cleaners will no longer pay tax.
136,000 catering assistants will no longer pay tax.
91,000 teaching assistants will no longer pay tax.

Danny Alexander said:

"This shows that our Liberal Democrat flagship policy of dramatically increasing the amount that people can earn before they pay income tax amounts to the greatest revolution in the tax landscape for working people in living memory.

"Repairing our economy after the 2008 crash has been a daunting task.

"Tackling it, and tackling it fairly, was the main reason that we formed the coalition in 2010 and income tax cuts for working people are top of our fairness agenda.

"Recovering from the crash of the Labour years is a long process. There is a lot more to be done to fully repair the economy and to continue to get the financial pressure of families.

"That's why we Liberal Democrats are committed to raising the personal allowance still further, to £12,500 over the next Parliament."


Tuition fees

Labour are desperately trying to run away from their record on tuition fees. First they introduced fees, then they tripled them, then they introduced a review that wanted to to scrap the cap entirely [1]. Now Labour are trying to con students by hinting they will merely double fees from where they stood in 2010.

Lowering tuition fees to £6,000 is deeply regressive. New BIS analysis shows Labour's policy will only benefit the richest 40% of graduates. The changes will cost £13bn over the course of a parliament - £2.6bn a year - which Labour admit they don't know how to fund. [2]

By contrast the Liberal Democrats have ensured that Labour's plans for unlimited fees did not go ahead. We demanded changes that mean no-one pays back fees until earning a decent salary; allow part-time students to benefit from loans for the first time and make sure no one is constrained by debt not paid off after 30 years.

As a result of our changes young people from a disadvantaged background are now 70% more likely to go to university than 10 years ago, [3] while overall more people are now going to university than ever before. [4]

Instead of promising a more regressive system that penalises the poorest and which they cannot afford it is time Labour came clean and apologised for their years of deception, half-truths and broken promises on tuition fees.

[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-11519642

[2] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-30976509

[3] http://www.publicfinance.co.uk/news/2013/07/demand-for-university-places-growing-again-reveals-ucas/

[4] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-30537561


Communications Data Bill

The Liberal Democrats do not agree with the fundamental principle that national security requires every website visited by every man, woman and child to be stored for a year - regardless of the where and how and what, the Liberal Democrats remain opposed.

It is vital that the police and intelligence agencies are able to investigate and prosecute terrorists, including surveillance of communications. The Liberal Democrats have moved quickly in Government to plug the gaps in existing legislation to bolster these abilities.

Future security measures must be proportionate, justified and necessary - and not trample on our civil liberties. The so-called Snoopers' Charter, which would see the internet browsing of every single citizen stored for a year, fails these very reasonable precautions.

The idea that you protect free speech by spying on every law-abiding person in this country is a contradiction in terms. You can't have an open society if you are constantly worried that the state is prying into your daily life.