Vote 2005

Respecting the pledge

I pledge to the taxpayers of my constituency and to the British public that, if elected to the next parliament and except in the event of a national emergency, I will vote against all increases in tax rates unless accompanied by an equal or greater reduction in the overall tax burden within the same proposals.

That is the ‘Tax Pledge’ issued by a group of ‘tax activists’ mostly based in the south of England. Fair enough, there have always been and probably always will be people from the wealthier sections of British society who object to the idea of contributing to the greater good.

Its not surprising that very few MP’s have been willing to put their name to such a risky pledge though. The first George Bush will be forever reminded of his “read my lips” pledge and as the Jamie Oliver case showed there are times when it is extremely popular to increase public spending which of course needs paying for.

It is certainly not surprising that not a single Labour or Liberal Democrat candidate has signed up to the pledge and a little surprising that Green Party candidate Melanie Collins has signed up. Such hostility to taxes is, it goes without saying, an issue for the right. There is one Tory, two members of the Democratic Unionist Party, one from the Ulster Unionist Party and a Monster Raving Loony Party candidate who have put their names to the pledge.

Oh and what’s this? The Respect Unity Coalition candidate for Leicester South?