Final UK Debate Done: It's Almost Time for the Polls
For the final debate before the election next Thursday, the attention turned to matters of the economy. Clearly in this election, following the global banking crisis and recession, the public is looking for effective economic policy as the country struggles out of recession and begins to try and cut the hefty deficit.
Right off the bat, Clegg came out with something which sounded like a sensible idea. He suggested a type of council for financial issues to be formed so that there could be debate and interaction between the chancellors of all the parties, the head of the Bank of England and the Institute for Fiscal Studies. Both Brown and Cameron conveniently ignored this attempt at cross-party co-operation though.
There was also a lot of discussion on the issues of fairness in terms of taxation. Clegg’s proposal that income tax will not be paid on the first £10,000 of a salary seemed the fairest way to help low and middle income earners.
Cameron suggested fairness was at the root of his inheritance tax cuts. He wants to encourage people to work hard, to pay off their mortgage and save and not be punished if they want to pass that on to their children. Sounded good until Brown reminded us that the threshold was £650,000. Not many people are going to be in that position when they die.
Brown was constantly reminded of how unfair his National Insurance rises appear to be. His response that people earning under £20,000 would not pay a rise was weak as this still leaves a large majority of the population, including many that would not be considered big earners.
In terms of the attitude to the banks, which remains a point of anger for many, there were various suggestions. Cameron’s proposal to allow the Bank of England to regulate the banks is potentially quite good but surprised me as a very interventionist policy for a conservative government.Continued on the next page