Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Wendy's doctor spins too far

I am in receipt of an email. Have a read:

-----Original Message-----
From: Yates G (Gavin)
Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2008 2:37 PM
To: DL MSPs LAB; DL Labour Researchers
Subject: BBC request


The BBC are doing some work around Local Income Tax and are exploring the effects that LIT will have on various groups.

As we have maintained dual income families will be particularly hit hard by this unfair tax.

The would like to interview a couple - both earning around£20,000 as a case study.

Obviously they can't be party members.

The BBC would like to film this week.

Any assistance with this would be greatly appreciated.


Gavin Yates
Head of Communications
Scottish Labour Shadow Cabinet and Labour Group

Tsk tsk tsk.

The email was also sent to Labour councillors. Strictly speaking it's against Parliament's rules to do political work rather than Parliamentary work from a Parliament account, but it's hardly a hanging offence.

Couple of observations, though - good to see that Labour has finally worked out that using party members to pretend to be the poor, the weak and the dispossessed is a bad idea.

A couple earning £20,000 each aren't poor, those paying the highest marginal tax in council tax are the very low paid like cleaners who get paid £5.88 an hour - you know the people, they clean the houses of people who want to free up that time for other uses (the employer invariably complains about being short of money, godammit).

Let's have a wee look at that couple earning £40k a year:

If LIT was here now they would have a personal allowance of £5,225 each. From April 5th that will go up to £5,435. Let's assume that LIT was starting in April, the personal allowances for this couple would be £10,870.

That means they would be taxed on £29,130 (£40k less the personal allowances).

3% on £29,130 is £873.90 - that would be their joint local income tax bill for the year.

If they lived in Edinburgh they would have to live in a Band A house to be paying less than that in council tax - £779.33 Band A, £909.22 Band B. Although there's some slight variation, it's about the same across the country - I've put the figures in at the bottom.
So this couple would save money.
Who would lose out? Wendy Alexander probably will - an MSP salary of £53,091 will mean she would pay £1,435.98 in LIT putting her between Bands D & E in Glasgow. Add on her husband's wage and she is likely to break through what she pays now (I've no idea what band her house in Glasgow is in, but an academic's salary, even part-time, is probably enough to do it, don't you think?)
Claire and Richard Baker would definitely be worse off - this husband and wife Labour MSP team would pay an aggregate of £2,871.96 - which is more than Fife's Band H is just now.

Surely Labour MSPs can't just be opposing Local Income Tax because it would cost them money?

Of course, Gordon Brown with his £188,849 would be paying £5,502.42. That can't be why he's trying to scupper the scheme, though, we're always told how honourable he is. Alastair Darling would pay £3,964.32 - that's more in keeping I say!

Glasgow - £808.67 Band A, £943.44 Band B
Dundee - Band A £807.33, Band B £941.89
Aberdeen - Band A £820.26, Band B £956.97
Aberdeenshire - Band A £760.67, Band B £887.44
Angus Council benefits from a long history of SNP administration - Band B £833.78
Argyll & Bute - Band B £916.22
Clackmannanshire - Band B £892.89
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar - Band C £910.22
Dumfries & Galloway - Band C £932.44
East Ayrshire - Band B £924.77
East Dunbartonshire - Band B £888.11
East Lothian - Band B £869.26
East Renfrewshire - Band B £875.78
Falkirk - Band B £832.22
Fife - Band B £869.56
Highland - Band B £904.56
Inverclyde - Band B £931.78
Midlothian - Band B £941.11
Moray - Band B £882.78
North Ayrshire - Band B £896.00
North Lanarkshire - Band B £854.00
Orkney Islands - Band B £806.56
Perth & Kinross - Band B £900.67
Renfrewshire - Band B £905.87
Scottish Borders - Band B £843.11
Shetland Islands - Band B £819.00
South Ayrshire - Band B £897.52
South Lanarkshire - Band B £856.33
Stirling - Band B £940.33 (even with the reduction)
West Dunbartonshire - Band B £904.56
West Lothian - Band B £877.33


Jeff said...

Nicely picked apart.

I think Gavin has to pull his socks up a little bit. Labour can't role out the doleful middle income duo every time they want to make a point...

Anonymous said...

Well Gordon did want a Tory First Minister before an SNP one so it's very likely they will.

But Jack told him to pee off. Then they bumped Jack for being, er, honourable.