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Osborne should reverse inheritance tax cut not the capping of tax relief on charitable donations

In last year’s budget, George Osborne offered a cut in inheritance tax if people donated to charitable causes, a move aimed at stimulating the floundering idea of the Big Society; the move meant if you qualify to pay inheritance tax but you give 10% of your estate to charity, the rate of that tax is reduced from 40% to 36%.

Fast-forward a year to Osborne’s 2012 budget, in which it was announced that tax relief on charitable donations will be capped at 25% of one’s income or £50,000, whichever is higher.  How are the two policies consistent? One encourages charitable donations with the promise of a reduced inheritance tax bill whilst the other is specifically aimed at warning individuals that such donations should not allow them to avoid paying tax. In keeping with most of the government’s fiscal measures, it’s a mess. Read the rest of this entry

Housing, the welfare state and the new politics of virtue

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The 2011 Labour party conference may be best remembered as a turning point, when Ed Miliband began to assert his radical version of Britain’s future.  Many commentators have already fixated on the phrase “not anti-business, anti  business-as-usual.” In contrast, Miliband’s reiteration of Labour’s plans to marry eligibility for social housing to individuals’ contributions to society, has been overlooked as a smart tactical move, or misinterpreted as an attack on the working class.  In truth, the essence of Miliband’s radical vision, and his support for working and middle class people, is rendered most vivid when analysing this particular policy. click here to keep reading

Blair speaks out. Will anyone listen?

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Tony Blair waded into the debate yesterday on the health of British society as politicians, both past and present, seek to find a cure for the sickness our Prime Minister has diagnosed us with. As someone who has generally refrained from commenting too much on British politics since he left office it is not immediately clear whether Blair is genuinely interested in examining the causes of the riots or is simply seeking to protect the New Labour legacy. Today’s youth are getting completely screwed over by the coalition but primarily they grew up under Blair’s government. The lack of morality and responsibility evident in the looters and rioters hardly reflects well upon the man who put education at the heart of his reforms. Click here to keep reading

Council House Tenants, Fraud and Riots: A Correlation or a Gross Assumption?

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Every government wants to appear strong on something, tough on crime, a champion of the NHS but a war on council house tenants is definitely new on the political horizon.

Fraud has long been considered a white-collar crime but the new culture of sub-letting council houses brings this into question. There are currently no criminal sanctions for this immoral activity but under the Coalition’s new plans this may be about to change. Now I am all for the theory of council houses helping those who cannot afford to rent in the private sector, this is un-debatable; however, there is a line of trust in this agreement which should not be broken.

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“A Hand Up Not a Hand Out”: The Big Society, The Big Bank and Now The Big Issue

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Last week the Prime Minister guest edited an edition of the Big Issue; whilst this was a first for Mr Cameron it appears a greatly compatible partnership. As Mr Cameron himself said, the Big Issue “rejects the idea that to every problem there must be a big state solution” which is a huge right-wing philosophy, reducing state interventionism and helping people to help themselves.

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