This is the first response to the Government's Pre Budget Report I put out yesterday afternoon and which appears on the New Statesman's online edition. A further article should appear on the Guardian's Comment is Free website early this morning. My overall theme is that I can't see what the Government's agenda is for the future except shadowing the Tories and continuing with the neo liberal consensus.
New Statesman Online Published 09 October 2007
Mixed reactions to Alistair Darling's first Pre-Budget Report from John McDonnell, Martin Salter, Jo Swinson, Derek Wall and Frank Field
We asked UK politicians with a variety of perspectives to react to Alistair Darling's first Pre-Budget Report
John McDonnell, former Labour leadership hopeful and MP for Hayes and Harlington
Electioneering for an election that never happened dominated both the Chancellor’s pre-budget statement and the Tories’ response. The knockabout farce that comprised the debate had less to do with real needs of our community and more to do with political positioning by the Government in response to the Tories' party conference policy announcements.
The good news is that after the vigorous campaign by trade unions and tax justice groups for the past two years to end the tax loopholes being exploited by private equity companies, the Government has at long last taken action. The bad news is that the Government has bottled it when it comes to addressing similar tax avoidance by mega rich non-domiciles. Instead of action after four years of a Treasury review the best the Chancellor can offer is yet another consultation with proposals to let the rich off the hook yet again..
Inequality is still the elephant in the room, and there was nothing in these statements which will effectively tackle poverty or reduce inequality.