People are now marching to call for an end to austerity and apparently even some Conservative MPs are talking about ending the cap on public sector pay. The latest Social Attitudes survey shows a larger percentage in those supporting an increase in taxation to pay for public services. Sadly this survey does not ask a more crucial namely: would you be willing to pay more taxes to pay for public services?
The danger is that we all look to others to carry the tax burden – ideally of course the rich, who we define as those with more money than us. Interestingly the Labour proposal for a new higher tax rate was set at an amount just above salary of an average MP. How much more powerful if that rate had been set to include the income level of MPs – then it really would have been a statement that we are all in this together.
Yes those earning more should pay more in tax and yes taxation does need to be used to help with some re-distribution of wealth. Similarly it has to be hoped the poorest can be protected from tax rises and even taken out of the lowest tax bracket.
But all of this would be much more powerful if there were more voices from people not just protesting about austerity but also saying: yes I am willing to pay more tax to end austerity.
In saying I am willing to pay more tax I know that this will mean a further tightening of belts in this household but if that means that the health service and social care can be better funded, that schools and the emergency services can be better resourced then so be it. Sometimes we have to come together for the greater good and be willing to pay the price.
So this turkey is voting for Christmas.