Guildford Liberal Democrats and their prospective parliamentary candidate, Kelly-Marie Blundell, have welcomed the alternative budget in which Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander set out the party's tax and spending plans for the next five years.
In a statement to the House of Commons last week, Danny announced fiscal plans designed to build a stronger economy and a fairer society, creating opportunity for everyone.
The plans include borrowing less than Labour and cutting less than the Conservatives, keeping Britain on the path to prosperity. The plan has been produced by the Treasury based on Danny's assumptions and using data from the Office for Budget Responsibility’s forecast.
Finishing the job of economic recovery, which the party started in 2010, requires £30 billion of budgetary savings by 2017/18. To achieve this, we are committed to ensuring that those with the broadest shoulders bear the largest share.
The plans are based on receiving a further £6 billion from tax dodgers and an additional £6 billion from tax rises. We would ask those in high-value properties and the banking sector to pay more, rather than those on low incomes to accept less.
This would leave around £12 billion of departmental savings and the remaining £3.5 billion from welfare savings. These measures would allow the structural deficit to be eliminated in 2017/18 - it would actually meet the coalition's fiscal mandate with headroom of £7.7 billion.
Once that mandate is met, we would then focus on cutting debt as a share of the economy. We will increase public expenditure as the economy grows after 2017/18.
The national debt as a share of the economy would fall in every year of this plan, from 78.2% in 2017/18 to 76.1% and then 73.9%. The implied spending envelope for departments would be £314.3 billion in 2017/18, rising to £324 billion and then £348.1 billion in the last year. These proposals mean that there will be more money available for infrastructure investment and public services, increasing to £25 billion, then £36 billion and then £40 billion.
Danny also announced a package of new measures to tackle tax evasion. These include:
· -introducing a new criminal offence for offshore evaders so that pleading ignorance can no longer be used to attempt to avoid criminal prosecution.
· - introducing a new offence of corporate failure to prevent and/ or facilitate tax evasion.
· -increasing financial penalties for offshore evaders.
· -introducing civil penalties for those who facilitate evasion with fines matching the amount of tax avoided.
· - extending the scope for HMRC to name and shame both evaders and those who facilitate evasion.
Commenting on Danny Alexander’s alternative budget, Guildford's prospective Liberal Democrat MP, Kelly-Marie Blundell, said; "It's an audacious move by Liberal Democrat Ministers to produce an alternative budget and I applaud them. We are a party of Government but we know we could make sure cuts and tax rises are fairer and anchored in the centre ground.
“In contrast, the Labour Party has been unable to produce an alternative budget, their shadow chancellor Ed Balls even welcomed the moves made in the existing budget. Only with the Liberal Democrats in Government will we see a fairer way to pay off the deficit and ensure that the brunt of the cuts are not borne by the poorest in society.
“With the extra money available from these proposals, we would deliver the NHS the £8 billion a year that it needs to secure its future and protect the education budget from cradle to college – both policies that I know will be hugely popular with Guildford residents.”