What impact can politicians make?

THOSE who follow me on Twitter will have seen a very lively debate I had the other day with Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey, and a bit later Ben Gummer, on the state of the economy.

It all started from a blog I posted which questioned the ability of politicians to make any real impact on the recession.

To my mind it is pointless for George Osborne or David Cameron to blame the previous Labour government for the state of the British economy.

It is equally meaningless for the Labour opposition to attack all the government’s spending cuts when Messrs Miliband and Balls know they would have to pursue similar policies if they were in power.

The recession is not a British phenomenon. It is a world-wide slump. And frankly there is little that politicians in any one country can do about it.

What they can do is to ease our passage through the recession – and that can be done in a different ways.

Politicians can support businesses to create jobs rather than just paying out unemployment benefit.

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And they can demonstrate that everyone is playing their part by not exempting the super-rich from the tough decisions. It is debatable whether the 50 per cent tax rate on salaries over �150,000 a year actually raises much, if any revenue, for the Treasury.

But it is right that the tiny percentage of the population who earn such a fabulous salary should pay more than those who are struggling on a fraction of that.

And remember they only pay 50pc tax on the salary ABOVE �150k – so someone on �200k a year only pays 50pc tax on the last �50,000. They only pay �5,000 a year more than they would had the top rate been 40pc.

If people earning �200,000 a year are going scurrying off to some tax have somewhere because they don’t want to pay the last �5,000 in tax then I’m sorry I don’t have much sympathy for them.

As politicians struggle to ease the burden of the recession they should concentrate on the worries of the majority, not the selfish concerns of the super-rich, many of whom were responsible for the banking crisis in the first place!

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