Saturday, 13 June 2009


When I was a young man one of the things that most motivated me to join the Labour Party was the need to alleviate poverty and redistribute wealth. I still hold to that. Whether it be by the provision of services (the NHS is the obvious example, but Sure Start will I think become a legacy of the last 12 years of Labour Government), or by income it is something the Labour Party needs to remain focused on.

Much of the redistribution has been quietly done, but it is an argument that Labour has won as the Conservatives have now said they favour redistribution. However, arguing for cuts in inheritance tax for millionaires as part of this "commitment" is illogical.

I read sadly that one of the truly great men who was behind so much of the Labour Party's work on tackling poverty, Professor Peter Townsend has died. The Child Poverty Action Group which he jointly founded has been very influential. You can read an obituary about all his achievements here.

Child tax credits may not be the sexiest policy, but I know thousands of families are helped by them every day. Gordon Brown is the man who was the architect of this redistribution based on people working, not just receiving benefits. He remains committed to redistribution as does the Labour Party, and I wish we would take the opportunity of Peter Townsend's death to proclaim more about how much money has gone to pensioners, children and the disabled.
That would be a fitting legacy to a great man's work.


  1. Mark I agree child tax credits are useful but I think you can still get paid and earn £40,000 a year now forgive me but if you are earning that much you dont need the tax man to give you a refund. I am all for helping but someone who sets the figures needs to get a grip on life.

  2. Sorry to read about your roof, I hope its not too bad.

    Back to business I have the feeling that much of what Labour might have accomplished will have been dissipated, through the credit crisis and made worst by giving away 12 billion in VAT hand outs that were not passed on. Some stimulus.

    I cant help but feel that Gordon Brown is responsible as much as anyone for the economy like non regulation the Banks, dithering with Northern Rock, taxing private sector pensions.

    Labour by allowing mass immigration with no idea, strategy or attempt to monitor its effects on the British People, I feel have made neutralised any investment in health education, and before you take the easy option, just ask a cross-section working Asian, European and Afro Caribbean Brits

  3. I think the elephant in the room that is never talked about is regional variations for pay/benefits. We should address this.

    Thanks for your thoughts Tony. On green shoots, too early to say. I disagree with you on migration. Our economy benefits from brits working overseas and attracting people from all over the world. I think the result will be seen in the longer term.

    No one ver answers this question fo me. If we ask 10s of thousands of Eastern Europeans to leave what do we do about France or Spain saying thanks, but no thanks to all those elderly Brits that are putting such great pressure on their health services? We seem to want to have our cake and eat it.