George Osborne is alleged to have told some backbench Conservative MPs:
“Let’s not forget there are advantages in more people paying tax at 40p.
“It means they feel they are a success and joining the aspirational classes. That means they are more likely to think like Conservatives and vote Conservative.
“If they are paying 40p tax they have a greater interest in cutting Government spending because they are paying for it. All the polling evidence suggests that I am right.”
Whilst I would prefer to earn more money, I see paying more tax as a bug, not a feature – and I certainly don’t aspire to pay more of it which is why I take measures (subject to the limitations of PAYE) to reduce the amount stolen from me each month.
However I can see that there is, in a perverse and twisted way, some logic to what Gideon is saying – especially in the last line of quoted above. The problem is that whilst those who are paying more for government certainly have a greater interest in cutting government spending, the reality is that government isn’t cutting spending, has deliberately squeezed the basic tax rate band in order to catch more people in the 40% band and shows no indication of stopping doing either.
And George wonders why the ‘aspirational classes’ are disillusioned with him and his party.