I entirely agree with the hon. Gentleman. There seems to have been confusion from the Minister in the sense that she is saying, "Nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more"-in other words, that the Government might not actually introduce this measure. If this change is to be made, we need to know who it will affect lower down the income chain. If the top 2% are not going to carry their share of the burden, people lower down the tax scale will be affected, such as pensioners, who are already being hit by VAT and other implications of this Budget.
This proposal affects 300,000 people-2% of pension savers and 1% of working age taxpayers. We are being told that it is fair, just and progressive to abolish what was put forward by the previous Labour Government, which would have raised £3.6 billion to help to reduce the deficit that was created because of the lending we had to provide following the economic crisis. I am sorry, but I do not accept that that is fair, and I think that if this were explained to most members of the public, they would agree. Currently, no one who earned under £130,000 a year would be affected by this measure. If someone is in a Cabinet packed full of millionaires, that perhaps skews their perspective on what poverty is and what income buys. However, the average member of the public, certainly in North Durham, would be appalled by the fact that we are going to let off people who are earning what is not just a good wage but, for most of my constituents, a fantastic, unimaginable wage.
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