Wednesday 12 March 2014

The select few and the toiling masses

I’ve never had really had a great deal of time for this self-appointed organisation calling itself the “Taxpayers’ Alliance”.  I can’t argue with their right to put forward their views, but their name implies – entirely deliberately – that they somehow represent the views of taxpayers in general.  And the media seem to have fallen for it in a big way, giving them a platform for their views on just about anything, without ever seeming to question for whom they actually speak.
They certainly don’t speak for me, and I’m a taxpayer – according to my payslips anyway.  They’ve never asked this taxpayer what I think, nor any other taxpayer of my acquaintance.  And to hear them talk, one would conclude that the only matter of any interest to taxpayers is paying less tax; the services which those taxes pay for what all appear to be superfluous.
They excelled even themselves last week in their comments in response to Gwynedd Council’s proposal to move towards a living wage. Their Campaign Director said “The best way for politicians to help the low paid, whether they work for a council or in the private sector, is to cut their taxes, not increase taxes on low and middle earners to fund a pay rise for a select few”.
The paper’s lack of challenge to this statement was disappointing to say the least.  In essence, the Alliance seems to be saying that the best way to help those who are so low paid that they pay little tax anyway is to reduce the tax of those on middle and higher incomes rather than increasing the pay of those at the bottom.  Worse, they went as far as to describe the low paid as “a select few” (as opposed, presumably, to the millionaire masses who inhabit their world).
As I say, I can’t oppose anyone’s right to express a view.  I just wish that before reporting it as though it was a general statement on behalf of all taxpayers, our fearless reporters would do a little more to make it clear who this organisation is and for whom they actually speak. 

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