Jan 26

Are you one of the squeezed middle?

So Nick Clegg wants to help the ‘squeezed middle’ – those of us who work continuously, pay taxes and still don’t have enough money to get our teeth fixed, get the boiler mended or have a holiday.

I was talking about this on 5Live last night and all the callers were people on middle-paying jobs (£26,000-36,000 or so) who were not managing more than paying absolute basics, particularly if they had children.

I have said for a while that the personal tax allowance should be raised to £10,000. At the moment it’s £7,475 for adults of working age (it goes up once you’re 65) but that’s not good enough. I think that if we raised it to £10,000 that would encourage people on little or no income to make extra cash on the side where possible. I have talked to a few people – particularly women bringing up kids on their own – who would like to try to get some money in but they are stopped by benefits and tax. I don’t like the benefits culture but some people can’t cope without them – even with them they’re barely making ends meet and I’d like them to have the chance to make money legally.

It’s a tough one – we need taxation to keep the NHS going and education going and all our infrastructure, particularly as we are an ageing population and many more need care every year. It’s hard to make it fair and workable. Nick Clegg’s idea of taxing the rich more sounds reasonable although we have to be careful there. Many of the rich are keeping employment going in this country. If they’re over-taxed they will leave like they did in the 70’s when Labour brought in super-tax. It was bad for the economy and that’s the last thing we need right now.


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