There’s something Ed Miliband isn’t telling us. He’d spend more, he says, and tackle the deficit. But how? Almost every tax rise he has announced is intended to raise cash for still more spending – so how would he cope with the fact that the government still needs to borrow 12p for every £1 that it spends? The obvious answer is: tax rises. But Labour has taken great care to avoid being drawn onto that topic. Or had taken great care, until Chris Leslie’s outing on the TV shows today.
Leslie, deputy to Ed Balls, is one of the better guys in politics, straight-talking and pretty honest. And today, he told it straight: Labour would indeed need to raise taxes. His exchange on Sky News is above, where he says:-
"We believe that we can deal with the deficit through a combination, yes, of some spending cuts and fairer tax changes'
Those tax changes will be the same ones he referred to in January, but are still not spelt out. You don't need a PhD in economics to work out that if Labour does not agree with the Tory plans for spending reform, and it wants to get the government's current spending into surplus, it will need to raise more taxes - and ones it hasn't told us about yet. Thanks to Chris Leslie, this is now confirmed.
The only question is how much Ed Miliband would raise taxes by.
PS As some mention below, several questions about Tory plans hang unanswered. So far Osborne has said (in effect) 'don't worry, we'll shave £12bn off welfare costs then somehow cut faster than I ever had the nerve to in the last five years - not that it'd be me, of course, I'd call in Hammond or something and tell him to get on with it while I waltz off to the foreign office'. So both parties are keeping the whole truth from us.