But events since last September’s petrol protests, particularly the immanence of the general election, have forced him to emphasise Labour’s political differences. The ‘E’ word, ‘egalitarianism’, is still forbidden, but Labour traditionalists have been heartened by the way their leaders are now allowing the party to appear committed to the poor and disadvantaged.
Labour simultaneously favours redistribution towards the poor but not redistribution from the better off.
They have got away with it because the Tories have been trying to get attention for their plans rather than focusing on the inconsistencies in Labour’s own policy.
William Hague favours savers and the better-off elderly. Labour’s preferences go in another direction. Its favourites are poorer parents with young children, married or not, and poor pensioners without savings. The muscle is being put into Labour’s schemes by Gordon Brown but Tony Blair is in agreement.
Do these differences mean there is now clear blue water between the main contenders? Some Tories are pinching themselves at the ‘concessions’ made by Michael Portillo, for example on across-the-board cut in income tax.
The Tories have made some big spending promises, not just to match Labour on health and education but also free nursing care for those who need looking after long term.
Both parties are making heroic assumptions about what will happen to the UK economy over the next few years. Both Labour and Tory plans assume growth and resulting increases in public revenues. If growth falters, it would be difficult to pay for existing spending commitments (which the Tories have mostly signed up for) without significantly increased public borrowing.
- David Walker writes for The Guardian.
New growth opportunities in Aberdeen, North East Scotland, are being invested in by Grant Thornton
If businesses do not take cyber security seriously in their business planning regulators may do it for them, the ICAEW has warned
The Financial Reporting Council has issued guidance regarding the annual reporting of 1,200 large and smaller listed companies. The letter highlighted the key issues and improvements that can be made in the 2016 reporting season
Deloitte's north-west Europe foray; BDO, Smith & Williamson investment paths; Shelley Stock Hutter; and Wilkins Kennedy discussed by editor Kevin Reed on our Friday Afternoon Live broadcast