Church agency says Brown is 'Robin Hood in reverse'

By staff writers
April 9, 2008

Church Action on Poverty has called on the Government to reconsider changes in the last Budget which have increased tax for the poorest families.

The Institute of Fiscal Studies has claimed that the income tax changes announced in Gordon Brown’s last Budget, which took effect on 6 April, will leave around 5.3 million families earning between £5,400 and £18,500 a year worse off.

But Gordon Brown has so far refused to bow to pressure from MPs and opposition parties to reverse the recent abolition of the 10p starting rate of tax, declaring that he "will not play to the gallery" on the issue.

Defending his decision, the prime minister told the BBC that removing the 10p tax band – introduced in his last budget as chancellor last year – was one of a package of measures in which, as a whole, low-income earners "were the biggest beneficiaries".

But Niall Cooper, CAP National Coordinator, said: “It is immoral and wrong for the Government to increase taxes on the lowest paid, whilst those on much higher salaries benefit from the cut in the basic rate of tax. This is a Robin Hood policy in reverse – robbing from the poor to reward the rich.

“Church Action on Poverty calls on the Government to look again at this decision and to find ways to ensure that no one loses out. There is a moral obligation on Government to protect families who are already struggling to make ends meet – not to make life harder for them.”

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