James O'Brien: How Can Rich Pay Less Tax While Emergency Workers Get Pay Cuts?
28 June 2017, 10:46
James O'Brien asks how anyone thought it was fair that emergency workers' pay was capped while the richest got tax cuts.
Jeremy Corbyn is urging Conservative MPs to vote to end cuts to emergency services and the public sector pay freeze.
Labour has tabled an amendment to the Queen's Speech - the first vote in the Commons of this parliament.
And as James spelt out the situation, he wondered how we ever got ourselves into this position.
Speaking on his LBC show, James said: "When we look back on this, we'll wonder quite what happened to us, how we managed to get conditioned into a position where even the very suggestion that you plug a gap in public finances by simutaneously cutting the top rate of income tax and capping below inflation the pay rises available to, to me, the most valuable members of our society.
"I don't think I'm being a hypocrit. I get paid several times more than the average firefighter does, or the average police officer or indeed the average teacher. I make no bones about that.
"It's why I'm one of the weird but growing breed of people who think that tax system should be redrawn to take a little bit more money off the people at the top and a little bit less off the people lower down.
"That's champagne socialism, because I've got a few quid. If I didn't have any money, that would of course be the politics of envy. Because nobody's allowed to question this fetishisation of profit. Nobody's allowed to query the fundamental fairness of a system that really was built upon those twin economic policies back in 2010.
"A cut in the top rate of income tax for the highest earners in the country and a pay cap below inflation, which means pay cuts, in consecutive years where inflation is anywhere above 1%, every year that inflation is above 1%, your children's teachers get a pay cut. Every year that inflation is above 1%, your children's doctor gets a pay cut, your nurse, your mum's carer, if it's in the public sector.
"Every single year that inflation is above 1%, the firefighters that went into Grenfell Tower two weeks ago today had a reduction in their pay.
"Every single year that inflation is above 1%, the police officers who run towards the terrorists while the rest of us are running away, they got a reduction in their pay."