Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Class War Won't Win the Election

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Class War Won't Win the Election

Article excerpt

AS THE detail of the Budget sinks in, the figures look ever more daunting. Today it emerged that the Chancellor's growth estimate for the first quarter of this year -- minus 1.6 per cent -- has already been proved wrong: the actual shrinkage was 1.9 per cent. It is clear that the scale of the crisis and the jaw-dropping public debts mark the beginning of a different political era.

There can now be no doubt that the collapse of the public finances will require both deep cuts in frontline services and tax rises after the next election.

The new tax squeeze on high earners is not in itself proof of a return to class warfare. More significant in that respect may be the proposals for new equality legislation from Labour's deputy leader, Harriet Harman.

Ms Harman wants new laws designed to cut class inequalities. She has suggested, for example, that education authorities would be obliged to encourage poorer parents to apply to good schools, and that health authorities would have to target more money at the poor. …

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