… and hold onto your hats: It’s one of ours!
No sooner have I written a post slagging off the policy-free zone that is Labour than I look at the Guardian website and see this story:
Brown to close private equity loophole
Deborah Summers, politics editor
Wednesday September 26, 2007
The government will close a tax loophole that allows fat-cat bosses to pay less tax than their office cleaners, Gordon Brown said today.
The prime minister vowed to take action on private equity chiefs in the pre-budget report later this year.
During a wide-ranging question-and-answer session with Mariella Frostrup, the TV and radio presenter, at the Labour party conference in Bournemouth, Mr Brown said: “Whenever there is a loophole that shouldn’t exist we take action. Since 1997 we have closed a massive number.
“Sometimes it is very difficult to do so because you have lawyers and accountants who are always trying to find these loopholes.
“But on this issue of private equity I can assure you that we will do so.”
Private equity firms have been criticised for buying up some of the UK’s best-known companies, stripping their assets and cutting jobs.
They also have been accused of using loopholes to pay too little tax, with the rate sometimes as low as 10%.
Mr Brown added: “We will deal with the issue when it comes to the pre-budget report.”
There is more to the story, by the way, I have stopped where the substance stops; the rest is a fawning reproduction of a bit of personality guff from Brown.
So there you have it, folks, the first even slightly meaningful announcement to have come out of this conference, and it’s a Lib Dem policy, announced using the exact same phrases we were using to argue for it (“a tax loophole that allows fat-cat bosses to pay less tax than their office cleaners” sound familiar?).
Needless to say, there is, as yet, not a mention of the Lib Dems in the Guardian’s story.