Cuts: the callous con trick

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From the letters page of this morning’s Guardian:

Seumas Milne is right that a successful Labour leader will need to appeal to everyone but the rich. To achieve that the candidates must put at the heart of their campaigns the slogan "Fair Taxes, Not Cuts". This will allow a full-blooded challenge to the coalition's increasingly unpopular cuts fetishism.

In our report, Cuts: the callous con trick, Green MP Caroline Lucas, tax expert Richard Murphy and myself document why any reductions in the deficit that are still needed once the economy is in better health can be paid for by fairer taxes, not cuts. It sets out a range of options for changing the tax rules so that more than £40bn in additional taxes could be raised each year. Also virtually unreported is the fact that HM Revenue & Customs are pursuing a programme of job cuts which will ultimately reduce their own staff by 20,000. The candidates should demand that this be reversed in order to tackle tax abuse.

The final step has to be for all the candidates to call for public and private investment in a Green New Deal to make all UK buildings energy efficient. This will generate jobs, business opportunities and safe havens for investors by putting in place the green infrastructure our future economy needs – one that might be steered by the next Labour government.

Colin Hines

Convener, Green New Deal Group

This is the agenda the Labour party needs to adopt.