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--_...__----. A FIERCE STREET…









BUDGET BULL'S EYES. II (FROM THE BUDGET LEAGUE.) So much misunderstanding is abroad in the minds of certain timorous mortals that II it will be useful to consider in some detail how the Budget affects different classes of people. I To begin with, apart from the tobacco and spirit duties, licensing duties, super- tax, and the increased death duties, the Budget taxes are aimed not at possessions but at windfalls. They are, in fact, nothing more than deferred Income-Tax. Except for these taxes on windfalls and the taxes on intoxicating liquor, Mr. Bal- four, as .representing the Unionist Party, has told us if he were returned to power to- morrow he would make no change in the Budget. Therefore, the death duties, super-tax, and the tobacco duties are bound to remain unaltered whatever the result of the Gene- ral Election. There will be no reduction of such taxes on food as the Tariff Reformers are so fond of denouncing. Therefore, Tariff Reform does not mean cheaper food, for the alternative Budget accepted by Mr. Austen Chamberlain in- cludes fresh taxes on food. Tariff Reform, then, means an increase in the price ¡' of bread. » As the well-informed Voice" at one of i Captain Pretyman's meetings pertinently pointed out, he was the only one at his home who smoked tobacco, while thero were six who ate bread. The Budget taxes are meant to produce money to provide wages for shipbuilders; by means of Old-Age Pensions they in- crease the spending power of the poor with grocers, bakers, drapers, and the manufac- turers of those goods. They also relieve hundreds of, thousands of working men with families to support, who would otherwise have to give out of their earnings money which they could ill afford in order to keep their aged relatives out of the workhouse. The Lords rejected the Budget because it interfered with their luxuries, because there will be less money for game pre- serves and similar things, the like of which the poor never secure save at the risk of finding themselves brought in front of an irate county magnate on a charge of poaching. « The valuation scheme of the Budget will force landowners either to pay their proper proportion of taxes on undeveloped and other land, as well as on their palatial town and country residences, or else they must sell their land to others who will make better use of it. That means more work for builders. Consequently, more money to spend in other directions. Mr. Chamberlain does well to insist that Tariff Reform is the alternative to the ) Budget. We say that it must be made clear to the people of this country that the loaf which in London costs 5id in Berlin costs exactly double, llgl d., and the poor of that city have no alternative but to eat the—to the Briton—nauseating black rye bread, and that at 6|d.—a penny per loaf more 4 than is paid here for white bread. But attention has been so much concen- trated on the land clauses that it is often forgotten there are some points in the Bud- get which are not in the shape of taxes, but art,, relief from taxation. And that sug- gests the question: Why should the middle- class man support the Budget? He has an income ranging, say, from £ 250 to £1,500 a year. He may own a house or two—possibly the house he lives in and another. By careful management he may have saved some little with which he has purchased a few shares. Then the Bud- get comes down on him and says: On this investment you shall pay an extra 2d. in the f,. Such an individual is apt to think that he would gain by a Tory Government. Let us see. His investments bring him in from £ 10 to £ 100 a year. The extra 2d. means Is. 8d. to 16s. 8d. < » ¡ Had there been a Tory Government in power he would have been paying Is. on all I his income, earned and unearned. The Budget says: Earning income is a diffi- cult matter. Receiving profits which you do not work for is easy. The tax on the in- come difficult to obtain shall be reduced to 9d. That on the income easily got shall be increased by 2d." < | It is only necessary to know the income received under each head to calculate the saving made under a Liberal Government. I But there is another relief to which in- sufficient attention is paid. The struggle of the man of the lower middle classes receiv- ing from E200 to EBOO a year, being com- pelled to keep up an appearance equal to the amount of his salary, frequently gives cause for mueh anxious thought. Especially is this the case when there is a large and possibly increasing family to be brought up and educated and given a srort in the world. The Liberal Budget relievos such a parent enormously. It matters not whether the income is earned or unearned. The exemption limit is raised automatically by E10 for each child under twelve years of age. Thus a man with S240 a year and eight children, who under a Tory Budget would have had to pay B4 as Income-Tax, will under the Liberal Budget have to pay nothing -lat all—a welcome relief at a period of the year when expenditure shows an "naccountable tendency to exceed income. -< It is all very well to rail at the Sciper- t,i x. Blif, until his incoree is £ 100 a week, oy which time he -if :J(\ very well en :ler\vr:; that the perio.' he. 1 when he or. ;;ht to be eonieone vise. ox lliat people si. id pay iris taxation •xv him. a middle-class have spoken of L, infrequently owns the horse he lives i i. He need have no ii-ar of being ail.. eked by the undeveloped land tax or th, reversion duty. Of curse, they do not concern him. -if But opponents of the Budget will try to make him believe he will be mulcted in heavy loss if lie desires to sell that house and make a big profit on the price he paid for it, although that profit is partly due to the fact that he has done his share in assist- ing to develop the neighbourhood. Clause 8 of the Finance Bill says: "Be not anxious. No duty shall be paid by you, for you have earned a happy release from imposts which others ought to feel proud to be called upon to pay."

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