I would go further, as I demonstrated with this post in December 2005, and include the fall in...
overall taxation and the national debt and lower increases in duties on fuel, alcohol and cigarettes of this Labour government compared to the previous Tories. Here is what I wrote in 2005 - it pretty much all stands the test of time:-
All that matters about tax is the following.The Tories only cut taxes for those earning over £40,000 and paying large amounts of top rate of tax, but increased taxes for everyone else. They also shifted expenditure from the NHS and education and spent it on unemployment and the defence budget. The Tories also increased the national debt. It was a double whammy for the poorest - which is why the Tories tripled inequality and poverty when in power. Labour have redistributed over £100bn to the poorest 20%, without this redistribution, poverty would have continued to explode.
1. The overall tax burden.
2. How it is raised and who has to pay it.
3. What it is used for.
This year (2005) the tax burden is 38.3% of GDP.
The average tax burden since 1997 is 38.4% of GDP.
The average under the Tories from 1979 to 1997 was 40.6% of GDP
Looking at international comparisons our low tax burden is even more stark.
France and Germany have tax burdens of 48% and 44% respectively. They consequently can afford to fund their public services properly.
Virtually every country in Europe has a higher tax burden than us.
This is a quote from the Bruges group (right wing Tory MPs). Even they admit the UK's tax rate is low!
"the UK is quite competitive in Europe with a lower than average tax rate"
Over the last 35 years the tax burden has varied between 36% and 48% of GDP. So we are at historically and internationally low levels of tax.
We hear a lot about Labour tax rises, but here is where Labour have cut taxes;
Labour tax cuts for the individual since 1997.
Income Tax basic rate REDUCED to 22% (now 20%)
VAT on utility Bills REDUCED from 8% to 5%
A Couple with 2 children pay NO net tax until earnings reach £21,000
Pensioners between £1,500 and £2,000 better off
Labour tax cuts for business since 1997
Corporation Tax REDUCED to 30%
(USA 39%, Germany 40%, France 35%)
Small Business rate REDUCED from 23% to 0%
Labour have SUBSTANTIALLY REDUCED the increase in fuel duty.
(over 8 year periods)
UNLEADED PETROL DUTY(Pence per litre)
TORY 1989-1997 17.7 to 40.3 (128% increase)
LABOUR 1997-2005 40.3 to 50.2 (25% increase)
DIESEL DUTY(Pence per litre)
TORY 1989-1997 17.3 to 40.3 (133% increase)
LABOUR 1997-2005 40.3 to 53.3 (32% increase)
Labour have even SUBSTANTIALLY REDUCED the increase in alcohol duty.
BEER DUTY (Pence per pint)
TORY 1989-1997 18.9 to 24.7 (31% increase)
LABOUR 1997-2005 24.7 to 27.9 (13% increase)
WINE DUTY (Pence per 75cl)
TORY 1989-1997 77 to 109 (42% increase)
LABOUR 1997-2005 109 to 123 (13% increase)
SPIRITS DUTY (Pence per 70cl)
TORY 1989-1997 442 to 548 (24% increase)
LABOUR 1997-2005 548 to 548 (NO increase)
IFS excise info
All this but what has happened to borrowing?
National Debt has been REDUCED from 44% of GDP to 32% of GDP.
Source: Institute For Fiscal Studies (pdf)