Boris Johnson used his “chickenfeed” £250,000-per-annum column in the Daily Telegraph today to lobby for lower taxes for millionaires. With Ed Balls pledging a 50p top rate of income tax for those earning more than £150,000, the alumnus of Eton and the Bullingdon Club thundered:
“[Balls and Miliband] don’t understand that our whole economy and society … depends entirely on the willingness of a relatively small number of people to put in the back-breaking hours that will create the companies and drive the innovation that will employ the people whose payrolls yield the taxes that pay for the whole damn caboodle.”
But that’s not all. Boris wants George Osborne’s current top rate cut to 40p:
“Confounded by the recovery, Balls is floundering badly. The Government should open up some more blue water, and cut the top rate back to 40p.”
But what seemed to be missing from the piece was a declaration of interest: Boris is a top rate payer.
As London mayor he earns£143,911. This is topped up with at least £250,000 per year from journalism and other outside interests, bringing his gross annual income to a minimum of £394,000. £244,000 of this will be taxed at the “additional rate” — currently costing him about £109,800.
The exchequer would see an additional £12,200 from Boris if Labour rolled back to Osborne’s old 50p rate. But the mayor’s proposal to reduce it to 40p would save him £12,200.
Doubtless Boris would claim this is a ‘poultry’ sum.
The Tories last night selected Andrea Jenkyns as their candidate to face Ed Balls in Morley and Outwood:
“She has spent over fifteen years in senior management working for multi-national companies, including a stint as International Business Development Manager for an executive management training company”
Her bog-standard candidate CV then takes a turn for the surreal:
“She is also a semi-professional singer, having owned her own record label and recording studio alongside periods as Music Tutor and Musical Director at two Performing Arts Academies.”
Cue weird Kate Bush-esque music video:
The Scrapbook team couldn’t help but be reminded of this:
Unsurprisingly, Cameron’s script for today’s PMQs contained lines on Ed Ball’s anaemic performancein response to the autumn statement:
“I’m surprised the shadow chancellor is shouting again. We learnt last week, like bullies all over the world, he can dish it out but he can’t take it”
The session seemed to show Balls back to his usual robust form, however, leaning towards the dispatch box to wave IFS analysis – showing that working families would be worse off thanks to Osborne — in the prime ministers face. Hi namesake was at it too, with Cameron clearly distracted by interruptions from Ed Miliband:
“I think the leader of the opposition is catching the disease from the shadow chancellor of not being able to keep his mouth shut for five seconds”
Having been accused of diving during a football match with journalists, it seems that Ed Balls will gain more plaudits from hacks playing the piano than playing than playing sport. The shadow chancellor — who passed his grade one piano exam three months ago — was challenged to entertain the media area of Labour conference by by LBC Radio.
The often heated debate on the form that an inquiry into banking practices should take was broken up today by an impromptu display of affection — as Ed Balls blew Kisses across the chamber to Thatcher lookalike Anna Soubry.
Scrapbook wonders what Yvette Cooper will make of the encounter.
It appears that Treasury spinners may have told BBC producers that Danny Alexander would not debate with Ed Balls on Newsnight. With his department stewarding the economy back into recession, Alexander did not engage directly with the shadow chancellor late yesterday — despite being one of the most senior figures in the government with an annual salary of £134,565.
In bizarre scenes, Balls and Alexander were sat opposite each other but never exchanged blows, with the segment split into two seperate interviews with Kirsty Wark.
Danny: if you can’t stand the heat then get back to the Cairngorms National Park press office.
David Cameron is presumably now regretting telling Angela Eagle “Calm down, dear” during heated exchanges on the NHS. Her shadow treasury team colleague Ed Balls was certainly not impressed, repeatedly calling upon the prime minister to apologise.
In a transparent attempt to “win back the wimmin”, Cameron then claimed that Tory MP Sarah Wollaston was a future Commons speaker.
“I have to say to the honourable lady she is a lot better at getting them to shut up than I am. A future speaker in the making.”
Number 10 are attempting to spin this as a “humorous remark”.