Letter in Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/jan/06/new-approach-to-economic-justice
Of course Labour must advocate policies promoting growth that will benefit the whole nation (Tory trap could decide election, 29 December), but it would be wrong to pretend public expenditure doesn't have a very important role to achieve that goal. And of course the deficit must be reduced, but not by deep cuts, which lead to a double-dip. A far better way is a jobs and growth strategy that takes people off the dole and into work, increasing Treasury revenues via income tax, national insurance and VAT.
And on the "tax and spend" canard we should aggressively take on the Tories. How can they justify spending £8bn-£10bn a year keeping a million on the dole when the same sum could create half a million jobs? How can they justify printing £75bn to recapitalise the banks that caused the financial crash and not use any to create jobs for its victims? And how can they justify taxing the poorest households with 20% VAT when in the past two years the 1,000 richest UK people increased their wealth by £137bn, yet have hardly been taxed a penny?
We do need a different capitalism based on radical banking reform, massive manufacturing revival, and an overriding commitment to cut unemployment and inequality. Public expenditure isn't the enemy of these objectives: it's a key part of their delivery.
Michael Meacher MP
Labour, Oldham West and Royton