While UKIP leader Mr Farage appears to be a charismatic political figure whose policies on immigration and the EU have so far struck the right note with a lot of people, I don’t think UKIP’s view on the economy will make much difference if the recent letter by MEP Derek Clark (Free Press, March 26) is anything to go by.
The scale of our economic problems is enormous as the government continues to borrow more despite spending cuts.
Also, tax revenues show no sign of improving, and why should they when consumer confidence is so low? Where did it all go so wrong?
Well, even when we consider the damage done by the near collapse of the banking system in 2007 we are still left with the damage done by local councils and government during the last decade when in defiance of common sense these bodies doubled our regressive council taxes.
Also, during the same period, government allowed our utility bills to double, unchecked by regulatory control.
Now we have a situation where consumer confidence is so low it is hampering recovery.
It seems to me that in 2014-2015, when the government will need to borrow £70bn just to cover the interest payments on sums already borrowed, we will be lucky if we escape a doomsday economic scenario.
I would not rule out a Cypriot-style bank raid in the future if things continue to get worse. In my view, it is not all doom and gloom if more radical measures are employed to halt the slump.
If we restore consumer confidence then business confidence will follow, improving employment prospects, thus increasing tax revenues and reducing government borrowing.
I suggest the following: cut VAT to ten per cent – this regressive tax punishes the low paid and poor and puts a brake on spending.
Increasing the tax threshold for all workers to £15k will give many hard-working families more disposable income while persuading some others that work is a better option than reliance on benefits.
However, before we even think of cutting the benefits of genuine claimants, we will need to pay stricter attention to our foreign aid budget and to institutions and individuals pursuing tax evasion and tax avoidance.
I believe these measures are urgently needed now to get this economy out of serious trouble.
On that basis, I’ll happily support any party that comes up with an equally credible fiscal policy and a common sense approach to our problems, even UKIP.