Reasons for Lords Rejecting 1909 Budget

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The main reason why the Lords rejected the 1909 budget was that it would have effected them directly. The proposed new taxes were directed almost solely at the rich, such as increased income taxes on incomes over £3000 p/a and a new super tax for incomes over £5000 p/a. As the Lords’ membership was hereditary, peers were all from wealthy, upper-class backgrounds. Therefore, these taxes wold have reduced their own income – and obviously, they were opposed to this. Furthermore, proposed indirect taxes on luxury goods such as motor cars and petrol would have affected the Lords as they were among the few rich enough to afford such luxuries. The Lords set up a budget protest league and denounced the budget as “confiscation and robbery”, and breaking with convention overwhelmingly vetoed the budget. A less important reason was that the Lords believed the budget amounted to a social revolution. They were worried by the idea of progressive and redistributive taxation which taxes the rich more heavily. They feared once these principles were established they could be extended to ‘soak the rich’ and even out the unfair distribution of wealth in Edwardian Britain. The land taxes were especially controversial, as they would not actually produce a great deal of tax revenue. The Lords denounced this proposal as a ‘class war’. The Lords believed it was their duty to restrain governments from making sweeping changes the electorate had not voted on. A final less important reason was that the Lords believed that it was the fault of the poor that they were destitute in the first place. They believed there was no reason why they should be let off more lightly and have to pay less taxes when it was their own fault for being in that position in the first place. They argued there were other ways to raise money that wouldn’t affect the rich as much, such as through tariffs on foreign
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