Thursday, 15 November, 2018

May on the back foot over tax rise pledge

Mr Hammond says he wants more flexibility to tackle public finances PAMr Hammond says he wants more flexibility to tackle public finances
Ellis Copeland | 23 April, 2017, 02:11

The Conservatives are "a lower tax party", Theresa May has insisted, amid speculation her party may raise taxes if they win the general election.

"They will have a choice between a Conservative party, which always has been, is and will continue to be a party that believes in lower taxes".

His latest remarks prompted shadow chancellor John McDonnell to claim that the Conservatives were planning a "tax bombshell" if they were returned to power.

In a briefing in Washington on Friday, Hammond said that those 2015 commitments "constrain the ability of the government to manage the economy flexibly".

"At this election, people are going to have a very clear choice".

The Prime Minister insisted the party had always been clear about the need to support people in old age and that pensioners were £1,250 a year better off as a result of actions taken by the Conservatives.

Sir Vince added that Mrs May needed to clarify her taxation plans and how she planned to "fill the Brexit black hole" in the budget.

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In 2015, the Tories had pledged to cut income tax for 30 million people - taking those who earn less than £12,500 out of income tax altogether through increases to personal allowances.

Other measures, such as trying to digitise small business tax records, could also come under pressure, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn saying he would give businesses turning over less than £83,000 a pass on the rules.

"Our tax burdens will not fall on those with low incomes".

Pitching herself as the only viable option for a secure Britain, May said the poll was "the most important election for this country in my lifetime, because this is an election which is about a future for our country".

At the last election, her predecessor David Cameron took votes and seats from the Liberal Democrats by warning of a "coalition of chaos" under Labour if he didn't get a majority. "We will be fighting for every single vote".

The row came after May risked angering traditionalist Conservatives by reaffirming the government's commitment to worldwide aid spending while refusing to guarantee the "triple lock" for pensioners. "It does not seem to make good politics to me".

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