May Refuses to Rule Out Tax Rises Despite Tory Pledge

Theresa May has refused to rule out raising income tax and national insurance despite the Tories “tax lock” pledge in 2015 against increasing the two levies, and VAT.

May claimed to have “absolutely no plans to increase the level of tax”, speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show on Sunday, and said that the Conservatives intend to lower taxes on working families.

But the Prime Minister added: “I don’t want to make specific pledges on taxes unless I’m sure I can deliver on those.”

Speaking later on ITV’s Peston on Sunday, she stated that the party won’t be raising VAT.

The tax-lock pledge, under which the Tories vowed not to increase levies on VAT, income tax and national insurance, formed a central plank of the party’s general election campaign in 2015 along with the “triple lock” promise to protect the state pension.

May signaled that the latter pledge, which keeps pensions rising in line with wages, inflation or by 2.5% — whichever is highest, could also be dropped — potentially to fund more social care.

She asserted that the state pension would continue to rise every year but “exactly how we calculate that rise” would be left for the party’s manifesto.

Chancellor Philip Hammond was forced into a U-turn last month after his proposals for a measure which would have gone against the spirit of the tax-lock pledge, hiking up National Insurance payrolls tax on millions of self-employed people.

May also rejected claims made following Brexit negotiations on Saturday that the Prime Minister was “in a different galaxy” to the rest of the EU on Brexit negotiations, in her interview with Marr.

“I’m not in a different galaxy but what this shows is that there are going to be times when these negotiations are going to be tough; we need strong and stable leadership,” she hit back at Brussels.

 


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