Theresa May Refuses To Rule Out Tax Rises Post-Election

Theresa May
Jack Hill - WPA Pool/Getty

Prime Minister Theresa May has refused to rule out tax rises or to stand by the pensions “triple lock” if her government is returned to power on June 8th.

LBC host Nick Ferrari quizzed the prime minister on the so-called triple lock which currently ensures the state pension must rise in line with average earnings, inflation, or by 2.5 per cent – whichever is highest – in a live studio interview.

Mrs. May would not commit to the mechanism, but did insist that “pensions will continue to go up under a Conservative government”. She added: “How we calculate that will be in our manifesto” – which has not yet been released.

Ferrari also pressed the prime minister to say whether she would increase taxes in order to “get the cash” necessary to deliver her policies, to which she responded: “No, what we want to do is to be able to actually reduce taxes on working families.”

Asked if that meant she was going to put taxes up “for those earning more money”, the prime minister said, as a party, the Conservatives were in favour of low taxes, but would not answer directly.

Pressed again on whether or not she would put taxes up, she said the party had “no plans to increase the level of tax”, but declined on two occasions to confirm she would guarantee this for a full term of office.

The failure of the Prime Minister to rule out tax rises under a new government after June’s General Election comes after a similar interview in April when she refused to rule out raising income tax, the national insurance contributions taken out of employees’ paychecks., and VAT.

The Conservative chancellor Philip Hammond also hinted that tax rises may be coming in April.

Mrs May was at pains to point out that, under the last Labour Government, there was a year in which the state pension was increased by just 75 pence, and to accuse Labour of having pro-tax instincts.

The prime minister made similar comments about the Opposition when asked why she would not repeat the 2015 manifesto pledge not to put up income tax, VAT, or National Insurance, at an April 22nd campaign event, insisting that hers was the party of “lower taxes” and Labour the party of “higher taxes”.

Brexit campaign leader and former UKIP chief Nigel Farage told listeners to his own LBC show the implications of the prime minister’s words were clear.

“Nick Ferrari pushed her again and again: ‘Are you going to raise taxes?’ and she answers: ‘We have no plans to raise taxes’,” he said.

“You know that means at some point she can raise taxes and say: ‘Look I never, ever lied to the British public’.”

Follow Jack Montgomery on Twitter: @JackBMontgomery

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