الثلاثاء , يونيو 9 2020

Parties clash over tax allowance

David Laws and George Osborne

Liberal Democrat minister David Laws has accused the Conservatives of “unbelievable cheek” in taking credit for personal tax allowance rises.

Mr Laws, a former chief secretary to the Treasury, said the prime minister and chancellor had failed to push for the move in talks with Lib Dems.

His party will spell out plans to “go further and faster” in increasing the allowance in the coming days, he said.

George Osborne said raising the level was one of his “big tax commitments”.

The chancellor also said he had no plans to cut the higher tax rate – but refused to completely rule out the move.

Chris Leslie, Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, criticised the chancellor’s refusal to rule out a cut.

In other election news:

  • David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg highlighted the persecution of Christians in their Easter messages
  • Leaked notes suggest Ed Miliband hoped to present himself as a “happy warrior” in the televised leaders’ debate
  • A Whitehall inquiry has begun into the leak of a memo suggesting SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon would prefer the Conservatives to win the election – a claim she fiercely denies

‘Further and faster’

The tax-free personal allowance is to rise from £10,600 in 2015-6 to £10,800 in 2016-7 and £11,000 in 2017-8.

Mr Laws told Pienaar’s Politics on BBC Radio 5 live that was down to his party.

“What I can tell you is that there hasn’t been a single Budget or Autumn Statement in this parliament where the prime minister or the chancellor have ever made this a Conservative ask,” he said.

“The discussion they’ve had with Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander have always been on the basis that it’s the Lib Dems pushing for this and it’s the Conservatives pressing other policies which usually don’t help those people on low and middle incomes.”

The schools minister also told the programme his party would spell out further plans on the issue in the coming days.

“The Lib Dems left to our own devices, or putting our position in coalition talks, will want to go a lot further and faster than the measures set out in the Budget recently to help those people on low and middle incomes,” he said.

‘Big commitments’

Mr Osborne, meanwhile, told Sky News’ Murnaghan programme he had no plans to further cut the higher rate of income tax from 45p to 40p.

“That’s not our plan,” he said.

Asked if he would explicitly rule the move out, the chancellor replied: “You can judge us by what we say we want to do. And what we want to do is increase the tax-free personal allowance to £12,500 so people full-time on the minimum wage don’t have to pay income tax and millions of people are better off.

“And when it comes to higher-rate tax payers, our priority is increasing the threshold at which you pay that higher rate to £50,000.

“Those are our big tax commitments for the coming Parliament.”

When asked later of he would cut the top rate of tax, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “It’s not our policy. It’s not our plan.

“Our plan is to raise to £12,500 the basic rate threshold, so that we take another million people out of income tax altogether and cut tax for 30 million people. That’s the plan.”

But Mr Leslie said: “Asked four times, George Osborne repeatedly refused to rule out another top-rate tax cut for millionaires.

“The Tories have raised taxes for millions but cut them for millionaires. And it’s now clear that if they win the election they’ll do the same again.”

Subscribe to the BBC Election 2015 newsletter to get a round-up of the day’s campaign news sent to your inbox every weekday afternoon.

شاهد أيضاً

COPTIC SOLIDARITY LAUNCHES URGENT CALL TO END CRIME OF FORCED DISAPPEARANCE OF COPTIC WOMEN IN EGYPT

A Coptic woman, Ranya Abd al-Masih (“servant of Christ”), 39, disappeared in Egypt on April 22, 2020, …