James Forsyth

Cameron neglects to mention his tax cut for the middle classes

Cameron neglects to mention his tax cut for the middle classes
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David Cameron’s interview in the Telegraph this morning is striking for three reasons.

First, despite the interview appearing on the day of the Labour leadership declaration, there’s no attempt to bring the hammer down on the new Labour leader. All we get is some framing on the deficit. Next, as Paul Goodman notes, it is an attempt to reassure the Tory faithful after the Lib Dem conference Vince Cable is gently put back in his box with the line ‘Vince is Vince’. Cameron also stresses that he ‘will always safeguard our nuclear deterrent’; a line that is very different from the nakedly political discussions of Trident in Liverpool, where what seemed matter to most was making life difficult for Labour.

Judging by its tone, I suspect that a post Lib Dem conference Cameron interview will become an annual fixture. An addition to our political calendar required by this age of coalition.

But what is most striking to me is how Cameron drops hints about easing the tax burden without making a big deal out of the fact that the coalition has already moved to ease the tax burden on anyone earning less than £43,000 a year by raising the personal allowance for basic rate taxpayers by a thousand pounds to £7,475 in the Budget.  This is the equivalent of a £200 tax cut for anyone who earns more than that.

£200 might not be a massive amount but it is something. But the coalition seems oddly reluctant to talk about it. The Lib Dems only want to talk about the low-earners that are taken out of tax altogether by this increase in the threshold. The Tories don’t shout about it either. But they’d be well advised to do so. The middle class needs to know that the government is doing something for it.