Steerpike

Fact check: are the Tories cutting taxes?

Fact check: are the Tories cutting taxes?
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Ping! No, not the dreaded Covid app but rather another beseeching email from CCHQ, begging money for Tory funds. Reading through the party-politicking, Mr S was curious to see that among the party's list of achievements was the claim that 'we're delivering what the British people voted for' by 'cutting taxes for hardworking people.' 

An intriguing boast, given that Rishi Sunak is hiking National Insurance, which applies to all employees including those on minimum wage, by an effective 2.5 per cent – despite the Conservative Party's pledge in 2019 that 'we will not raise the rate of income tax, VAT or National Insurance.' Corporation tax has been raised to 25 per cent from 2023 while Air Passenger Duty on long-haul flights was increased in last month's Budget.

The personal income tax allowance has been frozen while the cut in the taper rate for Universal Credit applies to just a tiny subset of people on benefits. Unsurprisingly, when Steerpike asked CCHQ for any evidence or supporting statement to the claim that the party had cut taxes, no answer was henceforth coming.

The email Steerpike received this morning

For as research by the Taxpayers' Alliance (TPA) helpfully points out, following Rishi Sunak's most recent Budget the tax burden is now scheduled to reach a 73 year-high, with the level of taxation as a percentage of GDP under Boris Johnson now higher than it has been since the days of Clement Attlee's post-war siege economy.

Danielle Boxall of the TPA told Mr S: 'CCHQ must be living in a different world if that's what they call tax cuts. By the time of the next election, the sustained tax burden is set to be the highest it's been since the country was recovering from the Second World War.' She added that since the party came to power under David Cameron in 2010 there were more than 1,000 tax rises in 10 years.

Source: Taxpayers' Alliance

As an aside, it's worth remembering what the British people actually voted for in 2019. According to the party's manifesto, the Tories pledged to 'proudly maintain our commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of GNI on development' (they didn't), 'keep the triple lock' (they didn't) and build the 'Northern Powerhouse Rail between Leeds and Manchester' (they won't). 

And when Boris Johnson launched the manifesto he claimed 'We will not be cutting our armed services in any form. We will be maintaining the size of our armed services' – something contradicted in March when Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, confirmed the Army will be shrunk by a further 10,000 troops.

Still, perhaps all that wouldn't fit into a pithy party-fundraising email eh?

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk or message @MrSteerpike

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