One can see the politics behind this, the Tories won’t commit to ruling out an increase in VAT—indeed, I’d be shocked if they didn’t take it to twenty percent in their first Budget—so Labour will claim that while as Labour will place the extra tax burden on the rich the Tories will put it on everyone. This is, obviously, not actually accurate. Labour’s national insurance hike hits everyone who earns over twenty thousand pounds and Labour’s taxes on the rich are already at the point where they become self-defeating.
But something else strikes me. If Labour is going to ring fence the NHS frontline, schools, sure start, policing and international development, keep other budgets ‘pretty much flat’ and not raise VAT for the whole of the next parliament then where on earth is the money to pay down the debt going to come from? The more you hear about Labour’s spending plans, the more you worry about what could happen to the country’s credit rating if Labour wins again.