Peter Hoskin

What will Tory tax rises look like?

What will Tory tax rises look like?
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As Ben Brogan says in an excellent Telegraph article today, the next government will have to increase taxes.  Although there's plenty of waste in the system, spending cuts alone won't be enough to deal Brown's debt mountain Brown.  So far, the party leaders have avoided saying this - although Ken Clarke's speech yesterday set the ball rolling on the Tory side.  So what might Tory tax rises look like?  ConHome's Tim Montgomerie has prepared a very useful summary of the measures that Team Osborne may be considering:

-- Higher taxes on business are unlikely.  “Business taxation was a no no if you’re trying to strengthen a recovery,” said Clarke yesterday.

-- A brake on all existing Tory tax pledges as reported by the News of the World is more than likely despite denials from CCHQ.

-- Green taxation (kicked into the long grass as an idea during the recession) may be raised without commensurate cuts.

-- VAT up to 20% (that's the tax hike highlighted by Brogan).

-- A big increase in co-payments.  Co-payments were a big idea of David Cameron's Tory leadership bid but little has been heard about them since.  Then he talked about students helping to pay for their university education and motorists helping to pay for roads.  Will charges for certain medical services be one way of a Tory government maintaining NHS spending without plundering other departmental budgets?  I'm only speculating.

There are, of course, some measures in there that will be unpopular with voters - that VAT hike looks like a particularly hard sell.  Which is why the Tories need to do even more to highlight the full horror of their potential inheritance.