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Philip Hammond reminds Labour of its promises on tax

Philip Hammond MP: "In case anyone has forgotten, Labour’s 1997 election manifesto—that unfulfilled promissory note—promised, among many things, that Labour would

“establish a new trust on tax with the British people.”

That was before the term “stealth tax” had even been invented. The manifesto continued:

“Our long-term objective is a lower starting rate of income tax of ten pence in the pound. Reducing the high marginal rates at the bottom end of the earning scale...is not only fair but desirable to encourage employment. This goal will benefit the many, not the few.”

So said the 1997 manifesto, on which Labour Members sitting opposite were elected.

That long-term objective was achieved in 1999, and was hailed by the then Chancellor, who said:

“The new 10p rate—the lowest starting rate of tax in Britain for more than 35 years—will make work pay and help people, especially those who are low-paid, to keep more of the money that they earn...As a result...1.8 million low-paid workers will see their tax bills halved...a gain of up to £150 a year.”

That was what the then Chancellor said in April 1999. He concluded:

“When we make promises, we keep them.”

Today, 5.3 million low-income households know that he does not keep his promises. The income tax burden of some of them will double because, by 2007, the long-term objective had apparently outlived its political usefulness, and the low-income households that had benefited from it were betrayed by the Prime Minister. What price now his moral compass?"


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