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Robert Halfon MP attacks Labour’s “welfare tax”

By Peter Hoskin
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The MP who brought you campaigns on fuel duty and the 10p tax is now speaking out on another issue, although it is related to those other two. Using figures provided by the Treasury, Robert Halfon today points out that a fifth of income tax receipts go towards funding benefits – and he goes on from there to attack Labour for wanting to impose a “welfare tax”. Here’s how he explains it in the Daily Mail:

“These figures from the government show the astonishing amount of tax low earners are paying for welfare benefits.

The Labour party want to impose a further welfare tax on low earners by spending billions more on benefits and oppose every measure the government takes to try to cut low earners’ tax bills.

These figures are why we need to continue to reform welfare urgently.”

This idea of a “welfare tax” is striking for two particular reasons. First, it clarifies what could be one of the most important dividing-lines of the next election – between tax cuts and in-work benefits. Remember when, in PMQs a few months ago, David Cameron said, “I think that the right thing to do is to cut the taxes of people who are in work, rather than taking more in taxes and then redistributing it through tax credits”? Mr Halfon’s point certainly overlaps with that.

And, second, it’s an example of the “compacted doctrines” that Paul Abbott – who works for Mr Halfon – wrote about in his piece on Conservatism and comic books earlier. I won’t spoil Paul’s argument here; suffice to recommend that you read it.


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