Last Saturday I agreed to debate tax cuts later in the evening with Danny Alexander on Five Live for about half an hour. As the evening wore on before the interview I was told it would be David Laws. He pulled out with a couple of minutes to spare. The BBC gave me a shorter interview as a result with no Lib Dem present to argue the case.
All that was most curious. It was the Saturday of the Lib Dem conference. Their big spin of the day was their gift of a higher tax threshold to the UK. Their false claim was the Conservatives did not want such a tax cut. Such a pity they would not come on and debate that question.
I do find the lie that we Conservatives did not want a tax cut almost unbelievable. A Conservative Chancellor has raised the tax threshold several times as a way of cutting taxes. Conservative MPs have voted for that tax cut. I do not recall any Conservative MP arguing against it or refusing to vote for it. I do recall many Conservative MPs voting against and speaking against EU matters which the Lib Dems and the system thrust upon us and whipped us to vote for, so it is not because we were whipped to vote for the tax cut that we voted for it.
Some Conservatives think raising the tax threshold is the best way to cut Income tax. Others think there may be better ways but will support raising the threshold if that is the only tax cut the Lib Dems will accept. Most other tax cuts have been blocked or argued against by the Lib Dems, including energy tax cuts.
Conservatives have wanted other tax cuts as well. Many of us think people at all levels of income are paying too much Income Tax, save for the rich who pay less than they might because the rate is uncompetitive. We also think energy taxes, capital gains and IHT are all too high, but the tax raising Lib Dems do not agree and will not support action. The Lib Dems are always going on about raising taxes, and want a Mansion or London flats tax.
It’s most odd that the Lib Dems argue for higher taxes most of the time, spin they fought through a tax cut against the Conservatives, then will not turn up to hear their assertion questioned.
What would you like to see in the budget?