Conservatives ‘no plan to raise income tax’ – BBC News

Foeign Secretary Boris Johnson has said the Conservatives have “absolutely no plans to raise income tax”, in an apparent change of policy.

Prime Minister Theresa May scrapped her party’s 2015 commitment not to raise VAT, National Insurance or income tax, the so-called “triple lock”.

Mr Johnson signalled an apparent change of direction during an interview with the BBC’s Newsnight programme.

But a Conservative Party spokesman said it was neither a pledge nor a promise.

When questioned by Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis about whether this would become a pledge, Mr Johnson said: “We will bear down on taxation and we have absolutely no plans to raise income tax.

“Our plans are to cut taxes. Labour’s plans are to put them up.”

It comes after Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon told the Daily Telegraph that high earners had nothing to worry about when it came to income tax.

“You’ve seen our record. We’re not in the business of punishing people for getting on, on the contrary we want people to keep more of their earnings,” he added.

At the 2015 general election, David Cameron promised that income tax, National Insurance, and VAT would not go up under a Conservative government.

That promise lead to a U-turn earlier this year when Mrs May’s government had to ditch plans to raise National Insurance contributions for the self-employed.

The 2017 Conservative manifesto only promises not to raise VAT.

Under the plans, the Tories have pledged to increase the personal allowance to 12,500 and raise the minimum earnings for the 40p higher rate to 50,000 by 2020.

But Sir Michael appeared to go further in his Telegraph interview.

Asked whether high earners could confidently vote Conservative, safe in the knowledge their income tax wouldn’t go up, he told the paper “Yes”.

A Conservative spokesman said it was the party’s aim to reduce taxes across the board.

BBC political correspondent Gary O’Donoghue said Theresa May had been keen not to box herself in too much when it came to promises on taxation, but the party may now feel it has to send some signals to ensure its supporters turn out in numbers.

What are the other parties pledging?

Labour has promised to raise the income tax rate to 45p for earnings above 80,000 and to 50p for each pound earned over 123,000.

It says it will not raise income tax for those earning less than 80,000.

It says the planned rises for higher earners will help fund billions of pounds of investment for schools and the NHS and an expansion of free childcare, in what it calls a “programme of hope”.

Meanwhile the Liberal Democrats have pledged to increase income tax by a penny to help pay for the NHS, social care and mental health.

The SNP says it would support the idea of raising the top rate of income tax for those earning more than 150,000 from 45p to 50p.

It says there would be no increase in taxation on the low paid, in national insurance or in VAT.

Whereas, the Green Party wants to implement a wealth tax on the top 1% of earners and introduce a “Robin Hood” tax on financial transactions.

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