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PM wrong-foots Labour

Cameron rules out VAT rise if Tories re-elected in May

David CameronDavid Cameron handed business a tax bonus today by revealing that a Tory government would not raise VAT if re-elected.

His announcement during the final Prime Minister’s Questions of the parliament, and Mr Cameron’s 146th, will mean that neither his government, nor a Labour administration will increase VAT.

But he also wrong-footed Labour after shadow chancellor Ed Balls unveiled a freeze on VAT only yesterday in what was presented as a key policy differentiation for the party.

Labour leader Ed Miliband was left licking his wounds after asking the PM if he would rule out a VAT rise under a Tory government.

Mr Cameron replied: “Yes”, before asking Mr Miliband if he would rule out a rise in National Insurance. Mr Miliband failed to give a clear indication of his party’s plans, leaving him to suffer a quick double blow. He did not appear to have been prepared for Mr Cameron to rule out a VAT rise.

Labour MP John Mann accused the PM of “making up policy on the hoof” after Chancellor George Osborne yesterday declined to state his party’s position on VAT.

Businesses will take some comfort from the certainty on VAT which is a key tax, particularly for small firms.

Mr Cameron, riding on the crest of a wave, said Labour had been “taken hostage” by former SNP leader Alex Salmond who yesterday said he would conspire with Labour to keep the Tories out of office.



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