Sunday, August 09, 2009

Tories demand honesty from selves over VAT

The Sunday Telegraph reports:

The Conservatives are studying plans to increase VAT to 20 per cent if they win power at the next election… The proposal… is being “very actively considered” at the highest level, according to senior shadow ministerial sources.

In response, Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: “As far as I am aware we have absolutely no such plan and I know there have been no such senior level discussions.” Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague added that there were "no plans in existence" to raise VAT.

However, the Conservatives have form on raising VAT after denying any such plans to do so.

Shadow Chancellor George Osborne immediately demanded he come clean about his own plans, accusing himself of “planning to deceive the British public”. He said that this report proved that the Tories “have a secret tax bombshell set to explode under the British people”.

And David Cameron angrily attacked what he described as his own “secret plan to increase VAT”, saying “it’s absolutely clear [I am] planning a VAT bombshell, a VAT bombshell to hit every family in the country”.

The hoo-hah follows a similar kerfuffle last November, when a Treasury document showed that Labour had looked at the option of raising VAT to 18.5%. On that occasion, the Conservatives were very understanding of the difference between considering (and rejecting) a proposal and forming (and concealing) a plan, and they gentlemanly made no lurid political hay at all.

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