Theresa May has signalled she will ditch David Cameron’s “tax lock” that committed the Conservative Party to not raise VAT, income tax or National Insurance.
The prime minister this morning did rule out raising VAT should she win the election, however she avoided making similar pledges on National Insurance or income tax.
May also hinted she would ditch Cameron’s pensions “triple-lock” method of increasing pensions.
The prime minister told ITV’s Peston on Sunday programme this morning: “We won’t be increasing VAT.”
The standard rate of VAT increased from 17.5%.to 20% in 2011.
Asked about the Conservative Party’s tax plans, May said she wanted “to reduce taxes on working families” but that it was “important we look at that overall burden of taxation”.
May left open the possibility of raising National Insurance or income tax for some people during a lengthy interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme.
“We have absolutely no plans to increase the level of tax but I’m also clear I don’t want to make specific proposals on taxes unless I’m absolutely sure I can deliver on those,” she said.
A Labour source told HuffPost UK: “We designed and executed a hit on May over VAT and it appears to have worked - as she has been bounced her into a VAT commitment - although it is still not far enough so we will be pushing harder.”
John McDonnell has said VAT would not rise under a Labour government. But the shadow chancellor suggested Labour did want to raise taxes on the wealthiest.
He told Peston on Sunday Labour would not increase income tax for “middle and low earners” and would define who fell into these groups in the party’s manifesto.
During her interviews this morning, the prime minister also refused to rule out scrapping the triple-lock on pensions.
The rule, introduced by Cameron in 2012, guarantees that state pensions rise each year by whichever is the highest out of the consumer price index, average earnings or 2.5 per cent.
May told Marr that while the state pension would continue to rise, “exactly how we calculate that rise” would be revealed in the Conservative Party’s manifesto.