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EDITIONS
Budget 2001 Thursday, 8 March, 2001, 18:51 GMT
We will deliver real tax cuts
Shadow chancellor Michael Portillo
Michael Portillo is shadow chancellor and Conservative MP for Kensington & Chelsea.
By the Rt Hon Michael Portillo MP

This Budget was an election Budget. You could tell that because the chancellor talked about tax cuts.

Gordon Brown only ever does that when there's an election around the corner. At all other times, he puts taxes up.


Ours is not only a better approach than Labour's; it's a more honest approach

He has spent the last four years increasing taxes by stealth, imposing 45 stealth taxes since the last election. And given the chance, he would increase taxes again.

It wasn't just an election Budget, it was a dishonest Budget. As ever with Gordon Brown, the small print of the Budget told a different story from the spin, not least with regard to taxation.

The small print

The chancellor told us that he was cutting taxes. Yet hidden away in the small print of the Budget was the revelation that, under this government, the tax burden - the share of our national income that we hand over to the taxman every year - has risen by a staggering 28 billion.

That's an increase in taxation equivalent to 10p on the basic rate of income tax.

The chancellor's figures also showed that he took 8 billion more in tax this year than he said he was going to when he delivered his Budget a year ago.

Far from cutting taxes, this is a chancellor who has put them up.

So what has he given back? You may have heard that the chancellor talked about a cut in income tax for all.

What he didn't dwell on was the size of that cut, and there's a reason why he didn't dwell on it.

The extension of the 10% band trumpeted by Gordon Brown on Budget Day is worth just 69p a week!

Tax rises

And what about the tax rises that are coming in this year? From next month, anyone earning over 28,400 will have to pay up to 2.90 a week more National Insurance.

Everyone who wears glasses will now have to pay VAT on the advice they get from their optician.


Far from cutting taxes, this is a Chancellor who has put them up

Businesses will be faced with a new Energy Tax which the CBI say will 'seriously damage UK competitiveness.'

When the chancellor boasted of having repaid 34 billion of national debt this year, he didn't say that he is planning to increase national debt by 57 billion over the next five years.

Brown's favourite trick

Astoundingly, Gordon Brown also used this Budget to return to his favourite trick of triple-counting the money he said he was spending on health and education.

Instead of telling us how much extra money public services were really getting every year, he totted up all the money he plans to spend over the next three years and pretended that the NHS and schools will get all this money every year.

People who were hoping for real tax cuts in this Budget will have to wait for a Conservative government.

We never forget where the chancellor's money comes from, and that's why we will make 8 billion of savings against Labour's spending plans by our third year in office.

These savings don't affect schools, hospitals or the police, but they will allow us to cut taxes for the hard-working families, pensioners and businesses who are paying too much tax.

We will abolish taxes on savings, take one million pensioners out of tax, cut taxes for families with children and reduce the burden on business.

We have set out the tax cuts we will make and explained how we will pay for them.

Ours is not only a better approach than Labour's; it's a more honest approach as well.


Key stories

Spending and saving

Analysis

AUDIO VIDEO

INTERACT

TALKING POINT
See also:

21 Feb 01 | UK Politics
12 Feb 01 | UK Politics
05 Feb 01 | UK Politics
23 Jan 01 | UK Politics
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