Tory Strivers’ Tax will hit 3 million working people

There was only one concrete promise coming out of the Conservative Party Conference this week and it tells you everything you need to know about the Tories.

On Monday George Osborne said his speech was about choices and the choice he has made is now clear.

If they win the election, the Tories will hit 3 million working people on modest incomes by cutting their tax credits, while carrying on with a £3 billion a year tax cut for those earning over £150,000.

Working people who have already seen their wages fall by an average of £1600 a year under the Tories will be left even more badly off.

Nurses, call-centre workers, shop staff, shift workers and teaching assistants will pay the price of George Osborne’s choice. It’s a Strivers’ Tax which will cost a one earner family with two children on £25,000 a year almost £500.

We all know difficult decisions are needed to get the deficit down. But instead of asking those who have the most to make a bigger contribution, George Osborne is targeting striving working families already facing a cost-of-living crisis.

Over 3 million working families who get tax credits will lose out. And over 260,000 of those families live in the 50 most marginal Conservative seats – on average more than 5,000 per constituency.

It’s a £3 billion raid on working people at the same time as a £3 billion tax giveaway for the top 1 per cent. Once again, the Tories have once shown they are the party of a privileged few at the top and the idea that “we are all in this together” is now just another broken promise.

But two days later David Cameron’s speech failed to mention this new policy. He instead tried to pull the wool over people’s eyes with pie-in-the-sky promises of tax cuts in six years’ time.

As David Cameron himself said before the last election, “you can’t talk about tax reduction unless you can show how it is paid for, the public aren’t stupid”.

He was right. But this week a panicking Prime Minister showed he’s going to try and take people for fools. Because four days on from that speech not one Minister has been able to tell us where a single penny of the money to pay for these promises will come from.

There’s now a £7 billion black hole in the Conservatives’ plans. So where will the money come from? Will the Tories raise VAT across the board on families and pensioners again?

George Osborne has failed to publicly rule out another VAT hike and the Tory track record is to always put VAT up after an election. And if it’s not VAT, where is the money going to come from – and which families and public services will pay the price?

It’s no wonder the Conservatives have been so desperate to block my proposal to allow the independent Office for Budget Responsibility to audit the spending and tax plans of the main parties.

Even if we take this week’s promises at face value, David Cameron on his Prime Ministerial salary would be £132 a year better off from his unfunded tax cut, while a family with two kids where both parents work part-time on the minimum wage would be another £538 a year worse off after five more years of the Tories.

Unlike the Tories we will not make promises we cannot keep and cannot afford. So in Labour’s manifesto there will be no proposals for any new spending paid for by additional borrowing. Our economic plan will put growth and jobs centre stage. And we will not make any spending commitments without saying where the money is coming from.

So to save our National Health Service and pay for 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs, we will raise an extra £2.5 billion a year. And we’ve said where the money is coming from – with a mansion tax on properties over £2million, by tackling tax avoidance and with a new levy on tobacco firms.

We will cut taxes for 24 million working people on middle and low incomes with a lower 10p starting rate of tax. And we’ve said how we will pay for that too – by scrapping the so called married couples’ allowance which won’t actually help most married couples or most families.

And we will balance the books as soon as possible in the next Parliament, but do so in a fairer and balanced way. So we will reverse the Tory tax cut for millionaires, stop paying the winter fuel allowance to the richest pensioners, raise child benefit by just one per cent for two years and cut Ministers’ pay by 5 per cent.

The choice is now clear: a Strivers’ Tax on hard working people under the Tories or a costed and funded plan to save our NHS, back working families and build a better Britain with Labour.

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Posted October 4th, 2014 by Ed

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