Given his desire to prove that the Conservative Party has “changed” and given the country’s £167bn Budget deficit, you might assume that David Cameron would be offering fewer tax cuts than his predecessor Michael Howard.
In fact, while Howard promised only a modest £4bn in tax cuts at the 2005 election, Cameron’s tax-cut pledges add up to an eyewatering £18.15bn.
Now, you might argue, as some do, that several of these commitments aren’t tax cuts at all. The party’s pledge to cut inheritance tax, for instance, is funded by a corresponding tax rise — a £25,000-a-year levy on non-doms. But it’s the perception that counts, and the party has branded all of these pledges as “tax cuts”.
Thus, on tax at least, there’s no evidence that the Tories are any more progressive now than they were five years ago.
David Cameron‘s tax cuts
The party has pledged to raise the inheritance-tax threshold — currently £325,000 — to £1m for individuals and to £2m for couples.
The Tories would scrap the government’s planned rise in National Insurance for anyone earning under £35,000 and reduce NI by £150 a year for people earning up to £45,400.
Married couple’s tax allowance
This measure would allow an eligible couple to transfer £750 in tax allowances from the higher-earning partner to the lower-earning partner, with couples benefiting by up to £150 a year.
George Osborne has pledged to cut the headline rate of corporation tax from 28 per cent to 25 per cent in the Tories’ emergency Budget.
Cost: £3.5bn a year
David Cameron has promised a permanent rise in the stamp-duty threshold to £250,000 for first-time buyers.
The Tories have pledged to introduce a two-year freeze on English council-tax bills.
Savings and pensioners
The party would abolish the 20 per cent rate paid by basic-rate taxpayers on savings and would raise the tax-free allowance for pensioners by £2,000 to £11,490.
Michael Howard‘s tax cuts
In 2005 the Tories pledged to raise the stamp-duty threshold to £250,000.
Howard pledged to halve council tax for the over-65s.
The Tories pledged to make saving pay by contributing £10 for every £100 set aside by basic-rate and lower-rate taxpayers for their pension.