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13 April 2010

Cameron promises more tax cuts than Howard in 2005

Leader pledges billions more in tax cuts than the Tories did in 2005.

By George Eaton

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.

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David Cameron‘s tax cuts

Inheritance tax

The party has pledged to raise the inheritance-tax threshold — currently £325,000 — to £1m for individuals and to £2m for couples.

Cost: £3.1bn

National Insurance

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.

Cost: £5.6bn

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.

Cost: £550m

Corporation tax

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

Stamp duty

David Cameron has promised a permanent rise in the stamp-duty threshold to £250,000 for first-time buyers.

Cost: £400m

Council tax

The Tories have pledged to introduce a two-year freeze on English council-tax bills.

Cost: £1bn

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.

Cost: £4bn

Total: £18.15bn

Michael Howard‘s tax cuts

Stamp duty

In 2005 the Tories pledged to raise the stamp-duty threshold to £250,000.

Cost: £1bn

Council tax

Howard pledged to halve council tax for the over-65s.

Cost: £1.3bn

Pensions

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.

Cost: £1.7bn

Total: £4bn

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