Conservative leader David Cameron has attacked the Chancellor’s surprise cut in income tax, suggesting that it is a desperate move by a “man in a deep hole”.
In his Budget response, Cameron said Brown normally saves such cuts for before a general election but due to his current poll status, he has made the move before his leadership election.
Cameron said the Chancellor is finally embracing the Tory leader’s call to share the proceeds of growth with the electorate through tax cuts but he has “taken one tax down but put 99 taxes up”.
Referring to former Treasury permanent secretary Lord Turnbull’s recent comments about Brown, Cameron said the Chancellor had the tendencies of Stalin but the poll ratings of former Labour leader Michael Foot.
Responding to the huge Labour backbench cheers to the income tax cut announcement, Cameron said: “It is a bit like Stalin. They’re cheering him now and he will wipe them out later.”
He added: “He has finally given us a tax cut. He normally does this before a general election but he is in such a deep hole he has had to do it before the leadership election.”
Brown rubbished Tory plans to bring back the married couple’s allowance and add VAT on airline tickets and calls for a new fiscal rule which he says would cut spending by £21bn this year.
LibDem leader Menzies Campbell said the income tax cut was a “cut for the wealthy dressed up as a tax cut for the poor”.
He described it as a Budget of “missed opportunities” and attacked the Chancellor for not doing more to crack down on IHT avoidance measures.
Campbell said: “This Budget was an opportunity to rebalance the tax system in favour of the less wealthy but the Chancellor refused to take it.”