Prime Minister David Cameron has promised not to increase VAT if a Conservative government is re-elected.
At the final Prime Minister’s Questions of this Parliament today, Cameron responded to a request from Labour leader Ed Miliband to rule out increasing VAT with a simple: “yes”.
The Prime Minister described the vow as “a clear promise from this side of the house”, but Miliband responded by dismissing the pledge.
“Nobody is going to believe it,” Miliband said. “There’s only one person that’s going to raise taxes on ordinary families and that is him.”
Yesterday, Chancellor George Osborne declined to offer a similar promise in a Treasury select committee hearing on the 2015 Budget.
Asked repeatedly by Labour MP John Mann if he would offer “a cast iron guarantee” against an increase, Osborne said only that such a move is not included in current Conservative plans.
He said: “Our proposals, our spending plans, our policies do not involve tax rises. They don’t therefore involve the VAT rise.”
Labour Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls described Osborne’s reticence to disavow a VAT rise as “letting the cat out of the bag”.
Balls said: “He has repeatedly refused to rule out another VAT rise if the Tories win the election. Five times he was asked to make a cast iron guarantee and five times he failed to do so. It’s now clear that the Tories are planning to raise VAT again.”
The Labour Party also unveiled a new campaign poster earlier this week claiming that the Conservative Party would hike VAT.