During talks with BBC’s Kamal Ahmed, Philip Hammond said that “All chancellors would prefer to have more flexibility in how they manage the economy and how they manage the overall tax burden”.
The statement raised speculations, including the possibility of a tax increase should the party win in the 2017 general elections. This is a contradiction to what the Conservatives promised of no rise in income tax, NIC (National Insurance contributions), or VAT before winning the general election in 2015.
Tory party sources, however, are quick to quash such speculations, saying that what Mr Hammond said should not be perceived as a hint of any plans to increase taxes in their manifesto.
But shadow chancellor John McDonnell is not quick to take their word for it. He even accused the government of “a tax bombshell” should they be re-elected. This is because the chancellor is experiencing budgeting problems following the decision not to increase NIC rates for the self-employed, which resulted in a £2bn budget gap.
“As a result of that there will be tax rises under a Conservative government if they are re-elected”, McDonnell said.
There are also suggestions from the Liberal Democrats that Mrs May plans to hit the “white van man” pockets.
Whether a tax rise is true or not, it is far from welcome.
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