Theresa May has refused to rule out increasing taxes if the Conservatives win the General Election.
The Prime Minister said it was her “firm intention” to reduce taxes for “ordinary working families” but she did not go as far as fellow senior Tories, who said that income taxes “will not rise” if their party remains in power.
The claim, made by both Sir Michael Fallon and Boris Johnson, comes despite the fact the Conservative manifesto failed to rule out increasing taxes on peoples earnings after ditching former Prime Minister David Cameron’s ‘triple tax-lock’ pledge.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Sir Michael made it clear that income tax “absolutely” will not rise under a new Conservative government.
However when asked at a campaign event in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire on Saturday morning whether she would “categorically” not raise income tax, Mrs May responded: “Our position on tax hasn’t changed. We’ve set that out in the manifesto.
“What people will know when they go to vote on Thursday is that it’s the Conservative Party that always has been, is and always will be a low tax party and it’s our firm intention to reduce taxes for ordinary working families.
“We’ve committed in our manifesto to continuing to raise the personal allowance to £12,500 and to raise the 40% threshold up to £50,000.
“So the choice is very simple for people on Thursday, which is a Conservative Party that has always believed in lower taxes or a Labour Party that we know will mean higher taxes for all and ordinary working people paying the price.”
In their manifesto, Labour have promised there will be no income tax rises for those earning below £80,000 a year.
But leader Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to reintroduce the 50p tax rate on earnings above £123,000 while also increasing corporation tax to 26% by 2022.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has also ruled out raising VAT and National Insurance contributions over the course of the next five-year parliament.
When asked whether she was going to hike up National Insurance contributions, Mrs May replied: “I’ve been very clear in the first answer I gave. Our plans in tax have been set out in the manifesto.
“We are a party that believes in low taxes. It’s our firm intention to reduce taxes on ordinary working families.
“When people come to vote they know they have a choice between a Conservative Party that always has been, is and always will be a party that believes in lower taxes and a Labour Party whose manifesto we know will cost ordinary working people.”
For Labour, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Sir Michael’s comments showed the Tories were the party for “the few, not the many”.
“The mask has finally slipped,” he said.
“The only guarantee the Tories are prepared to give at this election is to big business and high earners while low and middle income earners have seen no guarantee from Theresa May that their taxes won’t be raised and pensioners are left to worry about whether they will be able to heat their homes or even keep their homes, with no clarity on cuts to winter fuel payments or the dementia tax.”
For the Liberal Democrats, former business secretary Sir Vince Cable said: “Michael Fallon’s comments raise the obvious question as to where the Conservatives will raise the money that their Chancellor knows will be needed if promised funding for schools, the NHS, the police and defence is to materialise.
“Since they are ruling out increases in income, corporate tax and VAT we must assume that there will be an increase in national insurance and in various ‘stealth taxes’ yet to be specified. It undoubtedly raises suspicions.”