Today Labour announces a clear pledge to the British people. The next Labour government will not raise VAT.
VAT is the tax that hits everyone – with the same rate paid by the pensioner as the millionaire. It is the tax that every Tory government in the last forty years has raised. But no Labour government has ever hiked up the main rate of VAT.
So we will not put up VAT. And we will not extend it to food, children's clothes, books, newspapers and public transport fares.
We will make our tax commitments in full in our manifesto. But we are clear that while millionaires have been given a huge tax cut, working people are paying more in tax after the last five years of the Tories.
The Tories can't be trusted when it comes to VAT. Time and time again they have made pre-election promises not to increase VAT or extend its scope, only to break them as soon as they are back in power. They've done it before. They'll do it again.
David Cameron told the British people a few days before the 2010 election that he had "no plans" to raise VAT. The Liberal Democrats promised not to increase VAT, and warned against a Tory "VAT bombshell".
- The Tories and Lib Dems then raised VAT within weeks of the last general election.
- The Tory VAT rise hit the living standards of millions of people. It led to higher prices – helping inflation hit 5.2 per cent when it was raised. And over the last four years it has cost families an average of £1,800, according to the Treasury's own figures
- The Tories are taking the British public for granted
It is typically arrogant of David Cameron to presume a third Tory term in 2020 before the British public have been given the chance to have their say in this election. In the UK it is for the British people and not the Prime Minister to decide who stays in power.
Instead of focusing on themselves, it is time we had a Government focussed on the needs of working families. Another term of this Government would mean working people worse off and the NHS under threat because of their extreme spending plans.
We need a better plan for a better future. We need a Labour government.