Tories send mixed message on income tax

LONDON • An ally of British Prime Minister Theresa May has said income tax will not rise for higher earners in an apparent new promise to voters less than a week before a national election.

The comments from Defence Minister Michael Fallon to a newspaper, which Mrs May sought to play down, looked like the latest mixed message from the ruling Conservatives, who have seen their popular support fall ahead of the June 8 election.

The Daily Telegraph said it asked Mr Fallon if high earners could be sure their taxes would not go up under a new Conservative government, to which he replied: "Yes. You've seen our record. We're not in the business of punishing people for getting on. On the contrary, we want people to keep more of their earnings."

But Mrs May, asked by reporters whether Mr Fallon's comments meant the Conservatives were shifting their position on tax, said there had been no change. "We've set it out in the manifesto. What people will know when they go to vote on Thursday is that it is the Conservative Party that always has been and is and always will be a low tax party," she said.

Labour said yesterday Mr Fallon's comments showed the Conservatives were protecting higher earners at the expense of the less well-off. "The only guarantee the Tories are prepared to give at this election is to big business and high earners," said Labour's Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 04, 2017, with the headline 'Tories send mixed message on income tax'. Print Edition | Subscribe