MP to press for tax cuts

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The Independent Online

Chief Political Correspondent

The British defence attache in Barbados is on the list of cuts to be urged on the Government today by John Townend, the chairman of the Tory backbench finance committee, to pay for pounds 7bn in tax cuts.

It follows the warning last night by William Waldegrave, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, to the committee that there would be tough decisions on spending cuts announced in the Budget. Senior Tory backbenchers emerged from the meeting convinced that Kenneth Clarke, the Chancellor, is planning to cut at least 1p in the pound off the basic rate, in a package of tax cuts worth between pounds 3bn and pounds 4bn.

Mr Waldegrave gave an upbeat assessment of the economy, in spite of doubts, reported in the Independent yesterday, by the Chancellor's economic advisers about the wisdom of tax cuts.

Mr Townend, a member of the Thatcherite 92 Group, will also question the need to keep the British Army in Germany. And he will criticise the generosity of the social security system for unmarried mothers. His agenda for a further pounds 7bn cut in taxes next year will be unveiled at a meeting of the Conservative Students Association at York University.