The Tory leader used the last question time of this parliamentary session to accuse Tony Blair of a "new corruption of politics in this country" by refusing to admit to the tax rises. But the Prime Minister insisted that the tax burden next year would be less than if the Tories had stayed in power.
Mr Hague said that phasing out the married couple's tax allowance from next April would hit thousands of future pensioners, who he said would pay up to pounds 500 a year more in tax. He added that relief for charities announced in the pre-Budget report would be more than cancelled out by the pounds 400mextra "stealth" tax that charities had to pay as a result of the loss of dividend tax credits.
Mr Blair said: "The married couple's allowance is actually being kept for pensioners. As a result of all the changes we've made, in particular taking pensioners out of tax, people ... are going to be better off."