Cameron revives 'tax bombshell' ad campaign

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A new version of one of the Conservatives' most famous campaigns will be unveiled today as David Cameron warns that Gordon Brown is planning a £4,000 "tax bombshell" for every British family.

The poster, which helped the Tories to defeat Neil Kinnock's Labour Party in 1992, has been reworked to show a missile wrapped in Christmas paper, to undermine the Prime Minister's tax cuts.

Mr Cameron and George Osborne have been accused of failing to get off the back foot over tax and spending. Last week the Tory leader ditched a promise to match Labour's spending plans in 2010-11 and instead will slow the rate of spending. The party has refused to support the Government's plans for tax cuts funded by increased borrowing, insisting that all measures must be paid for.

The shadow Chancellor must put in the performance of his political career against Mr Darling tomorrow after facing sniping from inside his party that he has been slow to respond to Labour's handling of the economy. But the Tory leadership's opposition to unfunded tax cuts was undermined last night when the former chancellor Ken Clarke backed a reduction in VAT to 15 per cent.

Fuelling the sense that Labour and the Tories are entering a phoney election campaign, vans showing the "tax bombshell" poster will drive around busy shopping areas in central London. And 200,000 leaflets warning that government borrowing will soar to £100bn by 2010 will be handed out at commuter stations and target constituencies.

Mr Osborne said: "However Gordon Brown wraps it up, it's still a Christmas tax bombshell. He is taking the British people for fools if he thinks they can't spot the difference between a tax cut and a tax con."

There is speculation that Mr Cameron is planning a reshuffle to seize the initiative from Labour. Mr Osborne is unlikely to be moved.