Danny Alexander claims Tories 'trying to steal' flagship Lib Dem tax policy

The Treasury Secretary hits out at Tories' attempts to appropriate raise in income tax threshold

Political Editor

The Liberal Democrats have accused the Conservatives of trying to steal their flagship policy for the next general election, to raise the personal tax allowance to £12,500.

In a sign that two Coalition parties are already going their separate ways ahead of the 2015 election, the Lib Dems and Tories are both seeking the credit for the decision to increase the allowance to £10,000 from next April. 

Nick Clegg’s party has already announced plans to include a pledge to raise it to the level of the minimum wage, currently £12,500, in its 2015 election manifesto. Now the Tories are considering an identical promise as they draw up measures to help the low-paid and ensure that “hardworking families” benefit from the economic recovery. The move would also allow David Cameron to answer Labour claims that the Tories are a “party for the rich.”

Tory officials said no decisions have been made on their manifesto but insisted that raising the income tax threshold to £10,000 was “a decision taken by a Conservative Chancellor".

But Danny Alexander, the Lib Dem Chief Treasury Secretary, who is normally a loyal deputy to George Osborne, hit out at the Tories’ move last night. He said: “At every Budget and autumn statement since [2010], Nick Clegg and I have made increasing the personal allowance our number one priority. The same cannot be said of the Tories. Before the election it was inheritance tax cuts for the very wealthy. Then it was reducing the top rate of tax. And at their conference last month it was a tax break for married couples.”

Mr Alexander accused the Tories of claiming that raising the personal allowance to £10,000 was “their idea all along”. He recalled that Mr Cameron told Mr Clegg during one of the TV debates between the party leaders in 2010: “We cannot afford it.”

He insisted: “This is the Government’s income tax policy only because the Lib Dems fought for it.”

Writing on the Lib Dem Voice website, the Lib Dem Treasury minister said: “When it comes to the general election, there will be only one party with a track record of promising tax cuts on the front page of its manifesto and delivering them to the pockets of low and middle income families up and down the country. That is the Liberal Democrats.

“The other parties may try to imitate our policy. But if you’re after the real thing, you need the Lib Dems in government. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery. But on this occasion, it won’t work. My message to the Tories is simple – don’t waste your breath. This is the Lib Dems’ policy and everybody knows it.”

The two Coalition parties may have a similar dispute over the pupil premium, which channels money to schools for children from poor families. The Lib Dems claim they proposed it first,  even though it featured in the Tories’ 2010 manifesto, and were more prepared to back it with hard cash when the Coalition was formed.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Science Teacher

£6720 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: We are currently recr...

Supply teachers needed in Wigan!

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Due to the...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments