Howard: tax cuts are not enough

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Indy Politics

Michael Howard will today intervene in the Conservative leadership race for the first time, declaring that dramatic tax cuts are not an automatic passport to victory at the polls.

Mr Howard, who was criticised by some in his party for failing to offer more ambitious tax cuts in the general election, will admit the Conservatives are split over tax. But in a speech to the Centre for Policy Studies, he will insist that tax cuts alone will not return the party to power.

He will say a policy of deep tax cuts would take four years to explain fully to the electorate. "Is it really prudent of credible to commit to deep cuts in taxation so far in advance?"

The speech is likely to be seen as a warning shot to the right wing, which has argued for deep tax cuts as a route to electoral success.

He will say: "I believe there is more to Conservatism than just tax cuts; an intense pride in nationhood, an understanding of the fundamental importance of personal responsibility in a civilised society, a sense of duty to others and to one's community, an overwhelming optimism about man's ability to improve the human condition, and a belief in free enterprise as the engine of progress."