Letwin promises £2bn tax cuts for low-paid workers

The Conservative Party will direct most of its remaining £2.7bn of promised tax cuts at the low paid, Oliver Letwin, the shadow Chancellor, says.

The Conservative Party will direct most of its remaining £2.7bn of promised tax cuts at the low paid, Oliver Letwin, the shadow Chancellor, says.

He told The Independent that the Tories would announce "progressive tax cuts" with a social as well as economic purpose after Gordon Brown delivers his ninth Budget on Wednesday. The move is an attempt to shed the Tories' traditional image as a party that represents the interests of the better-off. The Tories will fight the general election on a firm pledge of £4bn of tax cuts. They have already announced that £1.3bn will be spent on reducing pensioners' council tax bills.

Mr Letwin plans to give priority to taking low-paid workers out of tax. He is also expected to promise that a Tory government would take some people on middle incomes out of the 40p top tax bracket. He may also pledge a higher threshold for inheritance tax but is unlikely to have room to cut stamp duty on house purchases.

The shadow Chancellor said the help for pensioners would benefit those who have least. "That is the same pattern you will find in the remainder of what we announce. It is aimed at people who don't have very much money, are not millionaires, and are working hard and have quite a struggle."

Mr Letwin endorsed a call in The Independent last week by the former shadow cabinet minister John Bercow for the Tories to champion the working poor rather than the rich. He said: "John is absolutely right that we have to recognise the hard work and contribution made by people bringing up families who don't have much money. Both from an economic and social point of view, we are trying to recognise, reward and give incentives to those people, not to open up vast new wealth for the millionaires. We want to make the tax system fairer and simpler. We are aiming at trying to address fairness and not benefit the very rich."

Although Mr Brown's Budget will contain sweeteners for working families with children and pensioners hit by council tax increases, he is expected to resist calls for a giveaway package. Paul Boateng, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said: "Oliver Letwin must tell the British people the truth about where his £35bn of cuts will fall; which schools, which hospitals would close, how many doctors, nurses and teachers he would sack?"

Mr Brown has been examining whether he has scope to reduce stamp duty for new homeowners after warnings that first-time buyers are being priced out of the property market. But the Treasury categorically denied as "nonsense" reports that he would impose capital gains tax of 40 per cent on the profits on house sales.

Sir Digby Jones, director general of the Confederation of British Industry, called on the Chancellor to produce a Budget that contained "boringly, predictably nothing", saying on GMTV: "We don't want him to listen to the siren calls of the Labour backbenchers in marginal constituencies who say, 'Oh Gordon, give it away, I'm stuck here'. We need him to leave well alone."

News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people
News
people
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer Mentor for people who have offended

This is an unpaid volunteer role. : Belong: We are looking for volunteers who ...

English Teacher

£110 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: English Teacher - CaerphillyT...

Cover Supervisor, Folkestone School - full time and part time

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: We have urgent and multiple vaca...

Welsh Speaking German Modern Foreign Languages Teacher

£115 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Full time WLM German Supply T...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?