Tories' 'broken promises' on tax listed by Labour

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The Independent Online
LABOUR is to use a dossier of election tax promises allegedly broken by more than 150 Tory MPs as a platform on which to launch an overhaul of its own taxation policy.

Gordon Brown, shadow Chancellor, said that every time there was a tax rise this year - 10 in all - every Tory MP would be reminded of their promises, contained in personal manifestos at the last election.

In a speech this month, Mr Brown will examine the pros and cons of hypothecation (the earmarking of taxes for particular services), a revamped National Insurance system, the integration of tax and benefits and guidelines for a modern taxation policy.

The speech is based on three principles accepted by the party - no taxation 'for its own sake', that taxes should be linked to the benefits received, and that people should be taxed in the fairest way possible.

Kenneth Clarke, the Chancellor, has admitted that changes in the last two Budgets will add pounds 9 a week to the average weekly tax bill, equivalent to a 7p in the pound increase in the basic rate.

The dossier shows John Blackburn (Dudley West) saying: 'Tax is the dirtiest word to the Conservative philosophy.' Hartley Booth (Finchley & Friern Barnet) said: 'Only we care enough to fund extra public spending on vital services and make tax cuts.'

Gwilym Jones (Cardiff North) said: 'Turning the clock back now with higher taxes will mean less money to spend, more companies closing, more people unemployed. Don't let it happen.'

Mr Brown said: 'With our dossier, people will be reminded that it is not just the Prime Minister and the Chancellor who promised lower taxes and then put them up, but also hundreds of individual Tory MPs who made promises of their own to their constituents.'

The personal manifesto of Michael Portillo, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said: 'High tax and National Insurance would hit those who work harder and do overtime.' Employees' National Insurance contributions were increased by 1 per cent in the March 1993 Budget.

Urban decay and rising crime are in part the result of a massive decline in capital spending by local authorities, Labour said yesterday.

London boroughs and northern authorities have been the biggest losers in the government allocation of money for capital projects, according to a report by Doug Henderson, local government spokesman. The result was crumbling classrooms, run-down estates and 'clapped out' sports centres.

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