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1992 - Mr Major’s Labour Tax Bombshell Statement

Below is the text of the Conservative Party Press Release, ref 17/92, following a statement by John Major on 7th January 1992.


PRIME MINISTER:

LABOUR'S TAX BOMBSHELL

Speaking to a meeting of Party workers in Newcastle today, the Rt Hon John Major MP (Huntingdon), Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party said:

"We have a clear message for the electorate at the next General Election: there is only one Party in Britain which believes in lower taxation and that is the Conservative Party. This century the Labour Party has been in Government for a total of 20 years. In only three of those years did they reduce the basic rate of tax. One of those was at the end of the war, when we returned to peace-time finance. One was when we and the other Parties forced them to do so by beating them in the House of Commons. And the third was when the British economy was being run not by the Labour Government but by the IMF. Hardly the record of a tax-cutting Party.”

"Before elections Labour politicians constantly promise to carry out their spending programmes without increasing the basic rate of tax. The evidence shows that once in office they always raise it. Labour has no enthusiasm for tax cuts, but a great appetite for tax increases. Some tax payers may wonder whether basic rate tax really would rise from 25 per cent to 35 per cent over a Parliament. The answer is yes - if Labour keep the promises on spending they have made. The unwary should remember. The last Labour Government hiked tax up to 35 per cent. They did it before. And they would do it again.

"We already know that a Labour Government would raise the top rate of tax from 40 to 59 per cent bringing in a new tax on talent by imposing extra National Insurance contributions on all workers earning over £20,280 a year. They would also bring back a tax on thrift with a 9 per cent surcharge on savings. Those are only three of their eight admitted tax plans. But all eight together would raise at most £10 billion by the end of a Parliament. Far short of Labour's existing spending commitments of at least £35 billion a year by that time. With this huge programme of promises, who can possibly believe Mr Kinnock's incredible claim that 88 per cent of tax payers would pay no more?"