Coffee House

David Cameron hints at tax cuts for Middle England

30 July 2014

11:47 AM

30 July 2014

11:47 AM

The Telegraph’s Christopher Hope tweets the news that David Cameron is open to raising the threshold for the 40p rate:

NEWS! PM: “I would love to raise the 40p tax threshold, I understand the problem, but would have to look at the books before doing it”

— Christopher Hope (@christopherhope) July 30, 2014


The Telegraph has been pushing for this change for some time. Cameron has, in political terms, flashed a bit of thigh at Middle England.


One of the strange features of this parliament is how little credit the government gets for keeping taxes low. This sense was reinforced recently by one of Lord Ashcroft’s polls, which found that voters thought that they would pay less tax under Labour. This is errant nonsense, as this morning’s revelations suggest. But, nonetheless, the perception remains.

Tory MPs have a number of explanations for this. MPs who remember the Lawson and Clarke years talk about ‘the politics of the penny off’. Their view is that, politically, it makes no sense to take people out of the tax system by raising the basic threshold as the government has done. The answer, they say, is to cut the rate of income tax: keep people contributing, but make them contribute less. That way they think about public services and public money.

Other MPs refer to the 40p threshold. As one backbencher put it to me some time ago: ‘These hardworking people we keep talking about. We’re making them work even harder.’

Maybe the government will look at the books and conclude that the threshold should remain in place, but that the 40p rate should become the 39p rate.

Or maybe they won’t do anything. Could this announcement have anything to do with distracting attention from Ed Balls, who’s giving a speech and doing some banker bashing today?

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Show comments
  • Gio Ciampa

    Bribery, pure and simple

  • Chingford Man

    Sorry to go off topic, but I just realised that today is the 24th anniversary of the murder of that great patriot Ian Gow.

    Gone but still not forgotten.

  • Chingford Man

    Sorry to go off topic, but I just realised that today is the 24th anniversary of the murder of that great patriot Ian Gow.

    Gone but still not forgotten.

  • misomiso

    Lynton Crosby
    if you’re reading this you cant lock up the bass without dealing with immigration!

    You guys need a different strategy. Tacitly let UKIP win some seats so their supporters will vote for you.

    You cant take on the Left and the Right and win.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    “One of the strange features of this parliament is how little credit the government gets for keeping taxes low”


    Maybe it’s because the Cameroons’ first move was to reinforce and double-down on the envirowhacko energy cost madness, which is surely a tax increase, in addition to the Camerluvvies’ VAT escalations, both of which badly choked everbody’s disposable income and hindered economic growth badly.

    Meanwhile, government spending remained just as Darling had planned. In fact, the Camerloons obeyed their EUSSR and IMF masters and raised spending, after they were scolded for their (faux) “austerity”.

    People tend to notice these things, although lickspittle journalistas might not.

  • Rhoda Klapp8

    ““I would love to raise the 40p tax threshold,”

    Do or do not, there is no “I’d love to”.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      “David, I am Darth Blair, and I am your father.”

    • Makroon

      Yes, the deficit is still very big, but talk is still exceedingly cheap.

  • Smithersjones2013

    One of the strange features of this parliament is how little credit the government gets for keeping taxes low.

    Ermmmmm didn’t George “No Plans To Raise VAT” Osborne raise VAT to 20%? If you put up the most visible of taxes and its in part the cause of the cost of living crisis don’t expect to get any credit for any other tax machinations that work the other way

    As for Cameron he’s just doing his ankle flashing tart act again (the don’t call him Flashman” or was that “Flash In The Pan”?) for nothing. Yet time and again he’s proved nothing but a cynical tease (liar). Why do journalists fall for it over and over again. Are they that dumb?

    Given the Government public spending problems there will be no real reduction in tax levels.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      That’s brilliant. Pay Peter and pay Paul both, then rob them post-election.

      Sounds like the Camerloons are following the Broun strategy.

  • David B

    Brown and Balls used fiscal drag to get more people into the 40p bracket by raising it at a rate below earnings growth.

    Raising the threshold is a good idea as it takes those same people out of the top rate of tax.

    Cutting the tax rate is also a good idea as the rate that maximises tax revenue is estimated to be around 37%.

    That’s two good policies in one and it starts to reverse the great tax grab of Brown and Balls!

  • Andrew Morton

    Here’s one of his ‘promises’.
    Cameron says he wants to crack down on immigration.

    He lied.

  • Sapporo

    Thanks for letting us know about Dave’s “hints”. Good to see which commentators are acting as PR agents for Cameron.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      The term “commentators” may not quite apply, and we might best use “lickspittles”.

  • The Bellman

    “Could this … have anything to do with distracting attention from Ed Balls..?”
    I would have thought the wiser option would be to draw attention to Ed Balls.

    • Holly

      I reckon most folk know exactly how Balls would run the Treasury.

  • an ex-tory voter

    Are his “hints” more credible, more believeable and more likely to occur than his “cast iron guarantees”?

    • HookesLaw

      There were no broken pledges about EU referendums.

      • Sapporo

        LOL! Keep up the delusions.

        • HookesLaw

          There were no broken pledges – the 2009 and 2010 manifestos were quite clear.
          You are delusional. Typical kipper, not an ounce of reason or sanity in any of you.

          • Ooh!MePurse!

            I can’t find any reference to a referendum on Lisbon in the 2010 manifesto. The commitment is made about any future attempts to increase EU powers. It would be useful for those who claim that Cameron made (and then broke) such a commitment to point us in the direction of their source material, it was certainly not a manifesto commitment.

            • LondonStatto

              Precisely. There’s no commitment to a Lisbon referendum in the 2010 manifesto because it was already in force. Once Brown signed (against his 2005 manifesto) the 2008 plesge lapsed as meaningless – as everybody knew until the day Brown signed and Labour and their useful idiots started lying.

            • Colonel Mustard

              The guarantee was made in an article Cameron wrote for the Sun on 26 September 2007:-

              “Today, I will give this cast-iron guarantee: If I become PM a Conservative government will hold a referendum on any EU treaty that emerges from these negotiations. No treaty should be ratified without consulting the British people in a referendum.”

              On 3 November 2009 the guarantee was implicitly abandoned, not by Cameron but by William Hague who stated when Václav Klaus, the Czech president signed the Lisbon treaty:-

              “What has happened means it is no longer possible to have a referendum on the Lisbon treaty.”

              The most important part of Cameron’s guarantee is the second sentence:-

              “No treaty should be ratified without consulting the British people in a referendum.”

              If it had been Cameron ratifying the treaty rather than Brown and Brown had written those words there would have been a storm of never-ending protest whipped up by the Labour party and all their fellow travellers. But after ratification Cameron was curiously quiet, not articulating much outrage on behalf of the British people, not pursuing the line that the ratification was undemocratic, unconstitutional and illegal. Labour once again escaped the consequences of their treachery.

          • BarkingAtTreehuggers

            No no no, they are quite sane and will face their own reality. Just unpick the message. It’s really not difficult.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              …we need your goat sockpuppet in here, lad.

      • Alexsandr
    • Holly

      The question you should be asking is,
      Are Conservative ‘hints’ better for everyone in the long run, than the Labour ‘announcements’ on ‘death tax’/proposed levy on shops/gambling, etc?
      Mmmm tough choice.

  • vircantium

    This, from the ‘Conservative’-led government that has LOWERED the h.r. threshold during its tenure.

    Anyway he’s clearly being aspirational, in the same 24 hours that his spokesmen announced they were ‘opposed’ to a flat rate income tax – note ‘opposed’ rather than just ‘unlikely in the foreseeable future’.

    • IanH

      It was only lowered to offset the increase in the basic rate allowance, and was widely discussed at the time. I’d not consider that a tax rise it’s neutral

      • HookesLaw

        And brought about under a coalition govt.
        I think its right to raise thesholds for the low paid, but having done that now I think the aim should be to lower rates. The thresholds for the higher paid should go up as and when possible, but people are paying the higher rate at too low a level.

        • Alexsandr

          not raising the 40% threshold was a blatant tax rise for many.

          Again its too little too late.
          how can a marginal tax rate for those on 40k of around 63% be right.
          (I have included employers NI in there because employees pay it through depressed wages)