Prime Minister “won’t be increasing VAT” if Conservatives win General Election

Prime Minister Theresa May has insisted that the Conservative Government will not increase VAT for the next five years if the party wins the upcoming General Election on 8 June.

However, the PM has refused to confirm whether other levies – such as Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) – will remain unchanged should the Conservatives remain in power.

Speaking in an interview with ITV’s Peston on Sunday, the Prime Minister implied that that her party are considering an election pledge not to increase the UK’s total tax take.

She said: “We have no plans to raise the level of tax. In relation to specific taxes, we won’t be increasing VAT.

“I think it’s important that we look at the overall burden of taxation… my desire, my instinct and what I absolutely want to be able to do is reduce taxes on working families.

However, the Prime Minister added:  “I’m also very clear that we don’t want to make specific proposals on taxes unless I’m absolutely sure that I can deliver on those”.

Following the interview, the Institute of Economic Affairs has raised concerns that Mrs May’s “wording suggests that taxes will probably go up if she is re-elected”.

Mark Littlewood, director general of the Institute of Economic Affairs, said: “There is no reason why she could not commit to the total tax burden falling as a percentage of overall national income if the economy continues to grow.

“Claiming to have no plans to raise taxes is standard politicians’ code for increasing tax due to supposedly unforeseen future circumstances,” he said.