The Conservatives must make the moral case for lower taxation – by Edward Leigh MP

portrait-edwardleigh3.jpgIt has been implied recently that some Conservative MPs are calling for the Party to promise tax cuts. For my part, I don’t know any who are.

We are told that the notion that simply promising tax-cuts will help us swiftly win an election is mistaken. As a well-known fan of tax-cuts, it occurred to me that the notion being attacked might be thought by many people to lurk somewhere in MPs’ minds.

But nobody in the Party is asking for tax-cuts now. All of us can see – especially given the current economic climate – that it would be foolish to pin ourselves down to a figure at this stage. After all, it is still probably 2 years till the next General Election.

It seems bizarre to me to suggest, as some have done, that voters would somehow disapprove of us promoting their self-interest. How about promoting their need to make ends meet? There is surely a moral case to be made for lower taxes. The assumption that the case for them can only be made on ‘selfish’ grounds, while certainly shared by many socialists, is one that we Conservatives have a duty to challenge and defeat.

Not to do so is both a dereliction of that duty and a surrender to the Labour world-view. It would force us to fight on the Government’s terms while disillusioning many of those who are desperate for relief from a heavy tax burden.

But, I repeat, I am not saying we can commit ourselves to a figure on tax cuts now – or, indeed, that we can promise to cut tax the moment we come in.

So there is no real dispute in the Party about this, as far as I can see.

And of course I strongly support the view that we should make it a priority to tackle waste in the public sector, to give taxpayers better value for money.

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