Comment of the day: U-turn from Labour as it admits taxes may go up – by Andrew Porter in the Telegraph

Labour’s tax policy appears mired in confusion after Alistair Darling’s deputy admitted that taxes may well have to rise if the party wins the election.

That came just days after Liam Byrne, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, had stated that no new tax rises would be needed to fulfil its commitment to pay down the deficit. He also ruled out a rise in Vat.

But on Tuesday Mr Byrne attempted to dramatically row back from that position, fearing he had tied the Chancellor’s hands just days before the vital pre election Budget is delivered.

When he was asked by the BBC about whether he stood by his comments about ruling out a Vat rise, he said: “No, I mean Chancellors reserve the right to come back to tax matters at every budget.”

Mr Byrne, who is usually one of the Cabinet’s most assured performers, was then pressed about whether there would be taxes rises or not after the election and again backtracked.

He said: “I said that I had spelt out very clearly how we were going to raise £19 billion in tax now of course every Chancellor reserves the right to come back at every budget and make decisions about tax.”

His comments last week appeared categorical however when he said that Labour has identified the £19 billion it will raise from taxes to pay down part of the deficit in the next four years. Read in full in the Telegraph.


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