“We cannot afford it” – Cameron on raising income tax threshold to £10k. In 2010.

With a hat-tip to Ed Stradling, here’s a reminder of what David Cameron told Nick Clegg about raising the income tax threshold in the first leaders’ debate:


(Watch it on YouTube here.)

I think it’s fair to say the Tories have since had a change of heart. Apparently it was their idea all the time:

tory tax poster

And yes, before the inevitable below-the-line comments start: tuition fees, tuition fees, tuition fees, repeat ad infinitum. There, saved you the trouble. Which gives us enough time to remember what the top Lib Dem priority in 2010 was…

Tax Threshold infographic

* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.

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11 Comments

  • Alex Harvey 1st May '13 - 8:29pm

    Tuition fees, though.

  • Matthew Huntbach 1st May '13 - 8:54pm

    The manifesto promise was actually

    Only Liberal Democrats will shake up the tax system to put £700 back in the pockets of tens of
    millions of low and middle-income families, paid for by ensuring the wealthy pay their fair share.

    We have NOT kept that promise if the first part about putting £700 back in the pockets is not accomplished by means of the second part about ensuring the wealthy pay their fair share. If instead the £700 is paid by putting up VAT or cutting welfare payments to the poorest, it’s a very long way from what that promise actually said.

    The manifesto gave five specific balancing increases in taxation to match this decrease, so to achieve what it called “fair tax”. How many of these have been implemented?

  • I’ve never really understood why that bottom graphic doesn’t amount to “promising to procure or endeavour to procure any money or valuable consideration” within the meaning of the Representation of the People Act.

  • tony dawson 1st May '13 - 10:26pm

    “I think it’s fair to say the Tories have since had a change of heart”

    I think it’s fair to say that the Tories never had any heart.

    But more on subject, it would appear that this was a horse-trading concession to the Lib Dems which balanced out half a dozen concessions by Lib Dems to the Conservatives. An awful way to run any kind of government, including a Coalition government.

    Did you really have to put that awful artwork up again? It makes the Lib Dems seem very ‘up ourselves’ obsessed with a manifesto of interest to perhaps 1500 political geeks nationwide.

  • Colin Strong 1st May '13 - 10:57pm

    From Lib Dem election address GE 2010:
    “Four steps to a fairer Britain
    1. Fairer taxes that put money back in your pocket
    Pay no tax on the first £10,000 you earn – cutting most tax bills by £700.

    2. A fair chance for every child
    Smaller class sizes, more cash for schools and abolish university tuition fees.

    3. A fair future: create jobs by making Britain greener
    Invest in public transport, renewable energy and energy efficient homes.

    4. A fair deal for you from the politicians
    Make politicians accountable and give you the right to sack corrupt MPs.”

    Well done on nearing the £10,000 income tax threshold.
    Still pay National Insurance though and it does say “Pay no tax on the first £10,000 you earn”.
    Shame about university tuition fees.
    Shame about making politicians accountable.

  • Mark Inskip 1st May '13 - 11:55pm

    @Matthew Huntbach
    We both know that first rise in the personal allowance was accompanied by an increase in Capital Gains Tax from 18% (the figure it had been reduced to by Labour) up to 28%. Not as much as Lib Dems wanted but more that the Tories would have done (given they had no plans to raise CGT). Subsequent increases in the personal allowance have been accompanied by a decrease in the 40% threshold. There have also been two reductions in the annual tax free sum an individual can pay into their pension pot, from a massive £255,00 under Labour to £50,000 then £40,000. In all three instance the better off pay more.

  • Thanks to the IFS we know that those who have done best (or at any rate least worst) under this government are those on above-average incomes, but outside the top 10%. After the top 10%, those who have been hit hardest are those on lowest incomes.

    In a sense, of course, Cameron was wrong to say we couldn’t afford the increase in the income tax threshold. Any tax cut is affordable, provided you take at least as much away from people through other tax rises and/or benefit cuts. That being the case, we need to look at who gains and who loses – and it is quite untrue to say that this government has protected those on low incomes.

  • >Apparently it was their idea all the time
    Funny how the world of politic’s differs from business. In business I would call such an outcome a successful use of influence and just quietly remind the client of the value I contributed so please pay the invoice…

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