A Tory MP and former minister who has been a cheerleader for so-called “blue-collar Conservatism” has warned against any tax rises that would hit working families.
Robert Halfon spoke out after it emerged that the chancellor, Philip Hammond, was considering additional levies on fuel, homes and pension relief as a way of plugging the hole in public finances.
Responding in particular to the suggestion that Hammond could end a long-term freeze on fuel duty increases, the Harlow MP said: “This war on motorists has got to stop.”
Halfon, who has been credited as a key campaigner on fair fuel prices, argued that the Conservative party ought to be reducing the burden on drivers not increasing it.
In response to the suggestion that Hammond had called on Treasury officials to comb through public spending in search of savings, and that fuel duty was on the table, Halfon tweeted:
Speaking to the Guardian, he said: “Any rise in fuel duty would really hit hardworking people. It doesn’t just push up the costs for drivers but small businesses, bus fares and food prices because of the transportation costs. The fuel duty freeze has been one of [the] great achievements of this government – and why reverse that.”
Other areas of potential savings reported to be under consideration by Hammond include the higher-rate pension tax relief and the possibility of postponing the 2020 target to raise the personal allowance threshold to £12,500.
A possible mansion tax on people in higher-priced homes has been floated, according to the Sunday Times, along with delaying corporation tax cuts for a year.
Hammond has to find savings after he was forced to cancel manifesto promises to means test winter fuel allowance and ask pensioners to contribute more to their social care costs. He is also under pressure to ease the burden of austerity, after it was blamed in part for the Conservative’s failure to secure a majority in June’s general election.
This article was written by Anushka Asthana Political editor, for theguardian.com on Sunday 30th July 2017 17.11 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010