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Tory tax pledges are too absurd to be funny

·1-min read
Grant Shapps had been eyeing Boris Johnson’s job as PM but will now support Rishi Sunak (Carl Court/PA) (PA Wire)
Grant Shapps had been eyeing Boris Johnson’s job as PM but will now support Rishi Sunak (Carl Court/PA) (PA Wire)

Economic policy made on the hoof is rarely a good idea. The current circumstances could hardly be any more alarming.

The 11 Conservative starters in the race  to be Boris Johnson’s successor as Prime Minister are naturally falling over themselves to offer what amount to tax cutting bribes to their narrow electorate.

Grant Shapps, to take one example, had already promised to slash a penny off the basic rate of income tax “immediately” while spending billions of pounds more on defence before he pulled out of the race to back the candidate most resistent to tax cuts - Rishi Sunak.

The major political parties normally set out their stall in election manifestos that have at least had the benefit of going through a certain amount of scrutiny, analysis and basic stress testing. By contrast to say the pick and mix offerings from many of the Tory 11 were jotted down on the back of an envelope almost certainly overstates the degree of econometric rigour involved.

It would all be vaguely amusing if it was not for the gravity of the situation facing the country. The pound is close to freefall against the dollar, tomorrow’s GDP figure for May is likely to confirm a third consecutive month of no growth, and yesterday energy regulator Ofgem confirmed what everybody already knew: bills are heading for £3000 and more in the Autumn.

Instead of infantile slogans and Boosterism pledges offered to the Tory selectorate that are unlikely to survive the first day in Downing Street, the candidates need to be honest, frank and above all, grown up with all voters.

Try it, we can take it.

@JonPrynn

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