0646 GMT May 20, 2019
The Conservatives are understood to be considering an election pledge not to increase the total tax take — as a proportion of the economy — but are poised to abandon David Cameron's commitment not to increase income tax and national insurance, The Telegraph reported.
Philip Hammond was recently forced to abandon plans to increase National Insurance for the self-employed as it risked breaking the 2015 Tory election manifesto, but a rewritten tax pledge would allow such a rise.
The Prime Minister has repeatedly refused to speak about her tax plans in detail since launching the election campaign last month but ruled out any rise in VAT. She refused to give a similar pledge on income taxes.
May pledged to target tax cuts at ‘working families’ and may also introduce new tax breaks for those saving to cover the cost of social-care.
In an interview with ITV’s Peston on Sunday program, she said: “We have no plans to raise the level of tax. In relation to specific taxes, we won't be increasing VAT.”
She used a similar form of words in another television interview in which she said: “We have absolutely no plans to increase the level of tax but I'm also very clear that we don't want to make specific proposals on taxes unless I'm absolutely sure that I can deliver on those.
“But it would be my intention as a Conservative government and as a Conservative prime minister to reduce the taxes on working families. And if you’ve got strong and stable leadership that's absolutely what you can do.”
There was speculation — which was strongly denied by May's aides — that capital gains tax might be levied on sales of main homes worth over £5million.
State pensions would also continue to rise over the next five years but there was no commitment to maintain the triple lock which ensures the state pension increases in line with wages, inflation or by 2.5 percent — whichever is the highest, she said.
She said: “Under a Conservative government the state pension will still go up every year of the next parliament. Exactly how we calculate that increase will be for the manifesto, and as I have just said you will have to wait for the manifesto to see what’s in it.”