Grant Shapps is MP for Welwyn Hatfield, and Chairman of the Conservative Party. He was Housing Minister from 2010 to 2012.
Ed Miliband has a price control agenda: even Labour HQ admit it. But it has a fatal flaw. A staggering inconsistency. A weakness so obvious that it is hardly remarked upon.
It is this: he wants to control all the prices you have to pay, except for the price of your taxation. He is happy for that particular financial burden to eat away more and more of your income.
Let me explain. “Labour is worried about the pound in your pocket” – this is the impression Ed Miliband desperately wants to give to voters. But it is false, a pure fake, and I can prove it by asking one simple question:
What about Council Tax?
Council Tax is a big bill. Many working households fork out between £1,200 and £1,500 a year.
But in contradiction to the rest of his short-term wheezes, Miliband is happy for you to have to stump up more for Council Tax. He is – to borrow a phrase – intensely relaxed about Local Government getting filthy rich, as long as you pay the price.
This is no surprise. In power, Labour opposed the Conservative campaign for a council tax freeze and allowed your bills to double.
In Opposition, Miliband’s Shadow Ministers still continue to oppose the council tax freeze. They want you to pay more.
Chris Williamson, when he was Labour’s Shadow Local Government Minister, attacked a freeze in your bills as “nothing more than a gimmick”.
Labour’s Shadow Minister Chris Leslie attacked the freeze, saying “it would mean just £72 for a typical household”.
The Leader of the Labour Party in local government, Cllr David Sparks, has opposed it. When asked if councils were wrong to increase their council tax to a level just below the threshold for a referendum, Sparks said: “not in the least”.
Miliband himself has dismissed a freeze in your bills, saying: “a small amount of money on the council tax is not actually going to make a huge amount of difference” .
The Labour regime in Wales has also refused to freeze council tax, despite receiving Barnett consequential funding from the UK to help pay such a freeze.
And the result? Rate-payers in Cardiff are now shelling out more for a Band D home than they would pay in Chelsea.
This exposes something rotten at the heart of Labour’s argument about living standards. Their rhetoric about the “squeezed middle” is a sham. It is phony camouflage. Because it collapses when you ask about taxes.
Next time you see a Labour MP or councillor talking about the cost of living, remind them: we have cut fuel duty, frozen Council Tax, reduced jobs taxes, and slashed income tax for everyone who earns less than £100,000. These measures all mean one simple thing. More money in your pocket. But Labour opposed the lot.
Why? Because they cherry-pick their battles. Miliband’s agenda isn’t about helping working people. It is about bashing business and taking Britain back to a Government-knows-best, interventionist Big State. Ultimately, someone will have to pay for Labour’s endless spending demands. And that someone is you.
On 22 May, millions will be voting in the local, mayoral, and European elections. Facts don’t speak for themselves. We have to do that for them! So help keep Labour out. Stand with us at: conservatives.com/team2015