As a former Chief Secretary to the Treasury, I am uneasy about the bail-out of Flybe. Every time a private business is bailed out by the taxpayer, the pressure grows.
The Prime Minister’s spending commitments sit alongside welcome proposals for devolution and reform.
That’s a legitimate political agenda, and people are quite welcome to vote for it. But they deserve to know what’s coming.
The tax burden isn’t a full measure of the size of the state. But it’s arguably the pre-eminent factor and certainly that which most concerns the TaxPayers’ Alliance.
Today’s pledge of a swift Tory National Insurance cut is welcome, but more importantly it sets the stage for an attack on Corbyn’s tax grab.
Vague plans to “review” business rates, “clamp down” on late payments, or “reform” Entrepreneurs’ Relief will do little to inspire.
Labour is banking on our innumeracy. I don’t say that they are taking us for fools. Plenty of clever and educated people can’t process numbers on that scale.
Who will their taxes really hit? How much will they truly raise? And can this really be described as a ‘moderate’ agenda?
When forced to choose, people prefer a Boris Johnson government to a Corbyn government by a ten-point margin, down from 12 points last week.
And, the Chancellor notes in his Bolton speech, that excludes 59 Labour policies “which don’t have enough detail for us to cost fairly”.
Corbyn has made it safer to indulge the Tory leadership’s willingness to spend. But there are signs of at least some restraint.
The Chancellor says that the party will publish “the most detailed, most transparent costings that have ever been published in British electoral history”.
He says: “95 per cent of earners will not have an increase in their income tax rates or VAT or national insurance”.
Their manifesto doesn’t provide any costings for their most expensive plans. The IFS says their tax pledge is not believable. But will they get away with it?
The CBI provided the stage for the Prime Minister, but he treated them mean to keep a very different audience keen.