Grant Shapps is Chairman of the Conservative Party and MP for Welwyn Hatfield.
Ed Miliband wants to put his hand in your pocket, and take away a bigger slice of your pay-packet. This
is now Labour’s central economic message. It is barely disputed that Ed Miliband is running, as Tony Blair warned recently, “a traditional left-wing party”.
This is not just what Conservatives say about Miliband. This is what Miliband says about himself.
Backed into a corner on the Andrew Marr show yesterday, he eventually admitted it. Would Labour put up taxes? “Indeed,” he replied, “indeed.”
A time-constrained Marr couldn’t get into the small print, but looking back over Miliband’s stint as Labour leader, the red lights on the dashboard have been flashing all along.
In April, we heard of Labour’s plans to raise National Insurance: a new tax on your job. Emily Thornberry revealed a graduate tax “has always been what we wanted to do”. Miliband in fact has promised to bring in a new tax at every stage of your life – a tax on your family home, a tax on your pension, and he would like to tax death too, forcing pensioners to pay 15 per cent on their estates.
Our council tax freeze has been dismissed by Labour as a “gimmick”: and they have refused to freeze the council tax in Wales, despite being offered financial help to do so. The Financial Times has reported that a Labour Government would put up Corporation Tax: punishing British business and making it harder to create jobs. In June we learned of “Ed’s secret triple tax whammy”. This was a three-pronged attack being planned by Labour on shop-owners, businesses and farmers to tax them on their land, even scrapping the exemption from business rates that has applied to farmers since 1929.
Miliband is a weak leader. But to understand the gravity of Labour’s tax threats, you have to look behind him to the big, hulking presence in his shadow. I mean the Shadow Chancellor: Ed Balls. This is the man who was City Minister just before the City crashed. He was in charge of bank regulation leading up to the disastrous RBS purchase of ABN AMRO, and when Northern Rock was selling 125 per cent mortgages. More than any Labour politician, Balls is the politician who brought the British banking system to its knees.
The bottom line is this. Balls is hard-wired in favour of higher taxes and wasteful spending. Tony Blair,
who during his power struggle with Gordon Brown had ample time to observe his methods, lamented that Balls “doesn’t get aspiration” – other than perhaps an aspiration to hold the job of Shadow Chancellor.
Should Ed Miliband walk into Downing Street in 16 weeks, it will mean one thing. Ed Balls in the Treasury next door, crushing Britain with new taxes. Don’t be fooled into believing that all these Labour taxes are somehow going to be paid by other people. Last time, Ed Miliband and Ed Balls were part of the Labour team that raided your pension; increased the taxes on filling your car; and tried to slap a new tax on your job.
Now they are fighting a General Election with the explicit promise to hit you again, with the same old taxes. They haven’t changed; they haven’t learned. It’s the same old Labour.
P.S. if you want to keep Ed Miliband out of Downing Street, don’t stand on the sidelines. Stand with us at www.conservatives.com/volunteer.aspx