Tory to raise taxes when voted into power
The shadow business secretary said it would be “folly” to rule out increases alongside reductions in public spending.
The comments came as David Cameron effectively kicked off the general election campaign, urging voters to make 2010 a “year for change”.
He is expected to make an audacious raid on traditional Labour territory by pledging to divert more money to healthcare in the UK’s most deprived areas.
In an interview with a newspaper, Mr Clarke – a former chancellor – said: “Coming out of a recession when you have such a severe deficit, you can’t rule out putting up taxes.
“If you can’t get it down quickly enough, in order to maintain the confidence of the markets and to create conditions for growth and employment, then you may have to look at tax increases.”
“We will try to avoid it, we’ll minimise it if we have to by having proper control of public spending, which we haven’t had in this country in the last 12 years,” he said of tax increases.
Mr Clarke also suggested that, while health spending would be ring-fenced by a Tory government, there could be significant savings in education.
In his speech in Oxfordshire, Mr Cameron struck a more positive note after his warnings over recent months that the country faces an era of economic “austerity” and said a chapter of the Tories’ draft election manifesto would be published.
“If we win this year’s election Britain will be under new economic management,” he said. “We will send out the loudest signal that this country is back open for business and ready for investment.”
Source: Press Association