Political

Alistair Darling wanted to raise VAT

Throws a bit of a spanner in the works of the Labour rhetoric about how awful anyone who contemplates raising VAT is:

Amid reported wrangling between No 10 and the Treasury, Lord Mandelson suggested in his memoir that Mr Brown rejected a proposal from the chancellor to raise VAT while Mr Darling quashed calls for any future VAT rises to be ruled out. [BBC]

Mandelson writes that Brown and Darling rowed over economic strategy. He “vetoed point-blank” a proposal from Darling to raise VAT up to 18% or 19%. The then chancellor then blocked a proposal from Brown to rule out VAT rises under Labour in the course of that parliament. [The Guardian]

Perhaps we’ll see a sudden point of principle discovered by some in Labour which makes VAT at 19% acceptable but VAT at 20% beyond the pale…!

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