A senior Conservative minister told a Liberal Democrat Cabinet colleague: “You take care of the workers and we’ll take care of the bosses,” in a private Whitehall meeting to discuss the Coalition Government’s priorities.
The controversial remark was revealed by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, in an interview with the i paper that exposes some of the tensions behind the scenes in the Coalition.
Mr Alexander said it showed David Cameron and George Osborne were guilty of “breath-taking hypocrisy” for trying to claim responsibility for raising the threshold at which people pay tax – while privately arguing for tax cuts for the better off.
In March 2012, when the economy was still in the very early stages of recovery we wanted to do a very big increase in the personal allowance to put a lot of money back into folk’s pockets. The Tories’ priority at the time was the top rate of tax.
I remember one meeting with a group of senior Conservatives and one of them said, ‘Listen, you take care of the workers and we’ll take care of the bosses’.
That was said across the table in one of the meetings where we were discussing the forward policy of the Government. That really spelt out where their priorities lay.
Mr Alexander’s remarks come George Mr Osborne yesterday four times refused to rule out cutting the top rate of tax paid by people earning over £150,000 a year from the current rate of 45p to 40p in a pound if the Conservatives win the next election.