Tories mocked for double down on debunked £2,000 tax rises claim: "I thought they said Labour has no plan?"

Tories mocked for double down on debunked £2,000 tax rises claim: "I thought they said Labour has no plan?"

Rishi Sunak issues apology after skipping D-Day event for TV interview: 'It was a mistake'

GB News Videos / VideoElephant

The very topic Rishi Sunak left D-Day celebrations early to be interviewed about – taxes – has reared its head yet again as the Conservatives continue to double down on their debunked and questionable claim that Labour’s policy proposals will hit working households with a £2,094 tax rise over four years.

The bogus calculation was first unveiled last month, before the election, when chancellor Jeremy Hunt held a press conference in which he detailed “Labour’s tax rises” and claimed that while the Conservatives “recognise that whilst those tax rises [under the previous parliament] may have been necessary, but they should not be permanent”, his opponents “do not”.

Hunt’s speech was tied to a document, titled ‘Labour’s Tax rises’ (yes, we’re not sure why the ‘t’ is capitalised either), in which it is said that “almost every costing” cited in the paper has been carried out “by HM Treasury”.

James Bowler, the Treasury’s permanent secretary, rubbished comments around his department’s involvement in the analysis – in a letter sent to Labour on Monday which surfaced after the first leaders’ debate the next day.

Bowler’s letter to Darren Jones, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, reads: “As per [civil service] guidance, the costings produced by HM Treasury and the wider civil service are published on the gov.uk website. As you will expect, civil servants were not involved in the production or presentation of the Conservative Party’s document ‘Labour’s Tax Rises’ or in the calculation of the total figure used.

“In your letter you highlight that the £38bn figure used in the Conservative Party’s publication includes costs beyond those provided by the civil service and published online by HM Treasury.

“I agree that any costings derived from other sources or produced by other organisations should not be presented as having been produced by the civil service.”

Indeed a factcheck from The Independent notes “many Treasury costings of opposition policies rely on assumptions from special advisers” or ‘spads’, who are political, Conservative Party appointees rather than impartial civil servants.

And so, as this and other criticisms were levelled against the Tories for the claim which was spouted many times in both ITV’s leaders’ debate on Tuesday and the multi-party debate on the BBC on Friday, the Conservatives published an explainer video on Sunday in which they sought to detail “how it’s calculated”.

You will have read the £38 billion figure above, and that comes from the Tories subtracting the estimated revenue Labour will generated from their planned spending.

“The £2,094 figure is overwhelmingly based on official costings signed off by the Treasury.

“Taken together, the commitments up to £58.9 billion of additional spending. There are also estimates of the money Labour claim they will raise.”

That’s £20.4 billion, and so the Tories claim a simple deduction of £58.9 billion by £20.4 billion leaves a £38.5 billion “funding gap” over four years, which they believe will be paid for by increased taxes.

So they divide the £38.5 billion figure by the 18.4 million working households in Britain (that’s where at least one resident is in a job) and that produces the £2,094 sum.

And it’s also worth pointing out that the UK Statistics Authority has slammed the use of the stat too – in case you need any further evidence that the claim isn’t watertight.

Unfortunately for the Conservatives, the fancy new video attempting to justify their attack line hasn’t won many people over, instead prompting them to make a number of smart observations instead:

Labour themselves have also shut down the claims as “absolute garbage”, and have since gone on the attack on taxes by arguing the Tories have “raised taxes to the highest level in 70 years”.

We have another four weeks of this, people.

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