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Labour slams Hunt tax admission

LABOUR and Tories clashed over tax today in a desperate Dutch auction over which party is being more conservative with public finances.

Shadow treasury secretary Darren Jones claimed that Chancellor Jeremy Hunt had been caught making unfunded pledges after appearing to concede that manifesto promises on welfare cuts had been previously announced and therefore could not resource the national insurance cuts which are central to the Tory re-election campaign.

Mr Hunt had written in a letter to his Surrey constituents stating: “We have too many people out of work on benefits when it would be much better for them, for the economy and for taxpayers if they were back in work.”

The Chancellor added that the government was therefore funding an “enormous back-to-work programme,” which he had announced last year.

Yet Mr Hunt now claimed that if the Tories win on July 4 they would use the savings on the welfare bill to fund the 2p cut to national insurance and the abolition of NI for the self-employed all together.

Mr Jones, spluttered that this “private admission from Jeremy Hunt that the Conservatives’ welfare cuts are not new, the money has been spent, and their plans are therefore unfunded drives a coach and horses through his party’s manifesto, which is no longer worth the paper it is written on.

“Rishi Sunak lied about Labour’s plans and we now have the evidence he is lying about his own — from his Chancellor,” he added in a ritual display of synthetic indignation.

In response, the Tories claimed Labour was in “complete denial” about the rising benefit bill and that the projected tax cuts would come from unspecified new policies.

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