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Monday, June 27, 2005
The positive case for lower taxes

Michael Howard's forthcoming speech to the Centre for Policy Studies receives widespread coverage in the media today for saying tax cuts are not the "silver bullet" that will solve the Conservative party's problems and restore it to power.

Though Gordon Brown's growing tax burden may make taxes a bigger election issue in 2009, Michael Howard will argue that voters are deeply sceptical of politicians' promises and a modern party needs a far broader appeal - ranging from patriotism to personal responsibility, enterprise, duty and "overwhelming optimism about man's ability to improve the human condition".

According to the media coverage, Michael Howard "triangulates" himself between those who see tax cuts as "the article of faith" and those who argue that it should be a badge of honour to offer no tax cuts at all. However, this is a false description of those - like the TPA - that believe in lower taxes.

The case for lower taxes - as Michael Howard himself acknowledged as Shadow Chancellor and Leader of the Conservative Party - is not tax cuts for the sake of tax cuts, but tax cuts to promote prosperity, future revenue for public services, and individual responsibility. The Conservative Party should not be afraid to voice the case for lower taxes but the only way to win the argument is to be positive rather than apologetic.