Sajid Javid has denied Boris Johnson was guilty of deliberately “spinning” Tory policy when he said voters would get a £500 tax cut in his first budget after the election.
The prime minister’s claim is not true and has been contradicted by the Conservative Party’s own press release.
Johnson yesterday unexpectedly announced a commitment to raise the threshold at which workers start paying National Insurance contributions (NICs) from £8,628 a year to £9,500 – eventually rising to £12,500.
He appeared to blurt out the plan ahead of the manifesto launch – expected at the weekend – during a campaign visit to an engineering company in Teesside.
The PM later told ITV News: “If we’re lucky enough to be elected [...] the first budget we will go up to the £9,500 threshold and that will, as I say, put £500 into the pockets of everybody.”
But the Conservative Party’s own press release on the policy said raising the threshold from £8,632 to £9,500 next year would deliver a tax cut of £100 a year.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) think-tank said it would be £85 a year.
The Conservatives said only “over time” would they raise the threshold to £12,500, which would save workers £500 a year.
Speaking to the BBC on Thursday morning, Javid confirmed his first budget as chancellor would raise the threshold to £9,500, “a saving of just under £100 per person for 31m people”.
Pressed on whether Johnson had been misleading people, Javid said the PM had “given a straight answer”.
“I don’t think there is any spinning going on,” the chancellor told BBC Radio 4′s Mishal Husain.
Husain told the chancellor: “He gave the wrong answer.”
The argument came after the Tories found themselves under fire for rebranding one of their official Twitter accounts as a fact-check service during Tuesday’s TV debate between Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn.
HuffPost UK also revealed on Thursday the Conservative Party is delivering leaflets that claim Corbyn will introduce a homes tax – something that is also not true.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.