Letwin considers tax deal for pacifists

Link: Tax is ‘the’ election issue

Letwin is one of more than 75 MPs who several years ago put their names to the website of ‘Conscience: The Peace Tax Campaign’.

The site represents a group that aims to allow conscientous objectors against military action to refuse to pay tax towards the UK’s defence Budget, and redirect it towards ‘peace building’ initiatives.

A spokesman for Letwin said: ‘This is a personal belief rather than party policy, but it is an idea that he would want to think about if he became Chancellor. But it may not be possible to do it.

‘Hypothecation of taxes may have superficial attractions but there are serious practical difficulties with it.’

Many pacifists believe they should pay the same as other taxpayers but the cash that would normally go to weapons and service personnel – more than £500 per taxpayer per year – should be spent on non-military peace and security initiatives.

Letwin’s spokesman said he had signed up to the website on ‘libertarian grounds’ – something that former Tory Cabinet Minister Lord Tebbit said was ‘just plain silly’.

Labour spokesman Fraser Kemp said it was ‘unbelievable’ that Letwin should back an idea which threatened Britain’s defences.

Related reading