Lies, Falsehoods and Misrepresentations from Boris Johnson to Rishi Sunak

‎”We have provided record increases to the personal allowance, meaning that a person working full time on the minimum wage has seen a £1,000 reduction in their tax”

Oliver Dowden, Deputy Prime Minister, Prime Minister’s Questions

Facts

At Prime Minister’s Questions on 7 June, Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden stated that increases to the personal allowance mean “a person working full time on the minimum wage has seen a £1,000 reduction in their tax”.

As Full Fact pointed out, this statement is potentially misleading because the phrase “£1,000 reduction” could be understood in different ways. Mr Dowden did not make it clear that the figure is a counterfactual comparison with what someone on minimum wage would pay this tax year had tax thresholds risen with inflation since 2010, not an estimate of the actual change in the amount of tax paid compared to 2010/11, or another year.

Full Fact explains that in cash terms, someone earning the minimum or the average wage in 2023/24 can actually expect to pay more in tax than they would have in 2010.

Verdict

The lack of relevant context and caveats make this a misleading statement.

According to the Ministerial Code,  “It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity.  Ministers who knowingly mislead Parliament will be expected to offer their resignation to the Prime Minister.” Oliver Dowden was misleading parliament in defiance of the Ministerial Code.

We emailed Oliver Dowden’s parliamentary office and the Cabinet Office offering him the chance to respond. The email to his parliamentary office was received but, alas, no reply. 

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