Theresa May made a series of errors of judgement on tax. And she paid the price

Theresa May general election

If there’s one lesson the Tories must learn from last week’s embarrassing election result, it’s to listen to us voters more carefully – particularly on matters concerning the pound in our pockets.

In the run-up to polling day, Theresa May and her sidekicks made a series of errors of judgement on how to reform taxes. And they paid the price says Dan Hyde writing for the Daily Mail.

First, Philip Hammond (who was re-appointed Chancellor this week by the skin of his teeth) launched a misguided attack on the self-employed.

In his March Budget, he told 2.5 million self-employed workers they faced a 2 percentage point tax rise that would cut their pay by hundreds of pounds a year.

He did a U-turn a week later, but the damage had already been done.

Second was the disastrous plot to hit families with new death duties. Probate fees, which you pay to take charge of a loved one’s affairs after they die, were scheduled to soar from £215 to as much as £20,000 in May (the hike has since been delayed).

Money Mail’s crusade to quash the changes warned that dyed-in-the-wool Tories were responding by saying they’d no longer vote Conservative.

Less than three weeks later, Mrs May went to the country.

The Prime Minister then scored an own goal with her manifesto pledge on old age care. Voters saw straight through her move to include the family home when working out whether someone was rich enough to afford care bills.

The plan was labelled a ‘dementia tax’ and, again, lifelong Tories wrote to us and their MPs to say the party had lost their support.

Since being returned to office, Mrs May has shuffled around the men and women who rule over our finances. Joining Mr Hammond at the Treasury is Liz Truss, the minister responsible for the probate tax blow.

If the huge support for Money Mail’s Unlock Our Pensions campaign is anything to go by, the duo could repair their bruised reputations by rewriting the annuity rules to give five million pensioners the same right as everyone else to cash in their retirement funds.

David Gauke now heads the Department for Work and Pensions, overseeing the state pension age, triple lock and Winter Fuel Payment.

He is a safe pair of hands, with a background in financial services. Just as well, as he has been given a critical role at an important time.

The Government was set to publish a consultation by May 7 on increasing state pension age, but the election got in the way. The responsibility of deciding at what age we retire is huge: a false move will anger millions.

Mr Gauke must be allowed to get on with this job without the chopping and changing of ministers, ill-advised tax grabs and shock U-turns.

MPs should remember that outside their Westminster bubble, the voters who put them in office are trying to make ends meet, plan for retirement and look after their families’ futures.
And we’d quite like to get on with the task at hand without their meddling, thank you.