No party proposed an increase in VAT at the election, and no party ruled one out. The Liberal Democrat manifesto- [Interruption.] If Opposition Members will listen, I will explain the situation. In the Liberal Democrat manifesto, we made it clear that we would seek to reduce the deficit through spending measures alone, unless, on grounds of fairness, it was necessary to increase taxes. That was a clear statement in our election manifesto. The rationale that I have just set out is based on the decision that we made. We felt that, given the £12 billion of extra structural deficit left us by the previous Government, the right decision was a rise in VAT rather than increased spending cuts.
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