Labour loses ‘granny tax’ vote

Labour's attempt to stop the 'granny tax' proposals came to nothing today, when it was roundly defeated by government MPs.

A series of increasingly confident Lib Dem and Tory rebellions last night offered labour whips some hope they might be able to stop the plans, but an amendment ruling out the freeze on age-related allowances was shot down by 298 votes to 231.

Only two government MPs rebelled in the vote – Tory Philip Hollobone  and Liberal Democrat Mike Hancock.

MPs then voted to approve the 'granny tax' proposals by 299 to 230.

The vote caps a series of defeats for Labour, which is challenging many of the proposals in the Budget.

The party failed to halt the reduction of the top rate of income tax from 50p, with the government comfortably seeing off its amendment by 323 votes to 256 last night.

As the evening wore on, more and more coalition MPs rebelled against the government.

On the pasty tax, 14 coalition MPs – nine Tories and five Liberal Democrats – rebelled. It was passed by 295 votes to 260.

Seventeen Tory MPs defied the party whip on plans to charge VAT on static caravans, cutting the government's majority to just 25.

There were also strong rumblings of discontent from Tory MPs over plans to tax maintenance of Britain's historic buildings.

Nicholas Soames, a senior and well-regarded figure in the Conservative party, said the proposal would damage "the fabric of this country".