Rishi Sunak pledges tax cuts as he once again resets his premiership
The Prime Minister yesterday promised tax cuts in order to boost economic growth and “reward hard work” in Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement on Wednesday.
In an attempt to move on his premiership from his “five priorities” announced in January, Mr Sunak said that ministers will now move on to the “next phase” of the Government’s economic plan.
At a press conference in North London he said that he was taking “five long-term decisions” for the country: “Reducing debt; cutting tax and rewarding hard work; building domestic, sustainable energy; backing British business; and delivering world-class education.”
It comes after the completion of one the Government’s plan to halve inflation by the end of the year was overshadowed by the decision by the High Court to stand by its position that ministers’ Rwanda asylum scheme was unlawful.
Mr Sunak, despite meeting the target when inflation fell to 4.6 per cent in October, has come under criticism for the pledge after blaming the rise on external factors such as the war in Ukraine, whilst simultaneously taking credit for its fall despite the drop in wholesale energy prices which fueled its initial rise.
Both the Prime Minister and his Chancellor have come under pressure from Conservative backbenchers to lower the tax burden ahead of a general election, with the Tories still trailing Labour by a similar margin as seen under Liz Truss according to some polls.
Mr Sunak did not give details of which taxes would be cut tomorrow during his speech, but the Treasury has reportedly been drawing up plans for a cut in inheritance tax, as well as cutting business taxes in order to pursue growth over the next year.
It comes after Richard Holden, the new Conservative Party Chairman, told The Yorkshire Post that next year’s budget, and to a lesser extent this month’s Autumn Statement, will see the tax-cutting and pro-growth announcements that Mr Sunak will need to set out a vision for the country to lead into the next general election.
“We will do this in a serious, responsible way, based on fiscal rules to deliver sound money, and alongside the independent forecasts of the Office for Budget Responsibility,” Mr Sunak said yesterday.
“And we can’t do everything all at once. It will take discipline and we need to prioritise. But over time, we can and we will cut taxes.”
The Prime Minister contrasted his approach to the public finances with that of Labour and his predecessor Liz Truss.
He claimed Sir Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves wanted to continue the “big government, big spending approach” of the pandemic, with up to £28 billion of borrowing a year for Labour’s green plans.
“This makes the same economic mistake as last year’s mini-budget, blowing tens of billions of pounds on unfunded spending is just as dangerous as blowing tens of billions of pounds on unfunded tax cuts.”
The Prime Minister also vowed to “clamp down” on welfare fraudsters as part of a drive to get more people into work, branding it a “national scandal” that around two million working-age people were not in employment.
Labour’s shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and national campaign co-ordinator, Pat McFadden, said: “The Tories have failed to deliver on so many pledges from the past. Why should people believe they will deliver on pledges for the future?
“It sums up this Conservative Party to claim things will be better tomorrow when they can’t even fix the problems of today.
“After 13 years of Conservative governments, working people have been left worse off and the Conservative economic record lies in tatters. Only Labour can get our economy growing and deliver change for working people.”