Rishi Sunak refused to say if income tax will be cut before next election despite promising future tax cuts in his budget announcement.
The chancellor yesterday said his long-term ambition was to cut taxes before the country goes to the polls, expected to be in 2024. He argued there was a “moral” case for a smaller state.
However, asked whether he would cut taxes before then, Sunak told Sky News they “started cutting taxes yesterday” with the reduction of the Universal Credit taper rate.
He added: “As I said very clearly yesterday, my ambition is to lower taxes for people, that is what I would like to do as chancellor.”
Asked to give a “yes or no” answer to whether there would be income tax cuts before the next election, he replied: “No, no. Let’s just talk about this budget rather than all the other ones.”
Pressed on the issue, he replied: “I think I made a very clear demonstration of our intent yesterday.”
Will there be income tax cuts before the next election?
Chancellor @RishiSunak says he "made a very clear demonstration of our intent" in yesterday's budget.https://t.co/YHw1BBpaaJ#KayBurleypic.twitter.com/52Rt9Ebtum
— Sky News (@SkyNews) October 28, 2021
The Office for Budget Responsibility [OBR] said taking the March and October budgets together, Sunak had raised taxes by more this year than in any single year since Norman Lamont and Ken Clarke’s two 1993 budgets in the aftermath of Black Wednesday.
Sunak told the commons he did not like tax rises but they were a result of the “unprecedented crisis” of the pandemic. He also said that Boris Johnson was committed to tax cuts in the coming years.
The budget contained plans for government spending at levels not seen since the 1970s. And Sunak told MPs the Conservatives were the “real party of public services” as he announced £150 billion of extra cash for public services.
The chancellor was given wriggle room in the budget thanks to better-than-expected economic growth and tax rises.
The spending spree further moved Tory tanks onto Labour’s lawn, but critics argue it will do little to help the poorest in the midst of a cost of living crisis.
The OBR said the cost of living could rise at its fastest rate for 30 years, with suggestions inflation could hit almost 5 per cent.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.