Boris Johnson has insisted taxes will not rise under a Conservative government, after journalists questioned this morning’s pledge.
The Prime Minister this morning vowed to reduce the tax bill of working families by £200 within the first 100 days of a Tory government, as part of a post-Brexit Budget.
But commentators have pointed out that this pledge appeared to be at odds with the party’s own manifesto commitments, which shows net increases in the country’s tax revenues in order to cover additional spending.
Asked about this apparent contradiction during a Q&A session in Derbyshire, Johnson shook his head in apparent confusion, saying: “No, no no… I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
He added: “We are cutting taxes on business rates, we are cutting National Insurance contributions for everyone in the country.”
Pressed on the matter, he shook his head again.
“No,” Johnson said. “We are cutting taxes on NIC and business rates – I am certainly not aware of the data you describe. We are cutting taxes and in our first Budget we propose to do more to cut taxes.”
Johnson went on to stress that a Tory majority would pave the way for Brexit on 31 January to “let this country move on”.
He also insisted a trade deal was possible before the end of 2020 “in a state of perfect equilibrium and grace with the rest of the EU”.
This was “because after all, in spite of the heroic exports of John Smedley [the clothing brand where he was speaking] and other companies, the EU has a £65bn trade surplus with us in goods alone. It’s very much in their interests to do a deal with us, and I have no doubt they will.”
Asked if he could “absolutely guarantee” a deal would be done before December 2020, Johnson pointed to the new Withdrawal Agreement he had struck, saying: “I think I can.”
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