Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has said he is “very concerned” about the UK’s soaring tax burden and that he “absolutely” wants to cut it.
Hunt told MPs on a Westminster committee today that “if taxes are too high it makes it difficult to be a modern, dynamic economy”, while also backing his decision last week to hike taxes for everyone.
The UK’s tax burden is now at its highest level since World War II, with the chancellor arguing last week that hikes were needed to pay back the Covid debt.
Stealth income tax hikes are set to squeeze families, while businesses will pay more in National Insurance Contributions as the government tries to balance the books.
Corporation Tax is also set to rise next year for the UK’s most profitable firms and Hunt also effectively hiked taxes on capital gains and dividends.
Hunt told the Treasury Select Committee that he wanted to cut personal and business taxes, but that “we weren’t going in that direction in that Budget”.
“But I do absolutely believe that if you want to have the right culture around enterprise, if you want the dynamism that encourages entrepreneurs and small companies to get off the ground, then reducing the taxes people have to pay before they’ve made a penny in profit, can be very beneficial,” he said.
He added: “I produced an autumn statement that is designed to restore economic stability and consistency of economic policymaking, and I hope we can turn a page on all that instability.
“It’s not something anyone would wish for, but I would say if you look at what the OBR are saying, if you look at what the OECD are saying, the primary cause for the economic challenges we face are the two big shocks of the pandemic and an energy crisis.”
It comes as City A.M. analysis of official figures today showed HM Revenue and Customs increased its tax take by 30 per cent over the past five years.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak today said during Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) said that fiscal consolidation was needed to bring down government borrowing.
Sunak said he “stood on my principles and told the country what they needed to hear, even though it was difficult”.