The chief of an influential parliamentary committee that scrutinises the government’s spending plans has expressed his distaste at the tax burden swelling to its highest level since the 1950s.
Speaking to City A.M., Tory MP Mel Stride, who chairs the Treasury Committee, expressed concerns over Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s decision to finance a ramping up of government spending through tax hikes.
Asked by City A.M. whether he was comfortable with being a member of a Conservative party that will oversee the tax burden reaching historically high rates, Stride said he was “not comfortable with it”.
He cast doubt over whether Sunak would meet his new spending targets, arguing that “given the fiscal headroom that he’s left himself, I think you’d have to say there’s a good chance he won’t hit [them].”
In his third budget last month, Sunak promised to reduce the size of the UK’s underlying debt pile relative to the size of the British economy and to fund government day-to-day spending through taxation.
The Chancellor has bet on meeting his new targets as a means to slash taxes in the coming years.
However, Stride questioned whether Sunak’s goals were achievable.
“It’s hard to see immediately that there’s an easy glide path down to lower taxes,” he said.
“If he can’t hit” his fiscal targets, then there would be a lack of “firepower” to allow Sunak to start cutting taxes if he continues spending at the rate set out in the budget, Stride added.