Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak has defended his decision to swell the tax burden to its highest level in decades.
Responding to a grilling from fellow MPs on the Treasury Committee, Sunak said last week’s bumper budget spending spree was designed to deliver on a “bunch of commitments” the government promised to achieve.
The Chancellor’s decision to ramp up government spending by £150bn will be largely funded by him raising the tax burden to its highest level since the 1950s.
Sunak highlighted that “the state is taking a lot of money from people”, but stressed he is committed to ensuring “that money gets spent really well”.
Sunak’s wave of spending is likely to lay the groundwork for a permanently more punitive tax regime that will intensify the cost living crisis, leaving Brits “worse off in the short term”, the Institute for Fiscal Studies warned last week.
The state is set to grow to its largest level since the 1970s under the government’s spending plans.
However, the Chancellor fought back against his critics, highlighting that greater spending can yield economic gains.
He said he would “prefer not to have to put taxes up on people — but you do get something for that money, right?”
“It’s all very well to just look at the taxes without looking at what you’re getting.”
His comments came after the government’s fiscal watchdog gave a murky assessment of whether the Chancellor can reach his spending goals.
Also giving evidence to the Treasury Committee, chair of the Office for Budget Responsibility, Richard Hughes, said Sunak will be in for a “wild ride” to keep to his brand new fiscal rules over the coming years.