Boris Johnson Said He’s Cutting Taxes. Experts Say That's Not True

·2-min read
(Photo: House of Commons - PA Images via Getty Images)
(Photo: House of Commons - PA Images via Getty Images)

(Photo: House of Commons - PA Images via Getty Images)

Bois Johnson has said he is cutting taxes, despite expert economists having said the government is actually putting them up.

Speaking during prime minister's questions on Wednesday, Johnson also repeated the false claim there are more people in work than there were before the pandemic.

Taxes are going up not down

Johnson told MPs: “We are responsible for cutting taxes for everybody, which is what we’re actually doing.”

But the respected independent Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) think-tank has said this is not true.

The IFS pointedly branded Rishi Sunak a “fiscal illusionist” last month for claiming to have cut taxes when in fact he was allowing them to go up.

In his mini-Budget Spring Statement, the chancellor raised the income threshold for people to start paying National Insurance.

And he also promised to cut the basic rate of income tax from 20p to 19p in the pound before the end of this parliament in 2024.

But the IFS said the tax cutting measures in the spring statement were outweighed by other tax rises.

“Sunak’s statement contained big new tax cuts. But it also allowed taxes to rise,” the IFS said.

“He can now expect to raise more in tax as a share of national income by 2025 than he expected last October.”

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), the official independent body that examines the government’s public finances, also dismissed the tax cutting claim.

It said the overall tax burden would be the “highest since the late 1940s under Clement Attlee’s post-war government”.

Speaking after PMQs, the prime minister's spokesman said: "The chancellor has set out a number of cuts - cuts to national insurance, cuts to fuel duty, cuts to taxes on small business, cuts on income tax and also we're doing things like extending the household support fund."

None of which backs up what the PM told the Commons.

Employment has gone down not up

Johnson also said there are “more people in work than there were before the pandemic”.

This is incorrect. And the UK Statistics Authority has previously berated the prime minister for saying it.

While the number of people on payrolls is higher than before the pandemic, this is more than offset by the number of self-employed people who no longer have work.

The number of people in work is actually estimated to be 588,000 fewer than before Covid hit - comparing December 2019 to February 2020 with October to December 2021.

Johnson did later correct himself during PMQs to say there were more a half a million people “back on the payroll” than there were before the pandemic began.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.


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