Boris Johnson piles pressure on Rishi Sunak with call to cut taxes
Boris Johnson has said the Government should reduce the tax burden to trigger economic growth, a move that puts pressure on Rishi Sunak.
Speaking in an interview on TalkTV on Friday night, the former prime minister said being tax-cutters was critical to Conservative hopes of winning the next election.
Mr Johnson’s comments come as Mr Sunak and Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor, attempt to play down expectations of tax cuts in the Budget on March 15, given that their priority is to halve inflation.
Tax tensions look set to become one of the defining political battles of the weeks ahead, with an increasingly vocal group of Conservative MPs lobbying for cuts in the spring.
‘We need to be on the front foot’
Mr Johnson said: “The fiscal position was pretty robust when I left office – we had scope to do all sorts of things and we were going to do them and I have no doubt that, when the time comes, the Government will make sure that they start to reduce the tax burden and get the economy growing again. That is what needs to happen.
“We need to be on the front foot out there talking about the benefits of Brexit, not being shy about it, not being bashful, and getting some growth back into the economy.”
His remarks appeared carefully framed to not directly challenge the Government, predicting that the steps would be taken rather than demanding them.
But Mr Johnson publicly banging the drum for tax cuts at the same time as Mr Sunak and Mr Hunt are attempting to play down expectations is likely to be jumped on by Tory tax rebels.
Treasury sources have framed inflation as a “stealth tax” in itself and repeatedly pointed to the economic implosion that followed Liz Truss’s tax-slashing mini-Budget as a warning.