Coronavirus: Boris Johnson says we must also 'clap for bankers who make our NHS possible'

Rob Merrick

Boris Johnson urged the public to “clap for bankers” as he appeared to rule out tax hikes on the rich to pay for the economic crash sparked by coronavirus.

Seeking to calm Conservative fears about an infrastructure spending splurge, the prime minister insisted he was committed to “free market enterprise”.

“I am not a communist,” Mr Johnson promised, adding: “Yes, of course we clap for our NHS, but under this government we also applaud those who make our NHS possible.

“Our innovators, our wealth creators, our capitalists and financiers – because, in the end, it is their willingness to take risks with their own money that will be crucial for our future success.”

Speaking in the West Midlands – where he promised a bonfire of planning rules, so spark more housebuilding – Mr Johnson also hinted the rich were safe from future tax increases.

“When I say level up, I don’t mean attacking our great companies. I don’t mean impeding the success of London – far from it,” he pledged.

“Or launching some punitive raid on the wealth creators. I don’t believe in tearing people down any more than I believe in tearing down statues that are part of our heritage.”

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