Nick Robinson Skewers Jeremy Hunt By Pointing Out The Major Flaw In His Claim Labour Will Hike VAT

Nick Robinson skewered Jeremy Hunt this morning.
Nick Robinson skewered Jeremy Hunt this morning. BBC/PA Images

Nick Robinson skewered Jeremy Hunt by pointing out the major flaw in his claim that a Labour government would put up VAT.

The veteran BBC broadcaster gave the chancellor a brief political history lesson about which party is the only one to have increased the rate over the past 40 years. Spoiler alert: it’s not Labour.

Hunt has accused Keir Starmer’s party of secretly planning to hike VAT to pay for its spending plans if it wins the election on July 4 - a claim denied by shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves.

On Radio Four’s Today programme, Robinson told the chancellor: “You attack the Labour Party this morning and say they’ve got a secret plan to increase VAT.

“Which party put VAT up to 15%? Which party then put it up to 17.5%? Which party then increased it to 20%?

“Every increase in VAT there’s been in your political lifetime - Thatcher, Major and Cameron - they were increased by Conservative governments.”

Hunt replied: “I am not pretending that there haven’t been times when Conservative governments haven’t put up taxes.

“Here is the real choice in this election campaign: a Conservative government that wants to bring down the tax burden ... a Labour government will keep taxes as they are, and in fact we believe they will need to increase taxes.”

Robinson also highlighted the chaos of the last five years of Tory government as he mocked Hunt’s claim that Labour were too much of a “risk” to be put in power.

He said: “Are the Conservatives really saying that it is risky to change government after a period of office in which living standards are lower, waiting lists are higher, immigration is higher, you’ve had five prime ministers, you’re ripped up our relationship with out main trading partners and everybody can remember the panic they felt when Liz Truss’s mini-Budget caused the Bank of England and the markets to panic?

“You want us to think risk is why we should vote Conservative?”

Hunt replied: “I absolutely do think it is my job to highlight the risks of a Labour government that crashed the economy before and I believe, even if they didn’t crash it, would fail to grow it in the way it needs to grow in the years ahead.”