Nigel Farage Mocked Over Reform UK's 'Deeply Unserious' Plan To Cut Taxes And Raise Spending

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage launches 'Our Contract with You' in Merthyr Tydfil.
Reform UK leader Nigel Farage launches 'Our Contract with You' in Merthyr Tydfil. Ben Birchall - PA Images via Getty Images

Reform UK’s plans to cut taxes while also massively increasing public spending has been branded “deeply unserious” as the party unveiled its general election “contract” with voters.

The document - which party leader Nigel Farage refused to call a manifesto - was launched as the right-wing party threatens to torpedo any lingering chance the Tories had of staying in power.

It included plans to boost public spending by £141 billion a year - many times more than either Labour or the Conservatives have proposed - while at the same time cutting taxes by £70 billion.

The party also proposed to save money by slashing the foreign aid budget, reducing red tape, cutting the number of civil servants and collecting billions in unpaid tax.

Other pledges include scrapping the UK’s net zero commitments, reducing NHS waiting lists to zero, pulling the country out of the European Convention on Human Rights and freezing “non-essential” immigration.

Carl Emmerson, deputy director at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, described Reform UK’s economic plans as “problematic”.

He said: “Spending reductions would save less than stated, and the tax cuts would cost more than stated, by a margin of tens of billions of pounds per year.

“Meanwhile, the spending increases would cost more than stated if they are to achieve their objectives.”

Emmerson added: “Even with the extremely optimistic assumptions about how much economic growth would increase, the sums in this manifesto do not add up.”

At the launch of the 26-page document in Merthyr Tydfil, Farage also endured a rough ride from sceptical political journalists who queried the party’s proposals.

The BBC’s Alex Forsyth said: “You’ve talked about the costings, you’ve talked about the spendings, but some of the stuff in here - a freeze on immigration, NHS waiting lists down to zero, more police officers.

“You accuse other parties of broken promises, but isn’t this a list of unrealistic promises - wish-list rather than a serious plan? Aren’t you doing what you accuse others of, which is chucking out a load of things which sound popular in the hope you get votes, that you never plan to deliver on?”

Farage replied: “It is a promise that this is what we’re going to campaign for over the course of the next five years.”

He said that Reform UK would not win the election, but would be “a voice of opposition to Labour” in the Commons.

“We’ve laid out very clearly where we stand philosophically, ideologically, on a number of things and this is what we’re going to fight for,” Farage added. “I see no inconsistency with that whatsoever.”

Sky News deputy political editor Sam Coates told Farage: “In your contract, your proposing to spend an extra £141 billion every year. That’s about 30 times the amount that Labour say they’re going to spend, 10 times the amount of the Tories and about three times what Liz Truss spent.

“You did say you weren’t going to win the next election, but the scale of this - it’s deeply unserious, isn’t it?”

Farage replied: “That’s right, it’s radical, it’s fresh thinking, it’s outside the box, it’s not what you’re going to get with the current Labour and Conservative parties, who are virtually indistinguishable from each other.

“Is this radical, fresh thinking on economics? Yes. Is it radical, fresh thinking on constitutional change? Yes. Is it very radical change on the way our education system is currently bringing up our young children? Yes.

“Britain is broken, Britain needs reform. That’s what we’re here for, that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re unashamedly radical - we want change.”