Rishi promises ‘no austerity’ to pay for Covid — but there will be massive tax hikes
RISHI Sunak has vowed there will be “no return to austerity” to pay for Covid — but gave notice of massive tax hikes.
The Chancellor, who presents his one-year Spending Review on Wednesday, warned that tough times are coming.
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Rishi Sunak vows there will be ‘no return to austerity’ to pay for coronavirus[/caption]
Post-Covid parties in 2022 will include the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations[/caption]
He even joked he would have to “take away the credit card” from big-spending PM Boris Johnson.
But Mr Sunak insisted now is not the time to impose tax rises “in the fog of enormous economic uncertainty”.
Yet he signalled he would have to begin to balance the books next year and the pain must be shared, meaning tax increases would happen.
Mr Sunak will attempt to sugarcoat the pain with £152million earmarked for post-Covid parties in 2022.
The cash will go towards the Festival UK — a showcase of all the great things about the country, nicknamed the Festival of Brexit — as well as the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
He said: “It has been an incredibly difficult year so I’m delighted the country has a number of exciting events to look forward to.”
But a major row has erupted over Mr Sunak’s plans to freeze public sector pay.
TUC boss Frances O’Grady said nothing could be ruled out when asked if she would advocate strike action.
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Mr Sunak called it entirely reasonable to consider a pay freeze in an economy ravaged by coronavirus, though it is said to exempt NHS nurses and doctors.
Labour claimed a freeze — including firefighters, hospital porters and teaching assistants — will “make them worried about making ends meet ahead of Christmas”.
But Mr Sunak said: “What you will see is an increase in Government spending on day-to-day public services.”
THE SUN SAYS
CHANCELLOR Rishi Sunak has had a “good pandemic” so far.
The furlough scheme is working well (after a few initial hiccups). And his generous package for the hospitality sector stopped thousands of pubs and restaurants being driven into the ground.
But giving away money was the easy bit. And Mr Sunak must think very carefully indeed about the measures he takes now to plug the gaping, Covid-shaped hole in public finances.
A freeze to public sector pay we can countenance. In fact, it would hardly seem fair if private sector workers — who have been through the mill this year — were taxed to high heaven in order to give state workers with secure jobs a pay rise.
Hiking corporation tax, on the other hand, would be an epic mistake.
Even a small rise would cripple small firms desperately trying to get back on their feet after lockdown.
And deterring entrepreneurs and chief executives from creating companies would be madness when unemployment is at a four-year high already — and set to spiral in the months ahead.
We’re not surprised that Mr Sunak wants to refill the country’s coffers: it’s downright alarming that Britain is £2 TRILLION in debt.
But bleeding companies dry is no way to go about it.
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