Nick Robinson Accuses Tories Of Being 'Fundamentally Dishonest' Over Tax Claims

Jeremy Hunt said he was introducing the "biggest tax cut since the 1980s" but the overall burden is going up.
Nick Robinson grilled Jeremy Hunt on the Today programme.
Nick Robinson grilled Jeremy Hunt on the Today programme.

Nick Robinson has accused the Tories of being “fundamentally dishonest” for claiming Jeremy Hunt had cut tax in the autumn statement.

The chancellor brought down National Insurance and business taxes to the tune of around £20 billion yesterday.

But despite that, the overall tax burden is set to soar to a new post-war high by the end of the decade.

On Radio Four’s Today programme this morning, presenter Robinson told Hunt: “The Conservative Party has adverts today saying it’s the biggest tax cut ever. Can we just agree that that is fundamentally dishonest at a time that the tax take in this country is officially - it’s not disputable - going up, not down?”

But the chancellor hit back: “I fundamentally disagree with what you’ve just said, Nick, and I’ll tell you why.

“It was right to help families with things like the furlough scheme, which protected 9 million jobs, to help families with the biggest cost of living crisis since the 1970s.

“Yes, taxes have had to go up so we can pay down those Covid debts, but yesterday I did make a start in bringing down the tax burden.

“I’ve never said we were going to get there in one go, but it was very sigfinicant that for the first time, because the economy is stronger than people predicted, we were able to make a start.”

Robinson said: “So we’re agreeing that the tax burden is higher, not lower?”

Hunt replied: “Yes. I could have done lots of things with the additional headroom that I had, but fundamentally as a Conservative I believe that lower taxes is how you generate more growth in the economy.”

Robinson also took the chancellor to task over his decision to cut Whitehall budgets while reducing some taxes.

He said: “You took 20 billion away from protection for the public services, the police, for prisons, for schools, and you gave it away in tax cuts. Why is that the right thing to do?

Hunt said: “The decisions that I took yesterday on tax will increase our GDP by about 0.3% permanently and in the longer run, the decisions on things like capital allowances for businesses are how we will grow the economy and have more money for public services like the NHS.”


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