Rishi Sunak Says 'People Want' Tax Cuts But The Evidence Suggests They Do Not

The prime minister has hinted he will cut taxes in the Budget, but voters want investment in public services.
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Rishi Sunak has said he wants to cut taxes because “people want” him to - but the evidence suggests he’s wrong.

The prime minister dropped another strong hint on Friday morning that tax cuts would be included in the Budget on March 6.

He told BBC Radio Solent: “I just think it’s something actually people want — I want to deliver that. I would like to be able to do more when it’s responsible to do so.”

The prime minister added: “It’s important to me because I believe hard work should be rewarded.”

His comments echo those of chancellor Jeremy Hunt, who all-but confirmed yesterday that more tax cuts are on the way.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, he said: “I look around the world and I see that the parts of the world like the United States, like Asia, that are growing the fastest, have the most dynamic economies, tend to be places with lower taxes.

“And that was why in the autumn statement, we decisively cut taxes.

“So my priority in the budget will be growth - because if I can grow the economy, that will mean that then we have more money for the NHS, we can relieve the pressure on families, we can invest in our brilliant armed forces.”

But a poll released yesterday showed if the government found it had more money than expected 54% of voters wanted it to be spent on public services not tax cuts compared to just 25% who wanted “tax cuts for people like me”.

The survey conducted by Tory donor and peer Lord Ashcroft showed even those who voted Tory in 2019 prioritised spending on public services over tax cuts by 44% to 28%.

The findings echoed those of a separate YouGov poll, which found that 60% of the public want more investment in public services, compared to 25% who would prefer tax cuts.

Among Tory voters, the split was 51% to 33%.

Despite Sunak’s claims to have cut taxes, the overall tax burden is actually set to hit a new post-war high in part as a result of his decision to freeze income tax thresholds.

Rachel Reeves, Labour’s shadow chancellor, also said yesterday her “instinct is to have lower taxes”. Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, she suggested this included for the highest earners and she wanted to ensure “success is celebrated”.


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