‘Tax cutting or not? Why won’t you say?’ Rishi Sunak skewered in brutal BBC Marr clash

Rishi Sunak grilled by Andrew Marr on cutting taxes

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The BBC’s Andrew Marr repeatedly questioned Rishi Sunak on whether he was a “tax-cutting Chancellor or not”. Mr Sunak dodged the question, and said he will discuss his plans “next week at the Budget”. However, Mr Marr refused to relent, saying that Conservative MPs watching will wonder whether Mr Sunak was a “tax-cutting conservative or a big-state socialist”.

Mr Marr asked: “By the end of this parliament, will you be a tax-cutting Chancellor?”

Mr Sunak dodged the question, responding: “I’ll take about that next week at the Budget.”

The BBC host followed up: “But, broadly speaking?

“Lots of Conservatives will be watching and asking themselves, is he a tax-cutting Chancellor or is he not? Is he a big state-socialist?”

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Mr Marr added: “You can’t tell me whether you’ll be a tax-cutting Chancellor in principle by the end of this parliament?”

Mr Sunak explained: “Of course, my instincts are to do that, that’s what I believe.

“I want people to keep more of their money, I want to reward people for working.

“But, I’ve had to grapple with the biggest economic shock in 300 years, borrowing at the highest since the WW2, and record backlogs in the NHS.”

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This comes amid a Tory backlash to Mr Sunak refusal to cut business rates in Wednesday’s Budget to help struggling firms.

Former minister David Davis warned that the Government’s high tax plans could lead the UK “on to the rocks”.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday today, the former Brexit minister said the Budget will determine whether Mr Sunak is genuinely a ‘Thatcherite’, as he has previously claimed.


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Mr Davis wrote: “I knew Margaret Thatcher, so I will watch with interest whether he can match the brilliance that Thatcher, and her great Chancellor Nigel Lawson brought to government.

“Sadly, every indication so far is that his current course will take us on to the rocks – not away from them.

“I fear Rishi will do so by making a most un-Thatcherite choice to persevere with raising taxes as the solution to ballooning Government debt.”

Both the Chancellor and Prime Minister Boris Johnson have repeatedly faced down Tory criticism over their economic plans.

They have insisted that higher taxation must be used instead of increasing public borrowing as the economy emerges from the pandemic. 

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