Michael Gove rejects tax cut calls as NI hike gets go ahead despite cost of living crisis

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Mr Gove appeared to rule out introducing tax cuts during his appearances on several news networks yesterday despite the cost of living crisis. The announcement comes just weeks before Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to deliver his spring statement.

The Brexit-backing Surrey Heath MP told the BBC: “We’re very aware that there are cost-of-living pressures that will accumulate as a result of what’s going on in Ukraine.”

When asked if Mr Sunak would consider any reduction to the tax burden, Mr Gove added: “No. What we have to do at the moment is to provide support in every way possible that is targeted.”

Asked specifically about calls to axe the 1.25 percent hike in National Insurance, the Housing Secretary said: “We’re not doing that – we need that National Insurance increase in order to make sure that we can fund the NHS and social care to deal with the Covid backlog.”

However, Mr Gove confirmed further measures would be kept “under review”.

The price of energy and fuel is of particular concern for many Brits.

Unleaded petrol per pence reached a record-high of 151.67 in March, according to RAC.

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The per pence price of diesel also hit 155.23 in the most recent average.

Energy bills are expected to cost the average household an extra £693 a year as price caps are set to rise in April.

And there are growing concerns the cost could increase yet again following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Boris Johnson’s Government has attempted to help alleviate the pressure by introducing a £150 council tax rebate on February 3.

The move is expected to leave 80 percent of households with more money in their pockets.

However, several Conservative MPs have voiced concern about the Chancellor’s reluctance to cut taxes.

Sir John Redwood told the Telegraph: “The Chancellor is presumably still thinking it all through, but the cost-of-living crisis has got much much worse because of the huge disruption caused by the Russian war and the sanctions.

“People on average earnings are going to be really badly hit, as well as the lower paid.

“People are going to struggle to pay the petrol bill, the diesel bill, the gas bill, the food bill as a result of these changes, and it’s desperately important to give them some money back.”

David Davis, who unsuccessfully stood in the Tory Party contest in 2005, said: “Since Mr Gove is responsible for the levelling up agenda, you would think he would be concerned about a tax increase, which is heavily regressive as this one is, to fall on low and middle income people more than anybody else.

“On all fronts, the Government ought to rethink even if it needs to use world conditions as a reason for rethinking.

“On many counts, the simplest way to deal with this is to stop the tax increases and then see how the economy develops.”

The ex-Brexit Secretary, who called on Boris Johnson to quit following ‘partygate’, added: “Their forecasts for the state of the national balance sheet were pessimistic by £50 billion at the first round and £15-20 billion at the second.

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“They don’t actually need this money this year.”

However, it is not just Tories who have voiced concern about tax rises.

During a keynote speech at the Liberal Democrat party conference, Sir Ed Davey said: “So, Rishi Sunak: Drop your unfair tax rises. Scrap the National Insurance hike.”

The TaxPayers’ Alliance, a pressure group based in Westminster, are also urging the Chancellor to cut the burden facing British households.

Danielle Boxall, media campaign manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, told Express.co.uk: “Virtually everyone can see that immediate tax hikes are the last thing Britain needs right now.

“Taxpayers are facing the highest-burden in 70 years, and are crying out for politicians to relieve the pressures whittling away the money in their wallets.

“The chancellor should take heed and use his spring statement to give families and businesses a respite from tax rises.”

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