Politics

Lord Frost twists the knife as he contrasts Boris Johnson’s taxation claims with ‘reality’

Brexit: Frost says 'we drifted away from those who elected us'

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The former Brexit minister took to Twitter to highlight the contrast between Mr Johnson’s bullish assessment and another more downbeat one. Lord Frost has made little secret of his concerns about high levels of taxation when he confirmed his decision to quit the Cabinet last month.

On Sunday he posted: “The PM this morning in @thesundaytimes: “We are tax-cutting Conservatives. We believe people are the best judges of how to spend their money.”

Sharing a link to a separate comment piece, he added: “The reality, set out by @olivershah in the same paper.”

Mr Johnson has been under considerable criticism for his decision to increase National Insurance contributions from next April by 1.25 percent.

In an op-ed written along with Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Mr Johnson said: “We must go ahead with the health and care levy.

“It is progressive: the burden falls most on those who can most afford it.”

He added: “Every penny of that £39billion will go on crucial objectives – including nine million more checks, scans and operations, and 50,000 more nurses, as well as boosting social care.”

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However, Mr Shah was far less convinced in an op-ed in which he asked: “When was the tax burden last this high?”

He added: “By 2026-27, when the various post-Covid measures set out last year by Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak will have kicked in, the tax burden will be 36.2 per cent of GDP – its highest level since the early 1950s, under Clement Attlee’s Labour government.

“At the same time, the state is expanding to a relative size not seen in more than 40 years. Public spending is forecast to settle at 41.6 percent of GDP.

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“According to the independent fiscal watchdog, that’s the highest sustained rate since Jim Callaghan’s government of the late 1970s – also Labour.”

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss later insisted the Government is “committed to cutting taxes”.

“Taxes are never popular”, Ms Truss admitted, but said significant amounts of money spent dealing with the Covid crisis “need to be paid back”.

She added: “As soon as possible, we want to be in a position to lower our tax rates, we want to drive economic growth, because ultimately that is what will make our country successful.

“But we do face a short-term issue, which is that we have spent significant amounts of money dealing with the Covid crisis that does need to be paid back.”

Speaking to Sky News, also on Sunday, Lisa Nandy, Shadow Communities Secretary, claimed the Government had “really missed the point” with its “levelling up” agenda.

She said: “They have got to get money back into people’s pockets,” the shadow levelling up, housing and communities secretary told Sky News. “Right across this country, town centres are not thriving, high streets are falling apart.”

Ms Nandy added: “Because not only have we seen good wages, good jobs depart from many parts of the country over recent decades, it’s been turbocharged in the last 10 years.

“And, right now, energy bills are going up, shopping prices are sky-high and people are about to face a tax hike.”

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