Cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg says the nation is ‘taxed as highly as the country can afford’ as he fires a pre-Budget warning shot at Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak
- Jacob Rees-Mogg warned the UK is ‘taxed as highly as the country can afford’
- Said it is ‘simply false’ to think there is ‘extra tax’ that can be found from people
- Comments will be viewed as warning shot as Boris Johnson prepares for Budget
The Cabinet minister said it is ‘simply false’ to think there is ‘extra tax’ which could be painlessly extracted from the pockets of families.
The Commons Leader said that if taxes are hiked too far then the Treasury will ‘find there is less money’ because the wealthy will simply move their assets abroad.
His comments will be seen as a direct challenge to the Prime Minister and the Chancellor as they prepare to deliver the Autumn Budget on October 27.
Jacob Rees-Mogg has said the UK is ‘taxed as highly as the country can afford’ in a warning shot to Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak before the Budget
Mr Rees-Mogg’s remarks will be seen as a direct challenge to the Prime Minister and the Chancellor as they prepare to deliver the Autumn Budget on October 27
Mr Johnson last month tore up a Tory manifesto pledge not to increase taxes as he announced plans to hike National Insurance to deliver a funding boost to the NHS and social care.
That decision sparked widespread Tory concern as MPs predicted a backlash at the ballot box.
The state of the nation’s finances in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic has prompted fears of further tax rises as the Government tries to balance the books.
But Mr Rees-Mogg cautioned against additional tax hikes as he was interviewed on the Telegraph’s ‘Chopper’s Politics’ podcast.
Grilled by a group of sixth form students on why billionaires do not pay more tax, Mr Rees-Mogg reportedly said: ‘We are as highly taxed in this country as we have been… pretty much since the war, certainly since Harold Wilson was prime minister.
‘The idea that there is all this extra tax to be plucked out is simply false. If we are to have a strong and growing economy, we are taxed as highly as the country can afford.’
The Tory frontbencher said that ‘actually if you increase taxes, you will find there is less money, partly because billionaires can just leave’.
Mr Sunak and Mr Johnson launched a tax raid on National Insurance last month, sparking widespread Tory concern
He said that increased taxation also ‘lowers economic growth’ and ‘it’s economic growth that we need’ in order to pay for public services.
Mr Rees-Mogg said that the Tories had ‘always been the party of low taxation and sound mone’ but ‘sometimes there’s a tension between the two’.
The comments are likely to raise eyebrows in the Treasury, with senior ministers normally dodging questions on tax policy by insisting they are a matter for the Chancellor.