RISHI Sunak today vowed his “mission” was to cut people’s taxes and get more money in people’s pockets as soon as he can.
The Chancellor vowed that he would look to slash rates in future – even as ministers vowed to plough ahead with the National Insurance tax hike in a few weeks time.
Speaking just before his spring statement on Wednesday, Mr Sunak hinted that he would cut fuel duty to help hard-pressed motorists.
And he refused to rule out changing the threshold of National Insurance – meaning that lower paid could get taken out of the damaging tax rise to come.
Mr Sunak suggested upcoming extra help would target the very lowest paid and poorest Brits who needed it the most.
He slapped down calls for a VAT cut to energy, saying it wouldn’t be “targeted” enough.
Mr Sunak said: “My priority over the rest of this Parliament is to cut people’s taxes. That is my mission.”
Asked about the National Insurance rise and any plan to change thresholds, he said: “I do believe they are the right and responsible decisions for the long-term economic security of this country, we’ve done it in a fair way, and going forward my priority is to cut tax and put money back in people’s pockets.”
He defended the new taxes as the right thing to do to fund the NHS and bring waiting times down, adding: I know it’s difficult, but you can be reassured that every penny you pay of this levy, unlike any other tax, goes directly to the thing that you care most about which is the NHS.”
It came as he announced plans to double the NHS efficiency target today – effectively meaning they will have to make even bigger waste savings to make sure every pound is well-spent.
He promised those struggling: “Judge me by my actions – and over the last couple of years you’ll see – that those on the lowest incomes have actually seen the greatest amount of support from this Government.”
At the moment millions of people’s benefits and pensions are expected to rise by 3 per cent – which was in line with inflation six months ago when the decision was made.
But now it’s reaching nearly 6 per cent, it means the gains will be wiped out by higher prices.
The Chancellor today refused to rule out a bigger increase in the uplift to help those struggling – which would put extra cash in people’s pockets.
He added: “Where we can make a difference, of course we will.”
The PM yesterday piled on the pressure to his Chancellor ahead of the fiscal event on Wednesday, insisting: “we must respond” to the cost of living crisis hitting millions of families.