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Former Treasury minister David Gauke has warned that tax increases or spending cuts would be needed to pay for the Chancellor’s “plan for jobs” which could come with a price tag of up to £30billion. Express.co.uk conducted an exclusive poll to gauge readers’ feelings as the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) warned Britons are facing decades of tax rises.
When asked “Would you support a rise in tax to pay for the coronavirus rescue fund?” readers were split almost down the middle.
However, the majority (53 percent; 1,475) said they would not be happy paying more taxes to fund the package.
Forty-five percent (1,373) said they would be prepared to pay higher taxes to meet the cost of Mr Sunak’s ambitious plan
Just two percent (58) said they were unsure about how they felt about the prospect.
A total of 2,906 readers took part in the survey between 2.50pm and 9pm on Sunday, July 12.
One female reader said: “No British taxpayer should pay extra until the ludicrous foreign aid budget is cut and Google, Amazon et al are made to pay their fair share.”
A second said the foreign aid budget should be cut before Britain’s most vulnerable are hit with higher taxes.
They wrote: “Let’s start by scrapping all forms of CO2 taxes and all forms of foreign aid before we start making the vulnerable in our society pay for this Marxist nonsense.”
And yet another demanded the Government “scrap foreign aid” to foot the bill.
Others warned about potentially damaging effects of higher taxes.
They argued that “tax increases will stifle recovery” in the months and years after the crisis of a generation.
One angry reader said instead of expecting British taxpayers to pay the cost of the recovery package, the UK should instead send the bill to China, where the virus was first detected late last year.
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They said: “The only people that should be picking this bill up are the ones responsible for the outbreak in the first place, plus those who covered it up.”
Those who backed the tax increases called for a fair and equal system.
One person said: “The tax increase must be for ALL people and not just those who have worked hard and paid taxes so that they can buy their own homes, cars etc.
“Those who live in social/affordable housing must also contribute.”
The IFS has said the country could face decades of tax rises to repair finances, adding that managing the elevated debt from the pandemic would be a task “for not just the current Chancellor, but also many of his successors”.
Mr Gauke, who left the Commons last year, wrote in the Observer that “tax increases will have to do most of the heavy lifting” when the Government tries to balance the books.
He said that the spending pledges would see government debt grow larger than the size of the UK economy, and the “political challenge” in increasing tax by the required amount would be “immense”.
He wrote: “Unlike the situation in 2010, it is hard to see that there are substantial savings to be made in Government spending.
“The one obvious exception is the pension triple lock – if wages are stagnant (or even falling) and inflation is negligible, it would be an act of inter-generational unfairness to increase the state pension by 2.5 percent.
“To give an indication of the scale of the undertaking, a £40bn tax rise would be the equivalent of an increase of 7p on the basic rate of income tax or raising the standard rate of VAT by 6 percent.”
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