Rishi Sunak defends tax hikes and insists 'more borrowing is immoral'

4 October 2021, 13:12

Rishi Sunak defended his tax hikes during his Conservative conference speech on Monday
Rishi Sunak defended his tax hikes during his Conservative conference speech on Monday. Picture: Getty

By James Morris

Chancellor Rishi Sunak today defended the government's tax hikes, saying they are the only alternative to "immoral" borrowing that future generations would pay for.

Mr Sunak remains under pressure within Tory ranks about the historically high tax burden announced last month.

But the chancellor hit back during his Conservative Party conference speech today, saying: "Whilst I know tax rises are unpopular – some will even say un-Conservative – I'll tell you what is un-Conservative: unfunded pledges, reckless borrowing and soaring debt.

"Anyone who tells you that you can borrow more today, and tomorrow will simply sort itself out, just doesn't care about the future.”

He added public finances, following the spending of hundreds of billions of pounds during the coronavirus pandemic, “must be put back on a sustainable footing” before tax cuts can be considered.

And Mr Sunak did little to dispel the prospect of further tax rises. “I have to be blunt with you,” he said, “our recovery comes with a cost.

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"Our national debt is almost 100% of GDP. So, we need to fix our public finances. Because strong public finances don't happen by accident."

He added: "Just borrowing more money and stacking up bills for future generations to pay is not just economically irresponsible, it is immoral."