Rishi Sunak refuses to rule out tax rises to pay for coronavirus spending

9 July 2020, 09:13 | Updated: 9 July 2020, 09:28

By Adrian Sherling

Rishi Sunak has refused to rule out tax rises in the future to pay for his spending to combat the effects of coronavirus.

Rishi Sunak announced a mini-budget yesterday, including bonuses to keep furloughed staff in work and a stamp duty holiday.

The Chancellor says it's too early to predict how long it will take for the UK to recover from the pandemic. But he refused to rule out future tax rises to pay for the stimulus.

Rishi Sunak spoke to Nick Ferrari following the summer statement
Rishi Sunak spoke to Nick Ferrari following the summer statement. Picture: LBC

Asked whether tax rises would be necessary to help pay for that, he said: “You’re right, of course we need to make sure we have sustainable public finances.

“I think I would differentiate between the things we do this year that are one-off and time limited to help, in the first instance, protect people’s jobs, but also protect the long-term damage on our economy.

“I think those are the right things to do so that the long-term damage is minimised.

“Over the medium term, we obviously can’t live like this, everyone appreciates that, and we’ll have to return our public finances to a sustainable position over a reasonable period of time, that’s the right thing to do for the economy, not least, as we’ve seen, because things come along, and we need to be able to have the strength to respond to them.

“I will make the decisions that are required, difficult as they may be, to do that.

“I think it’s too early to say exactly what the shape of our recovery looks like, the time period over which that should happen and how it should happen, so I wouldn’t want to speculate now, but people should know I am very committed to making sure that we do that and I'm unafraid to make whatever difficult decisions are required."

When asked again about tax increases, he said: "I wouldn't want to speculate on the shape of the future.

"We all want to see strong public finances. This is hopefully a one-off situation that's required a particular response to try and minimise the damage.

"Once we get through it and we're more back to normal then we need to have more normal public finances over time.

"That won't obviously happen overnight, this will take a little bit of time to recover from, but over time we need to get back to a sustainable position."