MORE tax cuts are on the way after Jeremy Hunt declared yesterday’s package just the “start”.
The Chancellor paved the way for further relief at the next spring Budget – likely the last chance for vote-winning giveaways before an election.
He said: “We have made a start. I don't pretend and I've never pretended that we were going to get there in one go.”
Yesterday’s Autumn Statement slashed the rate of National Insurance, eased business taxes and froze alcohol duty.
Mr Hunt claimed the measures amounted to the biggest set of tax cuts since the 1980s and would help jump-start the spluttering economy.
But many Tory MPs are pressing him to go much harder after economists warned the overall tax burden is still reaching a record high.
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Ministers are facing calls to unfreeze tax thresholds to stop millions of workers being dragged into paying higher rates.
Grilled this morning Mr Hunt said: “Yesterday I did make a start in bringing down the tax burden, I’ve never said we’re going to get there all in one go.
“But it is very significant that for the first time, because the economy is stronger than people predicted, we’re able to make a start.
“I could have done lots of things with the headroom I had, but fundamentally as a Conservative I believe that lower taxes are the way to grow the economy.”
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He defended prioritising tax cuts ahead of pouring more funding into cash-starved public services.
And he conceded taxes have gone up in recent years to pay for multi-billion pound Covid measures like furlough.
Mr Hunt swatted away speculation that yesterday’s package was deliberately deployed to woo voters ahead of next year’s likely election.
Eyebrows were raised when the Chancellor fast-tracked the National Insurance cut to kick in on January 6 rather than in April as usual.
Describing such speculation as “silly”, Mr Hunt told LBC: “I can confirm, regarding the date of the election, that I've had absolutely no discussions with the Prime Minister.”
Widely-expected cuts to income tax or inheritance tax could happen in the Spring Budget.
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