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UK’s Sunak says his priority is to cut taxes

Randy Mancini 5 Mar 18
Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak hosts a news conference in the Downing Street Briefing Room in London
FILE PHOTO: Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak hosts a news conference in the Downing Street Briefing Room in London, Britain February 3, 2022. Justin Tallis/Pool via REUTERS

March 18, 2022

LONDON (Reuters) -British finance minister Rishi Sunak said on Friday his priority was now to cut taxes having already taken measures to tackle the huge hole in the public finances caused by his pandemic public spending surge.

“We’ve made the difficult decisions that we have to make,” Sunak told a conference organised by his Conservative Party.

“My priority going forward is to cut taxes. I made that very clear at the budget.”

Sunak said changes to the welfare benefits system he announced last year represented a start to the process of cutting taxes. “My plan over the course of this parliament is to keep cutting taxes get the tax burden down,” he said.

The government’s tax take is on course to reach its highest since the 1950s – upsetting many Conservative lawmakers – after Sunak announced an increase in social security contributions from April and a big hike in corporation tax in 2023.

He is due to deliver a half-yearly budget update on March 23 and is under pressure to spend billions of pounds more to ease the growing cost-of-living squeeze.

“No government can solve every problem, particularly when you’re grappling with global inflationary forces,” he told the conference on Friday when asked about his Spring Statement.

“But as you saw a month or so ago – when we announced a very significant intervention to help people meet some of the additional cost of energy bills – where we can make a difference of course I can, I’m always going to do that.”

(Reporting by William James Writing by William Schomberg)