Tory backbenchers are pushing for tax cuts after Boris Johnson reportedly showed ‘more than a little bit of ankle’ in doing so to tackle the cost of living crisis.
Jake Berry, the Tory MP who leads a group of Tories representing northern constituencies, said it was ‘now or never’ for Mr Johnson to act to deal with squeezed household budgets.
Sky News earlier revealed the Prime Minister told MPs who attended a garden party in Downing Street that he believed cutting taxes was the way to solve the crisis.
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Mr Johnson had told the House of Commons on Tuesday that he and Chancellor Rishi Sunak would ‘say more about this in the coming days’ – but the Treasury immediately clearly indicated that there would be no emergency budget.
Michael Gove, the upgrade secretary, told Sky News Wednesday that the Prime Minister’s words had been “overinterpreted”, but claimed the government will “say more and do more to help people”.
Mr Berry said action had to be taken now if the party was to continue to be seen as “the new party in the north” – where the Tories won a string of former Labor strongholds in the 2019 general election.
He told Sky News: ‘That’s why we’re working with the Prime Minister and other government ministers to find ways to help alleviate some of these cost pressures.
Asked if that meant Boris Johnson would soon be offering tax cuts, he said: “I think the Prime Minister is listening to his colleagues and he’s certainly starting to show more than a little bit of an ankle in this area. .”
Mr Berry, who chairs the Northern Research Group, added: “We want him to do more, we want him to act now.
“It’s sort of now or never for the Prime Minister on the issue of the cost of living.
“People vote for change when they don’t feel good about their own family situation and I think that’s where we come in with the challenges facing family budgets – so the Prime Minister needs to act, he needs to act now.”
David Davis, the former cabinet minister, said he was in favor of tax cuts whether it was described as an emergency budget or not.
The MP told Sky News: “I don’t care what you call it, what I want to see is either a significant tax cut – or preferably a rollback of the National Insurance increase.
“And I would add to that, frankly, the removal of VAT on fuel.
“It should be done before the summer, I think. As soon as possible, in truth.”
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The comments come at a time when households are pressured by inflation, which has hit its highest level in three decades and is expected to climb further in the fall, while economic growth is expected to reverse.
This combination of a stagnant economy at the time of high inflation prompted Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer to accuse Mr Johnson of being ‘out of ideas’ as the nation heads into a ‘stagflation crisis’ .
A Downing Street spokesman said on Wednesday that at a meeting of the government’s new cost-of-living committee, the Prime Minister had “urged ministers to move faster and be as creative as possible to make sure the government is doing everything on this important issue.”
The spokesman added: “In the coming days you will hear more from the Prime Minister about this.
“The Chancellor and the Prime Minister are working closely on this and will continue to do so.”
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