It is time to cut the tax burden that is holding Britain back
The triple threat of inflation, a high tax burden , and sluggish growth is harming household budgets and impacting businesses. Britain has faced down similar challenges in the past – and we must learn from history to chart a new economic course for our country.
Those old enough to remember the 1970s will recall a decade of economic chaos. Double-digit inflation was a feature of the economy, even peaking at more than 20 per cent. We had income tax rates at astronomical levels, punishing hard-working families as well as investors and entrepreneurs. Unemployment was rising, we faced rampant and militant industrial action, and Britain had lost its sense of direction.
But our country was led out of the economic doldrums by the visionary leadership of Margaret Thatcher, Geoffrey Howe, and Nigel Lawson. Those great reforming Conservative governments of the 1980s faced down their critics and created the framework for our country to success along a different economic path.
Back then, we embraced our mission as Conservatives to deliver more economic freedoms and trust the ingenuity and brilliance of the British people to create wealth, prosperity, and growth in our economy.
In those tough and challenging times, we did not fall back on taking more tax and growing the size of the state, but we cut taxes and unleashed supply side reforms to turbocharge our economy.
Our economy grew, created jobs , and spread wealth and prosperity because we freed people and businesses from the shackles of socialism that had held them back.
Over that decade, inflation came down to more manageable levels, people gained more security and success as we became a property-owning democracy and our economic growth restored our place as a global power.
Now let’s roll forward 30 years to the present. We have all seen the damage that inflation is doing to household budgets, with more families feeling the pressures caused by rising costs of housing, food, and energy.
Those on low and middle incomes are feeling the squeeze as the costs of essentials rise faster than their earnings. While the rate of inflation is falling and this is welcome, falling inflation is not the same as a tax cut. Prices are still going up and eating away at disposable incomes while also putting businesses at risk. What Britain needs now is a real tax cut to help families and businesses.
The high tax burden and levels of state spending across the economy are holding our country back and will continue to do so, with government borrowing more than £100 billion a year.
Households are being affected by the freeze in income tax thresholds which will continue until 2028, dragging more people into paying income tax and more into paying the higher rate of tax. In 1990, about one in 14 earners paid the higher rate. By 2028, it could be as many as one in five.
Businesses are being hit by high corporation tax rates and our high streets face pressures caused by business rates.
The Government needs to understand that we cannot tax our country to economic growth and the state cannot spend its way to deliver prosperity. I believe that it is our mission as Conservatives to give households, businesses, and enterprises the economic freedom to succeed. They will grow our economy and create jobs if the Government gives them to tools to do so.
A strong long-term economic vision embracing our Conservative values will deliver a bold, ambitious, and sound plan to let people keep more of what they earn and free businesses to invest by cutting the tax burden that is holding Britain back.
It worked in the 1980s, when we won election after election. If the Government does that now, then we have a powerful message to take to the doorsteps of Britain at the next general election.
Priti’s article in the Daily Telegraph, Monday 2nd October 2023