Boris Johnson has said he remains a “low tax Tory” despite seeing the tax burden rise to its highest level in 70 years.
Following Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget on Wednesday, analysts said the tax burden on the country was at a level not seen since Clement Attlee’s Labour government in the 1950s.
The increases have caused dismay among many Conservative MPs at a time when rising prices have left many families facing a potential cost-of-living squeeze.
Speaking to reporters on his flight to the G20 summit in Rome, the Prime Minister said the Government was right to take action to repair the damage to the public finances caused by the pandemic.
He said: “The expenditure has been colossal. The fiscal impact has colossal. I absolutely defend the duty of the Government to be responsible in the way we have been.
“We cannot simply borrow more to plug the gap, put the load on future generations and future taxpayers with higher interest rates and higher taxes to come.
“We also want to lay the foundations now for increasing productivity, investing in infrastructure, investing in skills and technology, so this country goes forward with a higher wage, higher productivity economy.
“Because that is the thing that has eluded this country for the last 30 years.
“But if you ask me is Rishi Sunak or am I basically a low-tax Tory, then the answer is absolutely ‘yes’. The way to do that is to make sure we’ve got a far more jobs-led recovery in which we see growth.
“Yes, of course, in due time at the responsible moment, as you’ve heard from the Chancellor, we’ll be wanting to cut taxes and certainly to keep taxes as low as we can. That’s the shared ambition of the entire Government.”