Rishi Sunak defends 'inconsistency' over tax policies
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Rishi Sunak has faced criticism after this week announcing plans to cut VAT on energy bills despite dismissing the proposal for months whilst serving in Boris Johnson’s Government. Mr Sunak was repeatedly challenged over his plans as Andrew Neil accused him of being “consistently inconsistent” with his positions. Mr Sunak insisted his plan is part of a wider policy to usher in reform to the system and argued his proposals are “what tax reform looks like.”
Mr Neil said: “You just seem to be consistently inconsistent on all these things.
“You were against a windfall tax, now you’re in favor. You were’ against suspending VAT, not you’re in favour.
“You raised National Insurance but then you had to come back and raise the threshold for National Insurance to cut it. You just seem to be all over the place.”
Mr Sunak said: “Actually, no, that’s what tax reform looks like, Andrew.”
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Rishi Sunak denied U-turning on his stance on cutting VAT on energy bills and dismissed suggestions he has shown a “lack of consistency” and “bad judgment”.
The former chancellor told Andrew Neil he had “always said from the beginning” that he would “stand ready to do more” to help people with energy bills if the cost of living worsened.
The veteran broadcaster asked him: “In February you told the Commons that cutting VAT on energy bills would, these are your words, ‘disproportionately benefit wealthy candidates’.
“Now as your campaign fails to gain traction among Tory members you propose to suspend VAT on energy bills – not just bad judgment but lack of consistency.”
Andrew Neil asks Rishi Sunak about ‘lack of judgement’
Mr Sunak replied: “No, absolutely not. I’ve always said from the beginning that as we knew more about what energy bills would actually be in the autumn that I will stand ready to do more.”
He also hit back at claims that the Tory manifesto promises were broken, insisting it happened because of the pandemic.
The former chancellor told Mr Neil that raising taxes and an increase in debt had come amid a “once-in-a-century event”.
Mr Sunak said: “You made a very pointed comment about breaking manifesto promises… without recognising that we had a set of manifesto promises about fiscal policy – taxes, borrowing, and spending.
“Do you know what happened? We got hit by a pandemic. A once-in-a-century event and that meant things changed.”
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