Sunak says it is his ‘moral mission’ to cut taxes ahead of inflation figures

Rishi Sunak has said that with inflation “back under control” it is his “moral mission” to slash taxes as he continued his tax war on Labour.

The Conservatives are seeking to use tax as the key dividing issue and stepping up attacks on Labour’s plans in a desperate bid to shift their stubborn double-digit poll deficit.

The Prime Minister is banking on inflation falling back to the Bank of England’s 2% target when official figures are released on Wednesday.

Most analysts are forecasting a drop in the Consumer Prices Index to 2% in May, which would mark the first time in nearly three years inflation has been at the target.

Mr Sunak said that with the rate of price rises curbed “we can focus on cutting taxes”.

The Tories said they were “launching their plan to cut taxes” on Wednesday, pointing to their manifesto promises of tax cuts worth £17.2 billion.

They claim the package would be paid for by £12 billion of savings on welfare and £6 billion from tackling tax dodgers.

The headline policies are a further 2p off employees’ national insurance by April 2027 and the abolition of the main rate of the tax for the self-employed entirely by the end of the Parliament.

The Tories also reiterated their demand that Sir Keir Starmer rule out a series of potential tax measures which they claim would be needed to fill a “£38.5 billion black hole” in Labour’s plans.

Mr Sunak’s party re-published a list of 17 tax hikes they say Labour could make, but the Opposition has said they would refuse to be drawn into the trap of responding to each claim.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has ruled out increases to income tax, national insurance and VAT (Aaron Chown/PA)

Speaking ahead of the inflation figures, Mr Sunak said: “When I became Prime Minister, spiralling inflation was our biggest economic challenge – and so I made halving inflation my key priority.

“Now, with inflation back under control, we can focus on cutting taxes and ensuring working people have the financial security they deserve.

“As Conservatives, we believe in lower taxes because people, not governments, make the best decisions about how to spend their money. Cutting taxes is a moral mission for me and I want to deliver tax cuts at every stage of life.

“By contrast, raising tax is in Labour’s DNA. The plans set out in Labour’s manifesto would take taxes to the highest level in our country’s history – and that’s before you add in the £38.5 billion black hole in their promises.

“That’s the choice at this election – lower taxes with the Conservatives or a £2,094 tax hike under Labour that would hammer working families hardest.”

The Prime Minister called the July General Election on May 22 after declaring inflation was “back to normal” in a “major milestone” for the country, following official figures that day showing inflation slowed to 2.3% in April.

He was quick to declare victory – even though inflation was always expected to fall sharply as rising energy and food costs subsided.

A Labour spokesperson said: “The Conservatives have raised taxes to a 70 year high.

“Jeremy Hunt has admitted the Conservatives’ tax cuts are completely unfunded and will risk putting mortgages up again by £4,800. It’s time for change.”

Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney said: “It is deeply embarrassing when Rishi Sunak fails at his own so-called ‘moral mission’, after years of hiking taxes on families and pensioners.

“Rishi Sunak and Conservative MPs shamelessly hiked taxes on hard-working people in a cost-of-living crisis, all whilst giving the biggest banks a disgraceful tax cut.

“Rishi Sunak has proven to be out of touch and must now be out of office after years of failure. You simply cannot trust the Conservatives on tax.”