Lower taxes means curtailing public spending, says Priti Patel

Lower taxes means curtailing public spending, says Priti Patel
Gabrielle Wilde

By Gabrielle Wilde

Published: 07/03/2024

- 10:55

Updated: 07/03/2024

- 14:00

The Spring budget was unveiled yesterday

The former Home Secretary has warned her party that taxes are ‘too high’ and that there are other tax cuts she would have liked to have seen in the budget.

Dame Priti Patel claimed the country was ‘spending so much public money’ and said she wanted to see lower taxes which could only be delivered by ‘curtailing public spending.’

She added that she thought that there would be further tax cuts and that she ‘did not think there would be a May election.’

Speaking to GB News, Priti Patel said:

“Budgets are difficult things to do because it's a fiscal balancing act. I think we have to look at the measures that have been announced today and what it actually means to hard-working families across the country.

“There are some good measures there we can talk about, lots of measures and the direction of travel in this budget, in my view, has signalled quite a few things.

“I think more will come. I suspect there'll be another fiscal event sometime this year. And then you could ask the question after that one, is it going to win the election?

“I don't think there will be a May election. I really don't. And I could be called out on this in the next two weeks. So be it. Jeremy Hunt was very clear in the budget today and in his tone: it's all in the tone in the presentation.

“Times are difficult. We have economic challenges; we have structural issues. I was in the Treasury back in 2014 and I remember what coalition government was like post the financial crisis. Currently we're still reeling from the effects of COVID, the Ukraine conflict, global inflation, inflation is still sticky. But thankfully the projections are that inflation is going to continue to come down. That's a great thing.

“[Cutting Inheritance tax] is a costly thing to do. There are lots of tax measures that I would personally like to see. Your viewers will have a whole shopping list, with inheritance tax being one example.

"We've got the highest tax burden in 70 years. That is a fact. Taxes are too high. Taxes have been going up and on that basis, it's far more equitable to bring taxes down for working people and working families.

“That's why I'm very pro the National Insurance cut. I think this government will be the government that will literally pave the way for the abolition of National Insurance. In the past I've spoken about even merging National Insurance and Income Tax. That is complicated but that could have been another way forward.

“But the fact that we've had a second National Insurance cut tells me that they are signalling for further reductions and the potential abolition of it and again, working people benefit from that.

“And the other point to make about National Insurance is that removing the disincentives for work, that's where this government is at, and I think that's commendable, and I think Jeremy Hunt should take some credit for that.

She continued: “We must have a labour market strategy because too many sectors in our economy rely on more migration and actually in some quarters, unskilled migration, which is a no, no. We should not be enabling that to happen. We should be doing much more.

“Employers should be paying people properly and we should have proper incentives for them to train more people. And that's the rebalancing that we need in our labour market. And I say this for very good reasons.

“While we've got a tight labour market right now, we've also had high levels of inflation. And the worst thing that could possibly happen is that inflation starts going up and unemployment goes up domestically. We cannot have that.

“We've got to do much more with our domestic population to invest in them in the long term, not in the short term. And that means skills, proper employment programs and proper employment training.

“So let's be very clear about this because quite frankly, I've been there. I've seen how difficult it is, No. 1: These are foreign, national offenders. They are criminals and they have caused terrible, terrible harm to individuals.

“They are in the criminal justice system. They should be removed. Because of the issue with Syria, it will be very difficult to remove them from the country because of the conflict in Syria.

“However, these people should be incarcerated for the crimes that they committed and they should not be allowed back in the community. End of story.

“I have had cases, in fact, from Rotherham in the past and the grooming gang situation there was terrible. These were British people that were involved in grooming and yet they were allowed to stay in the community.

“There were some that we actually removed back to Pakistan, for example, and there were cases where we were constantly in the courts and we were thwarting those cases as well based on the criminal evidence and the abuse and the harm that they caused to the individuals.

“So, we must stop at nothing. We must stop at absolutely nothing to a) make sure these people not only prosecuted, put behind bars, but never allowed back in the community. And also when they're foreign national offenders, we must do everything to remove them."

Discussing the Shamima Begum case, she added: "The UN are wrong on [Shamima Begum] basically and the UN should not be getting involved in what is a very domestic case for the United Kingdom. Every Home Secretary, my predecessors, and those I guess that have followed me since, have been very clear on this.

“That case is closed as far as we're concerned and the evidence against it is so substantial.”


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