Boris Johnson grilled on ‘unfair’ system
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The Prime Minister this afternoon appeared to confirm he was breaking with Tory policy of the past as he outlined his vision for eradicating unemployment and boosting wages. Appearing in front of the liaison committee of senior backbench MPs, Mr Johnson indicated Mrs Thatcher’s economic plan had been “cruel” to millions of people.
Mr Johnson has left many of his backbenchers dumbfounded with his economic policy in recent weeks.
His high-level spending and rise in taxes have led to Tory MPs fearing a shift in the party.
When presenting his economic plan to MPs this afternoon, Mr Johnson accused Mrs Thatcher and her successor, Sir John Major, of failing a large part of the population.
“For decades this country has underperformed in productivity and growth,” he said.
Outlining his plan to help fix that problem he criticised previous Tory governments.
He said: “I’d rather there was a situation now where there’s a big demand for labour and an economy recovering strongly, and people wanting employees.
“Rather than a situation that you and I remember well from decades ago both in the 80s and in the 90s of millions and millions of people unfairly, unnecessarily having their talents wasted because of unemployment.
“That’s far crueller.
“I hope what we can see is investments leading to higher wages.”
Pressed on fears a rise in wages would lead to an increase in inflation, he said he was committed to other investments to help counter that.
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He added: “We need to invest now in the other ingredient that drive productivity: skills, training, infrastructure, and making sure people are able to live nearer to their place of work.”
However, he rejected accusations he was a “high tax” Tory.
Mr Johnson insisted there was a “very simple reason” that the tax burden on the public was set to rise to its highest level since World War Two.
Appearing in front of Parliament’s Liaison Committee, the Prime Minister said: “The country has been through the biggest fall in output, not just since the Second World War, but before the Second World War, the biggest that I can see for a very, very long time.
“And we had to look after people throughout the pandemic.”
He said: “And I think everybody understood the fiscal impact of that.”
Mr Johnson said in the Budget the Chancellor had cut taxes for the low paid.
The Government took on record debt over the past 18 months in order to fund the Treasury’s Covid plan.
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