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Sajid Javid warns Boris Johnson not to pursue ‘self-defeating’ tax rises after crisis

Former Conservative chancellor Sajid Javid has warned Boris Johnson not to pursue “self-defeating” t..

Former Conservative chancellor Sajid Javid has warned Boris Johnson not to pursue “self-defeating” tax rises after the coronavirus pandemic, claiming it will “strangle” any economic recovery.

Mr Javid, who quit his role at the Treasury in February after a row with No 10, also urged the government to re-open the economy “as far and as quick” as possible, suggesting the best course of action was “running the economy hot”.

The senior Torys intervention comes after the Bank of Englands stark warning that the UK economy could contract by close to 30 per cent this summer and cautioned against the greatest annual fall in GDP since 1706.

Pressed on who would repay the debt at the end of the crisis, Mr Javid told Sky News the crisis should not change “our understanding of the economic model that leads to the highest growth rate possible which is still going to be a free enterprise, low tax, competitive economy”.

“This is the best way to make sure that we are earning enough as a country to pay for for the public services we all rely on. It was true then, and its true now. And thats going to be critical, that we stick with the economic model that we know that works,” he said.

Asked about the possibility of tax rises, the former cabinet minister went on: “I think we should try to avoid tax rises simply because its self-defeating, you know if you have taxes that rising, especially if they rise significantly after this crisis, it will strangle any economic recovery.”

Earlier this week, Mr Johnson reiterated he was opposed to another round of austerity to repair the economic damage of the coronavirus crisis, telling MPs he had absolutely “no intention” of imposing further public spending cuts.

On austerity, Mr Javid claimed the government cannot “continuously, sustainably keep borrowing”, adding: “And so we will have to bring the finances under control.

“But again, I think the best way to keep spending what we need on the public services, whether its the NHS, its schools, all these things that we rely on, is to focus on the growth of the economy, and not higher taxes.”

Mr Javid also suggested ministers should consider consider relaxing restrictions at some point in the “future” for younger people in the country, and focus protection on “those that are the most vulnerable”.

He added this would allow some people to “get on with their lives and at the same time help the rest of us by rebuilding our economy which benefits everyone”.



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