Rishi Sunak woos voters with tax cuts as he warns of danger posed by Keir Starmer | Politics | News

January 1, 2024

Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak woos voters with tax cuts as he warns of danger posed by Keir Starmer (Image: Getty)

The Prime Minister will reassure people that further tax giveaways are on the cards for 2024 now he has managed to bring down inflation.

But he will warn voters that “economically illiterate” Sir Keir Starmer will raise taxes if he is elected. Though no date has been set, the PM will effectively kick off the election campaign by painting the Labour leader as weak on the economy.

He will begin a UK tour on Thursday in the East Midlands, where he will take part in a question and answer session. On the same day, Sir Keir will set out his stall in a speech in the South West.

Mr Sunak outlined tax cuts ahead in his New Year message, claiming: “Inflation is set to fall further. We’re going further by reducing debt and cutting taxes.” He will be promoting the 2p cut in National Insurance, which comes into force on Saturday.

A Downing Street source revealed: “The PM is making a series of stops where he will make his pitch to working families.”

Referring to Labour’s promise to spend £28billion a year until 2030 on green projects, they added: “We’re starting the year as we mean to go on with a proper tax cut, a clear dividing line with Labour, who are weak on the economy and will put up taxes.

“Rishi’s strongest asset is his economic experience – in stark contrast to Sir Keir’s economically illiterate plan.”

Labour scaled back the eco figure in the summer, insisting instead that it would be something to work towards.

In his New Year message, Mr Sunak said the UK should “look forward with pride and optimism”.

He described 2023 as a “momentous year” and said the drop in inflation would be “cutting the cost of living for everyone”.

Mr Sunak added: “And we’re not stopping there. We’re going further to grow our economy by reducing debt, cutting taxes, and rewarding hard work, building secure supplies of energy here at home, backing British business and de-livering world class education. And we are taking decisive action to stop the boats and break the business model of the criminal gangs.”

Mr Sunak will call a general election in 2024 with the Tories battling to hold on to power as opinion polls suggest Labour hold a healthy lead.

It comes as former No 10 adviser Dominic Cummings revealed he met Mr Sunak twice to discuss political strategy and how to defeat Labour.

Writing on his blog, Boris Johnson’s right-hand man turned arch-critic said the Prime Minister had asked him to “secretly” work on strategy.

But he alleged his conditions for doing a deal had not been met.

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Downing Street said: “It was a broad discussion about politics and campaigning, no job was offered.”

The pair were said to have spoken in London in December 2022 and over dinner in North Yorkshire in July in meetings kept secret from some of Mr Sunak’s closest allies.

Mr Cummings is said to have urged the Prime Minister to abandon his cautious economic approach, settle the NHS strikes and double the threshold at which people pay the 40p rate of income tax from £50,271 to £100,000.

The PM has met his pledge to halve inflation this year while other key economic priorities – to grow the economy and cutting debt – remain just about on target.

He has also slashed small boat crossings in the Channel by a third despite the Government’s flagship Rwanda asylum policy continuing to face legal and political jeopardy.

Mr Sunak’s focus on tax-cutting in his New Year message comes after the Government announced the main rate of National Insurance will be reduced to 10% and amid speculation that the Tories could make more attention-grabbing pledges in the spring budget.

Reports suggest death duties or income tax could be cut as Mr Sunak tries to turn around his party’s major deficit in the polls and create policy dividing lines with Labour.

The PM thanked “our incredible Armed Forces and NHS staff who take care of us all”.

The message comes between strikes by junior doctors in England with the longest walkout in NHS history due to begin on Wednesday.

He ended by saying: “We should look forward full of pride and optimism for what we can do together to build a brighter future for everyone.

“That’s what I’m determined to do and I wish you all a very happy 2024.”

Sir Keir used his New Year address to frame 2024 as the year to “give Britain its future back” – a party
campaign slogan.

He stated it has also been “another tough year economically for millions of people” but that hope “is the fuel of change” and “the oxygen of a better future”.

Sir Keir, who enters the new year with his party holding a sustained poll lead, has promised that Labour would “renew our politics so it once again serves our country”.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey lashed out at both the main parties and vowed to “fix a broken political system”.

He added: “It falls to us to be the agents of change, once again, and bring millions with us, to make it happen.

“We must do nothing less than transform the nature of British politics for good. Hand back far more control to individuals and communities.

“Fight for a fair deal, that empowers everyone and holds the already powerful to account. Smash the two-party system, reform our elections and give everyone an equal voice.”

“Because that is the only way we can build a fairer, greener, more caring country. That is our calling.”

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