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Tory leadership hopefuls peddling ‘populist nonsense’ with tax cut guarantees, Ken Clarke says

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Tory leadership hopefuls should stop coming out with “populist nonsense” about tax cuts, Ken Clarke has said.

The previous chancellor said he would like to see taxes coming down but that the economy was clearly not capable of support them now.

It comes after would-be replacements for Boris Johnson unveiled pledge after pledge designed to woo Tory members.

Nadhim Zahawi, who took over as chancellor last week, on Monday said he would make £50 billion a yr in tax cuts – as much as your complete budgets of the Ministry of Defence and Foreign Office.

Sajid Javid also said he would make £40 billion in tax cuts including taking 10p off the value of petrol, cutting income tax, and scrapping the recent rise in national insurance.

Speaking on Monday night on the BBC’s Newsnight programme Mr Clarke said:

“I would really like to see tax cuts, after all I’d, from the current extraordinary levels. But when the economy has been put right into a state where you possibly can responsibly afford them.

“Tough and difficult decisions are require at once, no more populist nonsense on top of what we have sometimes had already.”

Other candidates like Penny Mordaunt and Tom Tugendhat have each said that tax cuts are essential but that other economic reform measures are needed to stimulate growth.

Mr Zahawi insisted on Tuesday that cutting taxes “isn’t a fairytale” in a swipe at his leadership rival Rishi Sunak, as he set out his pitch to the Conservative membership.

Spain NATO Summit

Spain NATO Summit

Spain NATO Summit


Mr Sunak said leadership required “honesty and responsibility, not fairytales” and said he would only cut taxes after getting inflation under control.

In March Mr Clarke, who served as chancellor from 1993 to 1997, branded Mr Sunak himself “reckless” for pledging to chop income tax three years prematurely.

In office the previous chancellor himself prioritised low taxes and balanced budgets, cutting the essential rate of income tax from 25 per cent to 23 per cent, and likewise cut UK Government spending as a percentage of GDP and the budget deficit.

It was announced on Monday that the brand new leader of the Conservative party, to interchange Boris Johnson ,can be announced on 5 September, after a hot summer of campaigning.

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