Rishi Sunak: The Tory manifesto will include tax cuts

video caption, Watch: Sunak says Conservatives will cut taxes if they win

  • Author, Becky Morton
  • Role, Political reporter

The Conservative manifesto will include tax cuts, Rishi Sunak has said.

The Prime Minister told the BBC’s Nick Robinson: “We will continue to cut taxes for people. You will see this in our manifesto tomorrow.”

Asked about how he would fund his policies, Sunak said they would all be “fully funded and priced”.

He insisted that under a future Tory government, daily government spending on public services would continue to rise ahead of inflation.

However, when asked whether cuts were planned in some departments, he admitted that “all governments are making this a priority.”

In the spring budget, the government announced a 2p National Insurance tax cut for 27 million workers – matching another cut set out in last year’s autumn statement.

The Conservatives have also said they want to abolish Social Security altogether in the long term if they consider it affordable.

However, it is not believed to cover anything relating to inheritance tax.

Asked whether the Tory manifesto promised further tax cuts, Sunak said he wanted to build on the tax cuts we have “already started delivering”.

Both the Tories and Labor have ruled out any increase in the rates of income tax, national insurance and VAT.

However, both sides also stated that income tax thresholds will remain frozen until 2028.

This means that if their wages rise, millions of people will be pushed into a higher tax bracket.

Sunak said his party’s policies would be paid for by curbing tax avoidance, which he said would raise £6 billion, as well as reforming the welfare system and putting more people into work.

However, the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies said achieving the £12 billion of savings promised by the Tories by 2030 through welfare reform “looks extremely difficult”.

The think tank also warned that whoever wins the next election will have to cut state-provided benefits or raise taxes to maintain departmental spending levels.

Asked whether he would be honest with people that his plans also mean significant cuts in spending for many ministries, the Prime Minister replied: “No, this is not what our plans state.”

He said everyday spending on public services under a future Tory government would continue to rise ahead of inflation.

But he added: “Of course, all governments are treating this issue as a priority.”

Sunak said he also wanted to focus on productivity in the public sector, which he believed had “declined significantly since Covid-19”.

He added that increasing productivity to pre-pandemic levels would save £20 billion and enable tax cuts.

video caption, Owning your own home has become more difficult under the Conservative government, agrees Rishi Sunak

Sunak has also been questioned over his party’s record on housing.

Asked whether owning your own home has become harder under the Tory government, the Prime Minister said: “It’s getting harder – and I want to make sure it gets easier.

“Not only will we build homes in the right places and do so in a way that is sensitive to local communities, but we will make sure we support young people to get great jobs so they can save for that deposit.”

He added that “burdening young people with higher taxes” will make it more difficult for them to save for a deposit to buy a house, and he wanted people to “keep more of their money.”

This suggests that home ownership among young people has been declining over the past 20 years.

Mortgage rates are relatively high compared to the last decade, and rent costs have also skyrocketed, making it harder for people to save.

This means that first-time buyers face a double challenge: raising enough money for a deposit, as well as being able to take out a mortgage.

Labour’s shadow secretary Angela Rayner said Sunak’s response was a “damning indictment of 14 years of housing failures”.

She added: “At no time in 14 years have the Tories achieved their target of 300,000 homes a year, and their recent decision to appease Tory MPs in their base and scrap compulsory housing targets has resulted in a sharp decline in house building.”

Mr Sunak was also pressed on immigration in the interview.

Net migration – the difference between the number of people coming to the UK and the number leaving – reached a record high of 745,000 in 2022.

Asked if the figures showed he had “lost control of the borders”, Sunak replied the figures were “too high”.

But he claimed that as prime minister he had introduced “the biggest and toughest reforms to curb immigration we have seen.”

The prime minister apologized again for leaving last week’s D-Day celebrations early, saying: “I hope people will find the strength in their hearts to forgive me.”

He asked people to “judge me by my actions,” pointing to increased investment in the armed forces and support for veterans.

Sunak has rejected suggestions that his election campaign has got off to a bad start, insisting he believes he is the right person “to build on the progress that has been made”.

“We’ve had a few difficult years and I really think we’ve turned a corner at this point,” he said.

The BBC interviews all the main party leaders in the run-up to the election in The Panorama Interviews with Nick Robinson. You can watch the Rishi Sunak interview at 8pm on BBC One or BBC iPlayer.