News & Politics
Archbishop of Canterbury plan for more taxes will hit living standards and push wage growth into reverse, says Treasury minister Robert Jenrick
Increasing taxes to fund a cash boost for hospitals could hit living standards and push wages’ growth into reverse, a Treasury minister Robert Jenrick has said in a rebuff to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Most Rev Justin Welby said Theresa May’s Government should find its “nerve” and "courage" to raise taxes to fund public services like the National Health Service.
There is a live debate in Whitehall over whether Mrs May should increase taxes to fund a £4billion cash injection for the NHS, ahead of the health service's 70th birthday next month.
But Mr Jenrick warned against more tax rises, telling Chopper’s Brexit Podcast today that the tax burden was “relatively high by historic standards, approaching the highest it has been for 50 years”.
He said: “I would be concerned not to increase taxes too much because living standards matter to people in this country – real wages just tipping into the positive.
“This is a moment where you have to be careful not see that pushed that into reverse.
“We have worked very hard to reduce taxes particularly for working people and those on lower incomes and we have had success at that.
“The tax burden in this country is still relatively high by historic standards – it is approaching the highest it has been for 50 years – so we have to be cautious about putting up more taxes particularly because the overriding concern has to be living standards.”
Mr Jenrick also suggested he was against forcing pensioners to pay National Insurance Contributions to fund the NHS.
He said: “That is a decision that will have to be made as we approach the budget – I think it is very important that people are encouraged to keep working if they are healthy and want to keep doing it… it is very important to the economy that they are incentivised to keep working.”
Mr Jenrick, who is backing a new 50p coin to mark Brexit, also said other coins could be minted.
He said: “You could do that for other coins but that really is a decision for the royal mint. In recent years the 50p coin has been the one that has been used most for commemorative coins.”
Other guests on today’s Chopper’s Brexit Podcast are: Robin Walker, an Exiting the European Union minister, Eloise Todd, chief executive of Best for Britain, Polly Mackenzie, chief executive of Demos and James Rothwell, the Telegraph’s Brexit correspondent.
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