Ex-Cabinet minister Michael Portillo says Rishi Sunak’s Budget was ‘not Conservative’ as he warns the Tory Party is facing an ‘identity crisis’ after the Chancellor’s tax and spend spree
Former Cabinet minister Michael Portillo has warned Rishi Sunak‘s Budget has left the Conservative Party with an ‘identity crisis’.
Mr Portillo, who served as chief secretary to the Treasury in John Major’s government, said the Chancellor’s tax and spend plans are ‘certainly not Conservative philosophy’.
Mr Sunak’s proposals will see taxes reach the highest level since the post-war recovery in 1950.
Researchers have said taxes will be £3,000 higher for the average UK household compared with when Boris Johnson became Prime Minister in 2019.
Former Cabinet minister Michael Portillo has warned Rishi Sunak’s Budget has left the Conservative Party with an ‘identity crisis’
Mr Sunak’s Budget contained large public spending boosts and Mr Portillo suggested the proposals are not consistent with traditional Tory values.
He told Times Radio: ‘This is certainly not Conservative philosophy.
‘This is something quite different. This is what Conservatives absolutely do not believe in. The Conservatives do not believe that these policies could possibly be successful.
‘And yet they’ve just been announced by the chancellor. So it is, I think, a bit of an identity crisis for the Conservative Party.’
His comments came after the current Chief Secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke sparked Tory concern as he said the Budget signalled a ‘philosophical shift’.
He told BBC Newsnight that the Government ‘makes no apology for the fact we are spending more’ on public services.
He said: ‘Clearly the Government needs to live within its means and one of the tests that we have set for departments, which we have achieved, is a five per cent efficiency saving and also to start bringing head count down over the course of this Parliament, back to the 2019/20 levels that we had before.
‘So we will play our role. But we also recognise that the state has a role to play in achieving some of our policy priorities and the Chancellor was very open about the fact that this is something that is a philosophical shift, if you like, from the Cameron Osborne…’
Economists warned in the wake of the Budget that millions of people will be worse off due to rising costs and tax increases.
Mr Sunak’s proposals will see taxes reach the highest level since the post-war recovery in 1950
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said the poorest face ‘real pain’ and middle earners will lose out.
Meanwhile, the Resolution Foundation said the poorest fifth will be around £280 a year worse off despite the Chancellor softening the blow of his Universal Credit (UC) cut.
Researchers at the living standards think tank said three-quarters of households on the welfare scheme will be worse off despite the new tapering rules announced in the Budget.