Backbenchers still unhappy with cuts after tax u-turn says Welsh Tory MP
Conservative backbenchers are still unhappy with some elements of the UK Government’s budget plans, according to a prominent Welsh Tory MP.
Stephen Crabb told LBC that the decision to u-turn on abolishing the 45p tax rate “probably doesn’t draw a full line under the mini-budget”.
Kwasi Kwarteng announced early on Monday that the scrapping of the top rate of tax would not go ahead in the wake of market upheaval.
He also confirmed that public services face further cuts of up to £18 billion per year.
It comes after the pound dropped to its lowest level against the dollar after the mini-budget in September and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Bank of England intervened.
The UK Government then hinted that benefits would now not be uprated in line with inflation, in order to reassure markets that the tax cuts would be paid for by public spending cuts.
But Stephen Crabb, a former Work and Pensions and Welsh Secretary, said that this would be “the wrong choice”.
“Certainly when the Government starts signalling it wants wide-ranging spending cuts, there are going to be some pretty gritty conversations with backbenchers about where those spending cuts might fall,” the Preseli Pembrokeshire MP told LBC.
“Don’t forget the social security uprating this April just gone was only 3% even though the real inflation rate was 6%.
“The government at the time promised the following April there’d be a correction. It looks like that might be ditched. That would be the wrong choice.”
‘Touch and go’
Asked on Thursday if benefits would rise with inflation, Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng said: “It’s premature for me to come to a decision on that, but we are absolutely focused on making sure that the most vulnerable in our society are protected through what could be a challenge.”
In an interview with Radio 4 Kwasi Kwarteng confirmed that budget cuts of £18 billion were in the pipeline.
Dr Kwarteng however refused to apologise outright for the 45p blunder, but said: “There is humility and contrition in that – and I’m happy to own it.”
Tory ex-chancellor George Osborne said it is “touch and go whether the Chancellor can survive” the fallout, telling the Andrew Neil Show it will be “curtains” for Mr Kwarteng if his speech on Monday goes badly.
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