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Budget 2021: Rishi Sunak hiking corporation tax is a big mistake - it will push businesses away

3 14 1
02.03.2021

The date is 9 July 2015, and Labour’s then shadow chancellor, Chris Leslie, is battling manfully to attack George Osborne’s summer Budget. The Labour Party is still reeling from the unexpected Conservative majority victory in the recent general election, Osborne is cock-a-hoop, and a newly elected Tory MP named Rishi Sunak spies an opportunity to put the Opposition on the spot.

After Leslie cites the Conservative manifesto, Sunak pops up to intervene, and is invited to do so: “The shadow chancellor mentioned the election campaign. In that campaign, the Opposition suggested that they would raise the rate of corporation tax – a move that would damage jobs and growth. Will he confirm that that is still Labour’s policy, or will he start backing British businesses?”

Zing! It’s a well-targeted jab and his victim has no answer, retreating to a slightly incoherent rumination on business rates, amid jeering from the Government benches.

In just his ninth appearance in Hansard, the new MP for Richmond has put the shadow Chancellor on the spot, and used a vital Conservative message to do so. He will go far, this Sunak bloke.

He wasn’t alone in making that case in recent years, of course. While the Conservatives’ reputation as the party of low taxes has been flattered somewhat by a........

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