Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com
LONDON, July 11 (Reuters) – Former finance minister Rishi Sunak will be Britain’s next prime minister on Tuesday, vowing to tackle rising inflation before joining his Conservative Party rivals in promising tax cuts.
Sunak resigned as finance minister last week, signaling the fall of Boris Johnson who days later said he would stand down amid a widespread revolt by Conservative MPs.
“We need a return to traditional conservative economic values - and that means honesty and responsibility, not fairy tales,” Sunak is expected to say at the start of his campaign, according to his team, mocking rivals who have promised immediate big cuts to business or personal taxes.
Sunak, who oversaw the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and provided some 400 billion pounds ($481 billion) in economic support, is one of the favorites to replace Johnson and has the most support among conservative lawmakers who have publicly expressed their preference.
According to his team, Sunak will promise to cut taxes once inflation, which hit a 40-year high of 9.1 percent in May, is brought under control.
“I had to make some of the most difficult choices of my life when I was chancellor, especially how to deal with our debt and borrowing after COVID,” Sunak will say.
“My message to the party and the country is simple: I have a plan to steer our country through these distractions. Once we get inflation under control, I will reduce the tax burden. It’s a question of ‘when’, not ‘if’.”
While Sunak’s popularity with the public has grown during the pandemic, it has been dented by some conservative lawmakers after he raised payroll taxes in April to fund more spending on health and social care and announced plans for a sharp increase in corporate taxes in 2023.
His reputation was also hit after it was revealed that his wife, the Indian daughter of one of the founders of IT giant Infosys, had not paid UK tax on her foreign income using the “non-domiciled” status available to paying foreign nationals. they do not consider Britain their permanent home.
She later said she would start paying UK tax on her global income.
Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Jonathan Oatis
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.