Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak are on a collision course over his heavy spending habits today as Tories alarm at the UK’s soaring debt of £ 2.17 trillion.
The Chancellor is believed to be increasingly alarmed by the commitments made – with claims that the Prime Minister announced a huge push on climate change at the G7 summit without notifying him.
There is also an ongoing discussion over Mr Johnson’s insistence on sticking to the ‘triple lock’ of the state pension, which could mean payments skyrocket this year as time off and the impact pandemic have distorted wage figures.
And Mr Sunak apparently refuses to foot the £ 200million bill for a national yacht Mr Johnson announced – Defense Ministry Ben Wallace and Commerce Department Liz Truss also balk at the price.
A potential flashpoint was due to arrive tomorrow with Mr Johnson, Mr Sunak and Health Secretary Matt Hancock set to meet to discuss social care proposals which are expected to cost £ 5bn a year.
However, the session was “removed” from ministerial agendas for reasons that remain unclear.
The issue of spending risks drawing a new dividing line between “hawks” and “doves” in government, as the need to keep the Prime Minister’s “leveling” promises collides with anxiety over the disastrous state of public finances. Mr. Sunak was one of the loudest voices on the need for a quick release, though he said he was “relaxed” about the latest Freedom Day delay.
Mr Johnson rejected the concept of austerity, suggesting it was a mistake after the credit crunch – but others fear inflation and interest rates could plunge the country into chaos unless the deficit is quickly closed.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng appeared to berate the Chancellor today, insisting the government should rely on economic growth rather than tax hikes to close the Covid black hole in finances public.
A trendy senior Tory official told MailOnline that “every day seems to bring a new spending commitment” from the prime minister and that Mr Sunak is right to mark his “authority”.
The backdrop to the budget row is mistrust of Mr Sunak’s ambitions among some of Mr Johnson’s allies, who believe he is positioning himself for leadership with skillful public relations and chatter from back-office MPs. ban.
Boris Johnson (right) and Rishi Sunak (left) are on a collision course over his heavy spending habits today as Tories alarm over skyrocketing UK debt of 2.17 trillion of pounds sterling.
Kwasi Kwarteng sent a veiled rebuke to the Chancellor, insisting that boosting growth, not tax hikes is the “best way” to balance the books
In a series of talks this morning, Mr Kwarteng insisted that boosting growth was the ‘best way’ to balance the books amid claims that Mr Sunak was considering a pension raid for increase their income.
But he suggested reducing relief such as the £ 1million lifetime allowance was ‘not necessarily the way forward’.
And he said he was “fairly sure the triple lockdown will stay” – despite the Treasury alarm that state pensions will rise by at least 6% this year due to the distorting effects of the government. leave.
Asked about tax increases to cover the huge cost of the coronavirus, he told Sky News: “I have high hopes as a business secretary, as you can imagine, that we can grow the economy.
“This has always been the best way to increase tax revenue in the past … tax revenue from a thriving economy can pay off part of the debt.”
Asked about the option of a retirement relief raid, he said: “I don’t think that’s necessarily the way to go.”
On the state pension, he said: “It’s obviously a Chancellor’s decision, but I’m pretty sure the triple lockdown will stay.”
Treasury sources have said that changing the pension tax break is “certainly not something the Chancellor is actively considering.”
Officials are believed to be looking at plans to save £ 4bn by suspending the triple pension lockdown for a year.
However, Mr Johnson wants to keep the lockdown in place, even if it would give retirees a 6% or more raise at a time when working-age people face financial hardship.
Officials say Mr Sunak is also refusing to fund the £ 200million cost of Johnson’s pet project to build a royal yacht, with the Department of Defense, the Cabinet Office and the Department for International Trade being also reluctant to foot the bill.
To further prove the rising tensions, one official called the financing of the yacht “a complete and utter *** show” and another even suggested that the prime minister should “create a trust to pay it off” – a reference to his failed attempt. to get Conservative donors to fund the cost of renovations to his Downing Street apartment.
Mr Johnson urged the G7 countries to sign a ‘Marshall Plan’ to help boost global green growth at the Cornish summit, but no UK money has been announced and the Treasury has apparently not been consulted.
A former minister told MailOnline: “We are spending more than we can afford. It is not unreasonable to ask where the money is coming from.
“Everyone wants to be fair to retirees. But I don’t think even retirees would want to take advantage of the pandemic.
“The problem is, the pandemic made it look like there was a magic money tree… Rishi has to assert a little bit of authority.”
Mr. Sunak has already presented plans to raise taxes in the coming years to close the massive black hole in public finances.
The chancellor told his colleagues he did not think families would have to face a further increase in personal taxes to pay for the additional expenses.
National debt mountain now stands at £ 2.17 trillion and higher as a share of GDP than after the credit crunch
The CPI index reached 2.1% in May, up from 1.5% the previous month and above the official target of 2%
There are fears that without greater restraint from No 10, the clear commitment not to increase income tax, national insurance or VAT during this legislature will be strained.
Mr. Sunak, however, is said to be willing to cut state pension money.
Treasury officials are also believed to be drawing up plans to reduce the lifetime pension allowance by £ 1million, introduce a single rate of tax relief or tax employers’ contributions.
An online sales tax is expected to be unveiled this fall.
Taxes on the gaming giants are also in development, with an ongoing struggle in Whitehall over whether the tax targets profits or revenue.
There are allegations today that Cabinet is asking for more influence over spending plans to curb Mr Johnson.
“Cabinet needs to be involved in all big decisions that reflect what the party stands for, cabinet needs to be more involved in those decisions,” a Whitehall official told The Guardian.
“All cabinet ministers need to be involved in making decisions that fit into a larger framework. If you don’t collectively make decisions, it is very difficult to sell a coherent pitch. ‘
A No 10 spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister and the Chancellor work closely together and have been closely linked throughout the most difficult time a government has faced since World War II.”