Sunak awkwardly stumbles on BBC over tax declare – ‘you’ve got received a nerve’

Rishi Sunak clashed repeatedly with the BBC’s Nick Robinson as he doubled down on his dodgy tax claims.

The Prime Minister has come under fire for repeatedly suggesting that Treasury officials have found that Labour would hike taxes by £2,000 – something Keir Starmer’s has branded a “lie”. It was dubbed “misleading” by the UK statistics watchdog and even the top official at the Treasury warned that it “includes costs beyond those provided by the Civil Service”, as the sums are based on assumptions by Tory aides.

In a combative interview on BBC Panorama, Mr Sunak claimed the Tories would “continue to cut people’s taxes” if they win the election. But interviewer Nick Robinson challenged him over the fact the Government has set the tax burden on course to hit the highest level since the Second World War.

Rishi Sunak and interviewer Nick Robinson clashed over tax in a BBC Panorama interview

Rishi Sunak and interviewer Nick Robinson clashed over tax in a BBC Panorama interview

Mr Robinson said: “You say that you’re cutting taxes, you’ve got a bit of a nerve, haven’t you? Under Rishi Sunak, as Chancellor and then Prime Minister, the total tax bill in this country has gone up by £93 billion a year, that’s even more than Jeremy Corbyn wanted to put on people.”

Mr Sunak hit back, saying that was caused by the Government stepping in to deal with a “once in a century pandemic and then an energy crisis”. In a fractious exchange, Mr Sunak interrupted the presenter as he tried to make the point.

Mr Robinson eventually got out: “Income tax, going up this year. Income tax, going up next year. Income tax, going up the next year. Year after year after year, you are increasing the income tax..”

Mr Sunak interjected: “Nick.”

The interviewer continued: “For people watching this programme, but you come in interviews and say, “I’m cutting your tax.”

The interview then turned to the £2,000 figure. Mr Robinson said: “You’ve got a bit of a nerve, haven’t you, having a go at the Labour Party? You’ve raised our taxes by record amounts, £93 billion, you’ve produced some figures criticised by the boss of the Treasury, criticised by the Chair of the UK Statistics Authority, criticised by the former Head of the Civil Service.

“And yet, you come to this interview and you repeat something that you’ve said that they all think is misleading.”

Mr Sunak replied: “Because it’s right, and the choice in this election is clear, we are going to keep cutting people’s taxes, you’ll see that in our manifesto tomorrow, you’ve seen it in the announcements that we’ve already made, Labour Party are going to put people’s taxes up.”

Mr Robinson challenged him repeatedly over the fact that Tory aides had helped drum up the figures but Mr Sunak refused to engage on that point.

The interviewer finally said: “You’ve made your point, you think it’s valid, I put to you that other people do not think it’s valid. I will ask Keir Starmer about his tax plans when he’s here in a little while.”