Britain’s treasury officials pushing for tax hikes

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak chairs the daily news conference at 10 Downing Street on the coronavirus outbreak with NHS Medical Director Professor Stephen Powis and Public Health England (PHE) Medical Director, Professor Yvonne Doyle, in London, Britain April 14 2020.

Treasury officials in Britain are pushing for tax hikes to plug holes blown in public finances by the coronavirus pandemic, two leading British newspapers said.

Such hikes will enable the exchequer to raise at least 20 billion pounds ($26.70 billion) a year, and some could be introduced in the November budget, the Sunday Telegraph said.

The Sunday Times newspaper said officials were drawing up plans for a 30-billion-pound “tax raid” on the wealthy, businesses, pensions and foreign aid.

In its budget, the government also plans to raise both capital gains tax and corporation tax, the Sunday Times added.

Finance Minister Rishi Sunak is considering a proposal to boost corporation tax to 24% from 19%, a move that would raise 12 billion pounds next year, rising to 17 billion in 2023-24, the paper said.

The Treasury did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

Britain’s economic recovery from the shock of the pandemic has gathered pace, data showed this month, but government borrowing has exceeded 2 trillion pounds and fears of future job losses are mounting.

The economy still faces a long recovery after shrinking by a record 20% in the second quarter, the largest decline of any big country.

Britain entered lockdown in late March and shops in England only reopened fully on June 15, followed by bars and restaurants on July 4.

Sunak has indicated that some taxes will need to rise over the medium term.

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