Brits will “inevitably” face higher taxes as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Tony Blair said today.
The former Labour Prime Minister said everyone could face the consequences of the UK’s multi-billion pound deficit used to help businesses and the NHS during the pandemic.
In a Sky News interview with Sophy Ridge, Mr Blair said: “There may be inevitably some increase in tax as a result of the big deficit we are going to run.”
Mr Blair, who led Britain from 1997 to 2007, said these changes should be coupled with the aim to drive better value through the UK’s public services such as the NHS and how efficiently they operate.
He added: “It is also going to mean that you drive better value through your public services and through what Government does. It is not sensible just to spend the money.”
The former Labour PM said the party should be “really careful” and “mindful” about supporting rises in tax.
It comes as some members within Sir Keir Starmer’s party spoke of so-called wealth taxes to pay back the money borrowed for coronavirus, which is not official Labour policy.
Boris Johnson promised not to raise VAT, income tax or national insurance in last year’s election which still stands despite the pandemic.
But Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said the books must be balanced again in the medium to long-term.
The former HMRC chief also said that tax rises will be inevitable, The Sun reports.
It adds that Government borrowing reached £350billion this year equivalent to around ten per cent of GDP.
The Chancellor will now need to come up with £40billion worth of tax hikes or spending cuts just to stabilise debt levels to 100 per cent of GDP, according to the report.
Mr Blair said another nuclear lockdown would be “devastating” for the economy and stressed the importance of preparation and prevention to avoid another spike in cases.
He told Sky News: “We are not going to be eliminating it [coronavirus]for the foreseeable future, for enough of the future that it means it is worth putting in place the infrastructure that allows you to control it.
“You can’t really go back into lockdown as we were in March and April and I think it is just unrealistic to think we are going to be able to do that. The economic consequences even from the lockdown we’ve had are so severe.
“I am already horrified by the potential economic damage even from the lockdown we’ve done and the loss of confidence.
“You go back into another big lockdown and I think it would be devastating for the economy.
“You can’t rule out doing it but it’s going to have to be a terrible situation.”
When asked if he anticipates a significant spike in cases, Mr Blair said “there is a possibility” and echoed Boris Johnson’s recent advice to “hope for the best and plan for the worst.”
Mr Blair said: “There is a possibility you end up with the resurgence in the autumn.
“It may not happen but you have to hope for the best and plan for the worst.”
The former PM strongly recommends the use of face coverings and criticised the Government’s message on wearing them.
He added: “They began by saying they weren’t necessary. I think we said two or three months ago it was obvious we were going to go in the direction of masks.
“The evidence on masks is absolutely clear globally. There is no doubt they help control the disease.”
Mr Blair also referred to surges of cases in Poland, Australia, Romania, Israel, Argentina and several other countries over the past few days.
He said: “There is a pattern developing which is that people go into lockdown, they ease the lockdown but then there are significant spikes.
“We are still in the summer months when it is frankly easier to deal with the disease.”
He later added: “Prepare now, use the months of August and September to put in place the best infrastructure you can.”