We're back from Manchester after another fantastic ThinkTent at Conservative party conference. This was our seventh year in partnership with the Institute of Economic Affairs and it's become a staple of the fringe scene.
We had a packed schedule with 19 events over 3 days culminating in our chief executive John O'Connell grilling Rishi Sunak over the government's big-spending, high tax policies. This was very much the highlight of ThinkTent (and the only public fringe event that the chancellor spoke at) - John asked the questions that millions of taxpayers want answers to. Namely, will there be more tax rises and when will taxes go down again?
Rishi made it clear he knows that tax rises are never popular, saying "there's no easy or good way to raise taxes". He added he opted for a rise in national insurance to pay for social care because he tried to make the tax hike "as fair as possible". He didn't specifically rule out more tax rises but admitted that "people would like to have lower taxes" and that the government must be "disciplined, focussed and prioritised" when it comes to spending.
When pushed by John on how he will ensure money from the NI rise is spent wisely the chancellor didn't mince his words, " we have to strive for every single penny and every single pound to be really well spent and get maximum value for it." Encouraging words but we're a long way from the high-wage, low-tax economy this government keeps championing. Brits want to know how ministers will achieve this. That's why the TaxPayers' Alliance will continue to hold their feet to the fire as we make the case for much-needed tax cuts.
CEO John O'Connell grilling Rishi Sunak over the government's big-spending, high tax policies.