Lord David Young, a former Cabinet minister under Mrs Thatcher, questioned the Prime Minister’s claims that the Iron Lady backed his plans to raise taxes for millions of Britons. Mr Johnson’s government is working to increase the tax burden to its highest rate since World War II amid a national debt exceeding £ 2 trillion.
Speaking at the Conservative Party’s conference in Manchester on Wednesday, the PM said Mrs Thatcher would have turned off the spending taps now to avoid a tax hike across the board.
Lord Young said Mrs Thatcher might have agreed, but insists she would have exhausted all possible means to limit spending across government.
He added that Mrs Thatcher knew that raising taxes could “spell the end of our recovery and the economy”.
He said: “In his speech at the Conservative Party conference, Boris Johnson invoked Margaret Thatcher’s name in support of his decision to raise taxes to fund additional health care spending.
“She would have said,” he continued, “that an increase in borrowing today would mean higher interest rates and higher taxes tomorrow.
‘With all due respect, Prime Minister, she could very well have said that, and she might have felt the need to support the NHS, but not without looking for corresponding savings elsewhere, as she knew that higher taxes and Higher overall spending sounded the death knell for our recovery and the economy.
Lord Young claimed that Mrs Thatcher would have looked at all spending plans with a “fine tooth comb” and claimed that she could even have regarded projects such as the High Speed Two (HS2) rail line as “no relevant “.
The 89-year-old added that the first female prime minister has reportedly demanded ‘drastic cost cutting’ from all government departments, along with the NHS.
READ MORE: Brexit LIVE: Article 16 breakthrough looms TODAY against UK demands
A new health and social care tax will be introduced in April 2022 and will increase national insurance contributions by 1.25%.
The Treasury predicts this will raise £ 12 billion a year.
Corporate tax will also drop from 19% to 25% and income tax thresholds have been frozen for millions of working Britons.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak also refused to rule out further tax hikes.
In August, public sector net debt reached £ 2.2 trillion and nearly exceeded the size of the UK economy, with debt reaching 97.6% of GDP.
Speaking at the conference, Mr Johnson said: ‘We have a huge hole in public finances, we have spent £ 407bn in support of Covid and our debt now stands at over 2,000 billion pounds, and waiting lists will almost certainly increase before they come down.
“Covid has pushed back the great wave of cases and people haven’t or haven’t been able to seek help, and that wave is now coming back – a wave of anxiety pervades every A&E and every GP.
“Your hip replacement, your mother’s operation … and that’s the priority of the British people.”
He added: “I can tell you – Margaret Thatcher would not have ignored the meteorite that just crashed into public finances.
She would have waved her finger and said, ‘No more borrowing now, it’s just higher interest rates and even higher taxes later. “