A Tory MP has suggested the Treasury could control spending by “controlling illegal immigration” – because doing so would “cut hotel bills”.
John Redwood, the Conservative MP for Wokingham, said the government must find a way to balance the books “instead of wanting more tax rises”.
Alongside clamping down on illegal immigration, he suggested “reforming the nationalised railway” to “reduce the losses” and “cutting the office space the civil service does not use”.
Redwood’s intervention comes as a leading economic think-tank warns that public services are set to face a new spending squeeze, despite taxes rising to record peacetime highs.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said the rising cost of healthcare in an ageing population was eating into funds available for services such as the courts, prisons and local government.
In a report ahead of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget later this month, it said the 1.25 percentage point increase in national insurance contributions announced by Boris Johnson to pay for extra spending on health and social care may have to more than double by the end of the decade to keep up.
An analysis by Citi estimated the UK economy is expected to be between 2 per cent and 3 per cent smaller in 2024-25 than it was before the pandemic – with Brexit having an even deeper “scarring” effect than Covid.
Despite Redwood’s earnest proposals to solve the problem, he was not greeted with a great deal of sympathy on Twitter.
Try better next time, John.