Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds received a grilling over her “vague” attempt to put forward a solution to the dire economic straits the UK is falling into due to the coronavirus crisis. Times Radio host John Pienaar pointed out that former Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling had cut VAT to boost consumption and help the high street during the 2008 financial crisis. When asked if she would support that action for the coronavirus crisis, Ms Dodds failed to give a straight answer.
She said: “I certainly think we need to be boosting our high street.
“I think the action that was taken by the Labour Government then was absolutely the right one.”
At this point, Mr Pienaar cut in and accused the Shadow Chancellor of being “a little bit vague”.
He told her: “We all want to grow the economy, we all went to help the high street.”
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The host continued: “But this comes down to what you might do if you had the red box, which, of course, you aspire to.
“It’s a pretty straight question. Would you cut VAT? I think it’s a pretty easy question actually.”
Ms Dodds shot back: “Well, I wouldn’t do it in the absence of targeted support.
“The key thing that is needed right now by those sectors like hospitality and tourism is actually having support from those economic support programmes.”
The Shadow Chancellor continued: “So do I think the VAT can be used as a means to boost demand? Yes, it absolutely can be.
“But I’m not going to give you just a trite response on this, I’m going to say what I think needs to change.
“I think having particularly a much more sectoral approach, which the Chancellor hasn’t been willing to do. He’s persisted with this one-size-fits-all approach.
“But it’s not just about looking at taxes, it’s looking about why people would not be going into those premises in the first place.”