‘Got a money tree?!’ Sky host mocks Thérèse Coffey as fears over deficit billions grow

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The Government has been questioned over whether it will keep its manifesto commitments in the face of a growing national deficit. Many financial interventions, such as the job retention furlough scheme, were implemented to help the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. However, as Sky News presenter Kay Burley told Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey, this had sparked another issue.

Ms Burley asked: “How are you going to pay for all of this?

“Because your manifesto says that you’re not going to put up National Insurance, tax or VAT.”

Ms Coffey insisted that the Prime Minister is “keen” on keeping his manifesto commitments.

She added that the coronavirus pandemic had been one of the biggest “economic shocks that came from out of the blue”.

The Sky host pressed her: “Have you got a money tree in your garden?

“How are you going to pay for the furlough scheme etc.?

“The deficit at the moment is up to hundreds of billions of pounds.”

The Cabinet Minister admitted that this was the case but also assured that Government interest rates are at a record low.

She said: “That’s why we can continue to use the gilt markets in order to support the country through this difficult time.

“But the key thing is that we now need to get back into a period of growth.

“We know that’s not going to happen straight away, but I think we are in a much better place than the situation where we inherited the previous deficit in 2010.”

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Ms Coffey added that it would be the Treasury that was responsible for altering anything to do with taxation.

The 2019 general election Conservative manifesto had pledged not to raise the rate of income tax, VAT or National Insurance.

The Work and Pensions Secretary told Sky: “I believe we have Chancellor who believes in a dynamic economy by investing now.

“With things like the furlough scheme we’ve managed to keep people connected to their jobs.

“So when the economy resumes fully, they’ll be able to hit the ground running.”

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