UK government should cut taxes to boost growth - senior Treasury minister

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss arrives in Downing Street in London, Britain June 18, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain should use the opportunity of leaving the European Union to cut taxes such as those on income and buying property, senior Treasury minister Liz Truss said on Thursday.

Truss, tipped as a possible finance minister if Boris Johnson becomes prime minister later this month, told journalists at a lunch in parliament that Britain should use leaving the EU to make its economy the biggest in Europe.

“We need to use the freedom that we are going to have leaving the EU to create a more flexible, nimble economy,” Truss said, adding that Britain needed to do everything it could do boost levels of economic growth.

“We need to cut the tax burden – like stamp duty and income tax - and be prepared to make the argument that people should more of their own money.”

Truss, who is supporting frontrunner Johnson in the leadership contest ahead of the result due on July 23, also said the tax system should be simplified.

“Our tax code is far too long - in particular our business and corporation taxes are out of date for the way that companies work today ... the answer is simplifying the overall tax system,” she said. “Making it clearer and more transparent will improve revenues and improve economic growth.”

Truss, who backed remaining in the EU at the 2016 referendum but says she has since changed her mind on Brexit, said she thought Prime Minister Theresa May’s three-times rejected exit deal with the bloc was “a dead duck”.

Johnson, who quit as May’s foreign minister over her Brexit plans, has promised to take Britain out of the EU by Oct. 31 “do or die” and has said he will renegotiate May’s deal.

“We now need a fresh approach, it is more urgent than ever before,” Truss said. “The British public have lost huge trust in politicians and that is why we need to deliver by October 31. Let’s start afresh and let’s get it done.”

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, editing by Stephen Addison