The flattening secretary described the proposal that the chancellor’s mini-budget would be “phased down the economy” as left-wing “nonsense”.
Simon Clarke made the comments ahead of a tax cut budget to be announced on Friday.
The right-wing economic theory that cutting taxes on businesses and high earners will allow the benefits to “trickle down” to the pockets of the poorest has become a political football this week as the prime minister pushes ahead with tax cuts.
Although it has been described as a “mini” budget, Friday’s announcements are expected to be extensive. Despite this fact, the plans have not been subjected to the usual analysis of the Accountability Office of the Budget.
When asked about it, Clarke said the OBR had said it was too short a notice to complete “the usual quality of analysis it would provide”. He later hinted that he had not been asked to do so, saying: “They will be asked to do this modeling alongside the next events later this financial year.”
The latest blow to “high finance” comes after US President Joe Biden said during his first bilateral talks with Liz Truss in New York earlier this week that he was “sick and tired” of politics and that ” it never worked.”
Clarke told Sky News shortly before the budget on Friday morning: “This whole term trickle-down is such nonsense and is itself a centre-left mischaracterization of what this government is. We need to grow the economy because a more successful economy is good for everyone.”
The flattening secretary said he wanted to see growth return to pre-crash levels in 2008 and that Friday’s announcements would go much further than the long-awaited scrapping of the National Insurance rise.
Clarke said the chancellor would say a more successful economy created a “virtuous cycle” of more funds being put into public services.
Pat McFadden, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said the expected announcements were not actually a growth plan.
“What it looks like today is the government taking a huge gamble with the public finances, taking a series of measures and putting it all into borrowing and calling it the growth plan,” he told BBC Breakfast.
McFadden repeated Labour’s call for a further windfall tax on oil and gas companies and said the government did not appear to be trying to raise revenue.
“This isn’t really a growth plan, it’s a return to some very old-style Tory policies based on the belief that if you make the already rich even richer, it will trickle down to the rest of us.”
He said “flip-flopping and chaos” was a threat to stability, adding: “It will be the third change to national insurance in six months. It’s the legislative equivalent of digging a hole and filling it in again.”
Clarke, who was a former chief secretary to the Treasury, also defended his decision to change his position to support reversing the rise in national insurance.
“I served the government of the day and with a new prime minister comes new perks – but to be clear, we will stand behind the investment in our NHS and social care announced by Boris Johnson as prime minister. We will just pay for it through general taxation and not through a specific levy,” he told Sky News.