Treasury minister downplays need for tax rises Jesse Norman, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, has downplayed the need for immediate tax rises to help balance the nation’s books following the coronavirus crisis. Answering questions from the Commons Treasury Committee, he suggested a swift economic recovery from a recession brought about by the pandemic could see ministers avoid increasing taxes in response to record levels of government borrowing. He was speaking in the wake of press reports over the weekend which suggested Chancellor Rishi Sunak could be set to announce tax increases in his March 3 budget. Mr Norman said it is “not absolutely obvious” that taxes will need to be raised, saying there may be a “somewhat delayed but nevertheless very pronounced bounce” and pointing to “features of the economy which would suggest that could be quite significant”. Mr Norman said Mr Sunak is “looking to build strong, sustainable public finances over the longer term”, adding this this “seems to me to be a judicious recognition that some taxation could impede growth, could damage our recovery”. Mel Stride, chair of the Treasury Committee, said: “I take away from this that it’s not a done deal that there will be tax rises.” Meanwhile, Mr Norman also revealed that policymakers are “still reflecting on” the possibility of an online sales tax.