A Tax on the Truth
How the British press turned a story about Sunak's Government raising taxes to their highest level in more than 70 years into 'the biggest tax cuts since the 1980s'
You cannot hope to bribe or twist,
Thank God! the British journalist.
But, seeing what the man will do
Unbribed, there's no occasion to.
Humbert Wolfe, 1930
Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement confirmed some quite spectacularly bleak news about the state of the British economy.
According to the Government’s own Office for Budget Responsibility, Brits have experienced the biggest fall in living standards since the Second World War, with the long period of low economic growth presided over by the Conservatives since 2010 set to continue for years more to come.
Meanwhile, despite Hunt’s claims to be “cutting taxes”, the overall tax burden is set to rise to its highest level in more than 70 years.
By any reasonable standard it was a disaster.
And yet for most people picking up a copy of a British newspaper this morning, they will have got a very different impression.
With the exception of the FT and the I, both of which take the radical step of actually printing the truth about taxes going up, most of the papers splash on Hunt making what they describe as the “biggest tax cuts since the 1980s”.
So what’s going on here and why is the majority of the British press so determined to spin so shamelessly for a Government which looks overwhelmingly likely to be out of office within the next year?
Here’s what’s really going on.