A Written Answer from the Treasury

I have received the below written answer from Ministers at the Treasury:

Treasury has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (158849):

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what analysis he has undertaken on the potential impact of recent tax rises on consumer confidence and retail sales. (158849)

I received the following answer. It is extraordinary there is no reply on the huge plunge in consumer confidence and a reassertion of out of date OBR  forecasts.


Tabled on: 25 April 2022

Lucy Frazer:

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publish monthly statistics on retail sales. According to latest data, retail sales volumes in Great Britain decreased by 1.4 per cent on the month in March 2022 but remain 2.2 per cent above February 2020 levels. The ONS does not publish official data on consumer confidence.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) set out its latest assessment of the impact of tax changes on the economy in the Economic and Fiscal Outlook, published at Spring Statement 2022. In its latest forecast, the OBR expects household consumption to grow by 5.4 per cent in 2022.

Further details can be found in the OBR’s latest Economic and Fiscal Outlook published in March 2022: https://obr.uk/efo/economic-and-fiscal-outlook-march-2022/.

The answer was submitted on 28 Apr 2022 at 10:47.


  1. Peter Wood
    May 6, 2022

    Good Morning

    Incompetence in No. 11

    Electoral liability in No. 10.

    What are you and fellow backbenchers going to do about it?

    1. Everhopeful
      May 6, 2022

      Yes! Yes!
      We have all been warning.
      And now look!!
      Is this enough of a bloody nose??

      1. Peter
        May 6, 2022

        It is a bad result to lose Wandsworth. I would have voted Conservative there regardless of national or other issues.

        £800 council tax versus £2000 plus that we have to pay just down the road!

        1. Everhopeful
          May 6, 2022

          Agree 100%

        2. ChrisS
          May 7, 2022

          I suspect the reason why Westminster and Wandsworth in particular went to Labour is because there are so many people on benefit in the borough who don’t pay council tax and therefore don’t care how much a Labour council hammers home owners. In fact, they probably relish the idea of their council squeezing home owners “until the pips squeak” to coin a phrase used by the late Denis Healey.

          A very good reason why the principle that everybody should make some contribution to every kind of tax is so important.

    2. SM
      May 6, 2022

      I’m sure we could all give a quite brief description of the kind of Party Leader we would like to see replace the current one, such as:

      politically intelligent, savvy, strong-minded and sufficiently charismatic to persuade the bulk of his/her MPs (as well as the electorate) to give their support during very difficult days and years.

      But it’s quite apparent that such a personality is currently non-existent in any Party in Westminster.

      1. Lifelogic
        May 6, 2022

        Not quite true there is a handful but non would get to be leader of the Conservative party given the dire makeup of mainly fake Tory MPs.

        1. Bloke
          May 7, 2022

          As Donald Trump might describe them: Fake Blues.

    3. Lifelogic
      May 6, 2022

      Well of all the alternative leaders who have any real change of replacing Boris all are even worse. Most are remainers, full of green crap, lacking any charisma and are misguided fools with it. Look at the betting odds. Even the appalling attack dog Neil O’Brian who spend the pandemic trying attacking far better people than himself like Prof. Gupta are in the running!

      Truss, Tugandhat, Hunt, Wallace, Maudaunt, Sunak, Zahawi, Javid, Gove, Harper, Patel, Ellwood, Raab… no thanks. Non would have a better chance than Boris. This especially if he ditches the insane Carrie green crap agenda and gets Sunak to undo all his tax increases! Tax to death manifesto ratter Sunak is dire and would not be as electable as Boris – but is, rather depressingly, perhaps the best on this list.

      1. glen cullen
        May 6, 2022

        Why does every Tory PM have to create a vanity project that’s completely 180 from the voters and members wishes….I can’t believe the idea of a green revolution came from the grassroots membership !

  2. alan jutson
    May 6, 2022

    They do not have a clue JR, do they.

  3. Peter
    May 6, 2022

    ‘It is extraordinary there is no reply on the huge plunge on consumer confidence ’

    Not really. It is a rather nebulous concept, not something that can be routinely and accurately measured. Pollsters may do so but the results would not be reliable or particularly useful.

  4. Gary Megson
    May 6, 2022

    Tax rises are absolutely necessary because the failures of Brexit have hit the economy so hard. Without tax rises we cannot pay for essential public services. You were told that Brexit would cause terrible economic harm but you said it didn’t matter because we would reclaim “sovereignty”. So stop complaining, this is what you voted for

    1. Peter2
      May 6, 2022

      Did you miss the Covid pandemic Gary?

  5. Donna
    May 6, 2022

    That’s the equivalent of an Agincourt Salute from The Treasury to Sir John – a senior Conservative back-bench MP.

    The Treasury doesn’t care about the complete dogs’ dinner they’ve made of the economy. I bet I’m not alone in suspecting that they are quietly revelling in the chaos …… it validates all the pre-Referendum fear propaganda they pumped out on behalf of Remain and they are punishing “the peasants” who didn’t vote as ordered.

    Welcome to our world Sir John. They have nothing but contempt for any of us.

  6. Peter
    May 6, 2022

    ‘ It is extraordinary there is no reply on the huge plunge in consumer confidence ’

    Not really. It is a difficult concept to measure in a worthwhile and accurate manner. Pollsters may do so but the results would not be particularly useful.

    Reply It means people will stop buying things – just watch

    1. graham1946
      May 6, 2022

      Reply yo reply

      Well, when you take people’s money away with the biggest tax burden in 70 years and allow the big companies to rip off the ordinary Joe for the sake of making unexpected vast profits for the benefit of Conservative friends, people obviously will stop buying things. Don’t need a degree in economics to know that. Consumer confidence nothing to do with it – lack of money is all.

    2. formula57
      May 6, 2022

      @ Peter – this view on confidence seems widely stated (I have seen it twice in as many minutes) but however nebulous the concept it was stated as being the most important element by William Beveridge in his 1944 report on post-war Britain (he was referring to business confidence). Typically economists would agree.

    3. Sharon
      May 6, 2022

      I think people have already stopped buying.
      In the past two weeks, I’ve met friends in two different garden centres, both – normally buzzing – were nearly empty! It was a sorry sight to see!

      1. Peter
        May 6, 2022


        I was in two garden centres in the south of our borough in the past few days. Car parks were full and they seemed busy. Even their restaurants were doing good business, though I don’t understand why people would want to eat in a garden centre.

        Incidentally I did google the £6000 bus stop you mentioned yesterday. I was not aware of this before.

  7. Everhopeful
    May 6, 2022

    As for that cheeky, illiterate reply…..🤬
    JR …surely even you must have run out of patience by now?
    Look. They are all spivs or worse.

    1. graham1946
      May 6, 2022

      Spivs usually have a bit of ‘nous’. These are incompetents who just don’t care, shielded by their high incomes, expense accounts and never mixing with ordinary people who pay their wages.

  8. Nottingham Lad Himself
    May 6, 2022

    I think that rising prices – notably of fuels – have had more impact than tax rises.

    However, if you will make these rises regressive, as the Tories have done, then the impact on confidence that they do have will be far more widespread and damaging than one which affected the rich more proportionately.

    1. Lifelogic
      May 6, 2022

      Well the many tax rises are huge but are only just starting to bite. They will destroy confidence and reduce overall long term tax receipts. As will the moronic and scientifically illiterate net zero & expensive unreliable energy madness.

      1. Nottingham Lad Himself
        May 6, 2022

        Writing of illiteracy, what about this having our libraries burnt down by people who can’t read?

        Brexit, that is – metaphorically.

        1. Peter2
          May 6, 2022

          What an odd metaphor NHL
          You really are obsessed.

    2. a-tracy
      May 6, 2022

      NLH the new tax rises have affected the middle and wealthier classes more?
      What Sunak charged extra to employees from April he is rescinding in July for earners under around £35,000 pa. Plus he gave them all £150 back via their council tax as long as they don’t own a big home over band D which covered any increase in lower paid workers NI. There are extra charges on dividends. It was almost like he did this on purpose so his government failed at this election.
      Sunak has charged the extra to businesses that hire PAYE workers which I’m sure will make you happy until people start using more sub-contract labour who don’t pay National Insurance at all or holiday pay or sick pay or NEST. These PAYE employee model businesses now pay 15.25% + 3% NEST over the lel. If you expect no repercussions from the business community then watch this space when they cut back on spending everyone takes a haircut.
      If your favoured ‘tax the rich’ people stop buying say German cars then everyone in that chain will suffer including all the mechanics, part makers, tyre replacers. There are always repercussions when you tax people disproportionately.
      If people stop going to the theatre then shows close. If people don’t go out for a meal then restaurants suffer and everyone in their supply chain. If business doesn’t invest in growth because of the promised tax increases in 2024…do you think your social enterprises will pick up the slack, our housing association lost houses, their estate shops are a complete mess, the local co-operative pub has just had to shut. Trying to hold on to ownership of shops in the centre instead of selling them freehold stops businesses investing there but who cares if these centres are just full of betting shops and charity shops. Provide a rubbish service but blame the national government for their poor investment and spending decisions.

  9. Bloke
    May 6, 2022

    After studying a storybook, school pupils were given a written comprehension test. One pupil wrote ‘the answer is in the book’.

    Lucy is similarly loose with her reply, or just doesn’t care.

    1. hefner
      May 6, 2022

      I think this pupil’s answer was quite sensible: a daft question had been asked, an answer with minimal work was produced.
      A basic entropy change minimisation approach.

    2. formula57
      May 6, 2022

      @ Bloke – although Lucy may not have even read the reply issued in her name and very likely has not read Sir John’s question.

    3. Lifelogic
      May 6, 2022

      Both a lawyer doubtless dancing to the tune of the generally dire civil servants.

  10. Richard1
    May 6, 2022

    So sir Beer Starmer drank his beer at 10pm in the company of 30 others, also with takeaway food, even though food was available at sir beers hotel. Restrictions were in place at the time and sir Beer was loud in his calls for more of them. He claims it was a ‘work gathering’ and, implausibly, that they returned to work afterwards. He has now admitted ms rayer was in fact there also.

    Sir beer has been shown to be a sanctimonious hypocrite. And I’m afraid to say a liar as well.

    It is absurd that it’s on the different whims of some policeman in London and Durham respectively that Boris is called upon to resign but sir beer is not.

    1. Nottingham Lad Himself
      May 6, 2022

      The election is over, Richard.


      1. Peter2
        May 6, 2022

        Yet you obsess about a referendum from back in 2016 on here every day NHL.

      2. Richard1
        May 6, 2022

        Yes but we have the GE to think about. There is also a question of natural justice.

  11. George Brooks.
    May 6, 2022

    All true to form. Both the Treasury and the B of E are full of Remainers who are battling to reverse Brexit. As you have pointed out on many occasions their forecasts have been grossly inaccurate and there is no reason to believe that latest forecasts will turn out to be just as inaccurate.

    It is time for the PM and the Chancellor to challenge and ignore these forecasts, reduce taxes to accelerate investment and growth and get industry to produce more for the home market in order to reduce the effect from World inflation and disrupted supply chains.

    The PM has led the Western World in supporting Ukraine and he now needs the same resolve to clean up the Civil Service and get this country back to implementing all the benefits that Brexit offers.

    1. R.Grange
      May 7, 2022

      The PM has followed US neocons down a path leading nowhere except to the defeat of Kiev’s army, as battlefield realities make their impact. This unaffordable war policy is having and will have drastic consequences for our standard of living, all for nothing except so that he can try to divert attention from his domestic political woes. Well, it hasn’t worked as we can see from the election results.

  12. Iain Gill
    May 6, 2022

    Ministers not really in charge are they, and the civil service taking the Mickey as usual.

    1. glen cullen
      May 6, 2022

      Ministers are in charge, but they’re just not responsible’

      Which is contradictory to the teachings of management ‘pass on the job – not the responsibility’

  13. Willia Long
    May 6, 2022

    Any sort of opinion is clearly way above the pay grade of the person who was told to reply.

  14. ChrisS
    May 6, 2022

    It’s been obvious for some months that we were going to be in recession this year but it has come upon us even quicker than I expected.

    The perfect storm of tax rises, fuel and energy price rises, and inflation are likely to make things worse than 2008, especially as the Bank Of England have added interest rate rises into the mix. The only reason for interest rises is to protect the currency against a rising dollar because of equally foolish US interest rate rises.

    I note that the ECB is not increasing Euro interest rates, correctly surmising that there are such significant other rises taking a large proportion of disposable income out of people’s pockets, that increasing rates would just pour expensive petrol on an already burning inferno.

    All this was so predictable. Had Sunak introduced an energy windfall tax and used the money to offset energy bills, cancelled the NI increases, and pressured the B 0f E to hold back on interest rate rises, we might have had a chance of avoiding the worst.

    Unless something is done in advance of the severe increase in the energy price cap due in October, we are going to see households either freezing or unable to feed themselves over the winter, perhaps both.
    That is an unprecedented amount of trouble and could well be fatal for the government.

  15. Sir Joe Soap
    May 6, 2022

    I think we’re all watching as the ship slowly sinks. The crew salute the flags of woke, furlough and magic money tree, but the sea goes by its natural course.

  16. glen cullen
    May 6, 2022

    Why are the Tories pursuing the ‘green agenda’ when the people of England didn’t vote in any significant or nominal numbers to suggest that the people are in full support of ‘net-zero’…I don’t see any green vote gain that could signal the support for Boris’s green revolution
    The people had the chance to vote for the green party and they choose not too…that must mean something

    1. glen cullen
      May 6, 2022

      According to the BBC more people voted for Residents Associations then the Green Party….there is no justification for net-zero, the people have spoken

      1. glen cullen
        May 6, 2022

        Even the Independents have a higher number then the green party, but listen to the BBC and Sky and you’d think they’ve won a massive victory

  17. John Miller
    May 6, 2022

    I’m encouraged by Lucy’s reply. It shows her probable promotion path. Who knows, in a few years she may even get a brush!

  18. glen cullen
    May 6, 2022

    Bank of England warns energy bills will hit £2,800 and inflation will surge to 10%
    …and whats Boris’s solution – build more windfarms

  19. Original Richard
    May 6, 2022

    Sir John,

    A suggestion if I may for your next question to the Treasury :

    Giving evidence at a Public Accounts Committee meeting last year the Treasury was unable to give any prediction at all for the future costs of Net Zero. But they will know the history so I would suggest you please ask :

    Can the Treasury advise the cost of Net Zero for 2021 including all subsidies, grants etc. paid by both the Treasury and by consumers and including all green projects listed in the Net Zero Strategy such as wind and solar farms, evs, heat pumps, hydrogen plants, CCUS, increasing National Grid capacity, installing ev chargers, smart meters etc. etc..

  20. agricola
    May 6, 2022

    Frankly SJR who cares what the Treasury thinks. They are not on the side of the people who gave their verdict yesterday. Boris had better wake up or be replaced by Lord Frost. Conservatism of the electorate is on course to be replaced by an unwholly aliance of mediocracy.
    The most pertinent comment came from the Australian Ambassador when he said that achieving an Assie/UK trade deal was a triumph of him plus Liz Truss against the views of a sclerotic , EU oriented civil service.

  21. margaret brandreth-jones
    May 6, 2022

    You may have time to concentrate your efforts on something else now !

  22. Con Voter
    May 6, 2022

    I like D.Davis piece in Telegraph today.
    I would add
    – Get Open Borders / Immigration out in the open. Yes or no. Pros and Cons. Facts and figures.
    -Make sure all Mps/Lords public and private lives are open.
    -Stop commentators calling Frost “Frostie”. It’s like “Dishy Rishi” totally cringe.

  23. wanderer
    May 6, 2022

    I sincerely hope our host keeps on asking pertinent questions and trying to improve our governance, it must be so utterly frustrating to see things going wrong and nobody in power doing anything much about it. An 80 seat majority being squandered.

    I recommend a low cholesterol diet and plenty of exercise, Sir J. Hang on in there!

  24. acorn
    May 6, 2022

    Perhaps, one day, The Treasury and the BoE will realise that we are not on the Gold standard anymore; and, that the OBR is not serving any useful purpose in our sovereign fiat currency economy. Likewise, Monetary policy also died with the Gold standard, so shut down the MPC; Fiscal policy rules OK.

    Next, remove the “full funding rule” from the DMO remit. Issue Gilts only when there is a need to take spending power out of the private sector. Better still, forget Gilts and make the NS&I Income Bond, the risk free savings account for household, pension and insurance funds; with its interest rate reviewed daily.

    I have just put about 6000 plus casino bankers and civil servants out of work in the UK alone.

    1. Peter2
      May 6, 2022

      What level of inflation is acceptable for you acorn?
      Just keep creating artificial money?
      Your magic money theory is already developing high single figure levels of inflation in America in Europe and in the UK.

  25. glen cullen
    May 6, 2022

    The green party came last (6th) in Scotland
    The green party came last (6th) in Wales
    The green party currently (8th) in Northern Ireland
    The green party came almost last (5th) in England
    Why do the Tories believe that the people want a green revolution ?

    1. Original Richard
      May 6, 2022

      glen cullen :

      A very good point.

      We need a referendum on Net Zero to stop this economy destroying strategy especially when our contribution to global CO2 emissions is just 1% and China and India are increasing their emissions hugely.

      There simply is no global warming crisis and I recommend everyone to check the data themselves and not just rely on the BBC for their information on the subject.

  26. Ed M
    May 7, 2022

    We need to stay focused on building Star Wars Laser Defence.
    Israelis can already shoot down drones and some missiles with Laser.
    And Elon Musk demonstrates what can be done with this kind of tech (not exactly there yet) and at a fraction of the cost we once thought (look at how he’s dramatically reduced the cost of sending stuff into space). That working with him and with people like him, we can build the laser tech and satellites to defend our country from 1. Sophisticated Drones 2. Hypersonic Missiles 3. Nuclear Warheads 4. Other High Tech Stuff. And this dangerous tech, that we need to defend ourselves from, is just getting more and more sophisticated and easy to get hold of (and it’s not just about the tech but the dangerous people / regimes in charge of it).
    And we can also develop our economy on the back of this new defence tech (we don’t have a choice). Turning the UK into the fortress it needs to be. We’ll also have to develop this tech alongside the USA, Europe and Australia in order to create it as quickly and as cheap as possible.
    And then we have to focus on the UK becoming 100% fuel self-sufficient. Through increased Nuclear, Fracking and Renewables (forget the environment, the argument for Renewables is that we don’t have to become dependent on our fuel from rogue states who own these hydrocarbons and being at the mercy of them).
    We need to focus on the power of High Tech moving forward for our Defence, Fuel and Economy in general. Not forgetting, we’re the country that gave Sir Isaac Newton to the world and Cambridge University.
    God bless the UK and please keep us safe, strong and happy.

  27. ChrisS
    May 7, 2022

    I still don’t think the reality of the current political and financial situation has reached Downing Street, despite the losses of Thursday evening.

    We can only hope that back benchers such as our host start to apply real pressure on ministers to change direction. Nothing else will have much effect, I am afraid.

    The fact that the Conservatives lost overall control of Wokingham Council is a wake up call. Should they choose to work together, the opposition parties can take over running the authority and that is exactly what we may well see after the next general election unless big changes are made to make the government genuinely relevant to cash-strapped average voters.

    I don’t profess to know the solution to the damage done by so-called Partygate, but it would seem that Boris’ proven election winning ability is at least matched by the fallout. When you add his (or rather Carrie’s) addiction to the Green Crap agenda, he may no longer be the best person to lead the party into the next election.

  28. Disgusted voter
    May 8, 2022

    Meanwhile today I have just seen a you tube ad from David Miliband asking for donations for International Rescue, whose job is resetting refugees in places like the UK. The government are match funding the donations and an article in the news last year states Miliband raked in USD 1 million as head of the organisation, which is backed by Soros.

    Why do the government throw our money at things like this? There are umpteen others “causes” the government throws our money at, that should be a matter for private donations from people who believe in them, and that is all!

    Another disgrace.

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