Great Britain

'We have to get over it': Lord Sugar says taxing the rich won't help and austerity unavoidable

Alan Sugar has rejected calls to raise taxes for the rich to help the UK recover from coronavirus, as he claimed another period of austerity was inevitable.

The businessman claimed a 60-per-cent levy on people earning over £200,000 “wouldn’t touch the sides” and would deter entrepreneurs from creating jobs and opportunities.

“There will be austerity,” Lord Sugar told BBC Radio 5 Live. “We will have to get over it. It’s not going to be resolved. It’s going to take a couple of years for the country to recover, for jobs to recover. There’s no question of it.

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“If you tax people who earn a couple of hundred thousand pounds a year to the tune of 60 per cent it wouldn’t touch the sides, it would bring nothing to the coffers. By doing that, you are dis-incentivising people to get back to work, dis-incentivising entrepreneurs to actually create jobs and opportunities.

“I don’t think tax is the answer. Austerity is going to happen, unfortunately – it’s going to happen and we will work our way out of it like we did in 2007.”

Boris Johnson has previously said that a further round of austerity would not be part of the UK's response to coronavirus.

Lord Sugar, who backed Mr Johnson in last year’s election, also attacked critics of the government’s handling of the crisis, claiming that it was “acceptable” for the government to be “caught on the hop” by the pandemic

He said: “It is an extraordinary scenario. To constantly hammer and blame the government for every single thing like Piers Morgan is doing is absolutely disgraceful.”

Lord Sugar said he also supported the government’s move to get people back to work, adding that getting people off the furlough scheme “will depend on the diligence and the truthfulness of their employer”.

He added: ”I think in general British people want to work ... We don’t want to sit around doing nothing.”

The 73-year-old Apprentice boss was in the US when the pandemic began and has spent the lockdown at his home in the Florida. “I’m flying my planes, I’m riding around in a little boat, I’m cycling 40 miles every three days,” he said.

“We are over 70 years old so it really is a bit of a no-brainer to stay here until things look clearer in the UK,” said Lord Sugar, who was criticised for spreading fake coronavirus claims using his Twitter account last month.

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