Small business minister Paul Scully has this morning defended the government’s forthcoming tax hike, and floundered when asked the price of a pint of milk.

The MP for Sutton and Cheam was quizzed on the cost of living on Sky News’s Breakfast programme presenter: “I’m just wondering how in touch you are with all of this. Can you tell us how much the national minimum wage is, for example, and the price of a pint of milk?”

“The national minimum wage is £8.91, that’s going up to £9.50. I don’t buy my milk in pints these days, I tend to buy the four pint… larger… larger… cartons, but this isn’t about…”

Dodging a question on the price of four pints he hit back: “We have a massive pandemic, as you unwind that pandemic you get into the global situations of supply chains, of energy costs, that are affecting not just people in Britain but people around the world.

“We’ve got to make sure we look after people in this country. What we’re doing is we’re targeting the people on minimum wage and on Universal Credit.”

In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he insisted that the Government was not implementing a “stealth tax” via an income tax threshold freeze, claiming that those with “broader shoulders” ought to contribute more.

House of Commons Library analysis suggests that the Treasury’s plan to freeze income tax thresholds will push over 1.2 million workers’ earnings above the 40p threshold by 2026.

This comes alongside soaring energy prices and plans to rollout increased National Insurance contributions from April.

Scully argued that Britain’s is the best in the G20 and has climbed “by something like 50 per cent” over the last half a decade,
“What we are making sure is that we’re targeting the lowest-paid, we’re taking the lowest-paid out of tax entirely.”

“In terms of the people that you’re talking about, we’ve got to get the balance right so we’ve got taxes coming so we can pay for public services and pay for the NHS, which is obviously first and foremost in people’s minds with the pandemic and the challenges that has.”

“It’s right that we use the revenues for stronger growth to pay for public services, and the burden of that falls on the people with the broader shoulders, the highest-paid”.