WORCESTER’S MP says following the successful and popular Coronavirus measures of recent months it is now the “tough bit” to work out how to pay off the national debt.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has paid 80 per cent of the wages of workers placed on leave since March at a cost of £35 billion, and the Eat Out to Help Out scheme that ran throughout August is estimated to have cost a further£400m.

Despite the eye-watering figures, the measures were seen by many as necessary to save jobs and proved generally popular with the public. But attention has now turned to how the costs will be paid, with speculation there could be tax rises and an increase in fuel duty in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s November budget.

Mr Walker said: “There has been a lot of speculation (over what will be in the budget) and I expect there will be a lot of work done in the meantime.

“No one ever likes to see tax increases but in some areas it may be necessary to see this through. It is Rishi’s difficult job, having done the popular bit, the interventions to support the economy that were very, very successful - he has now got to do the tough bit on how to pay for that.”

Mr Walker added he would prefer to see continual investment in spending rather than cuts, and would also rather see “careful” taxation, with the system made fairer.

Nigel Huddleston, MP for Mid Worcestershire, said a Chancellor was always more popular when giving out hand outs.

“I do think people have to recognise we are in a very different world to where we were a few months ago,” the MP said.

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“I think it is right the treasury consider all options. None of us like to see tax increases. The country’s ability to sustain debt is greater than it was as interest rates are so low. The key thing is we need to get back to economic growth as soon as possible.

“As soon as growth returns that generates more taxes. We have to remember health, social care and education are paid for through the taxes generated by economic activity. We need to do everything we can to get the recovery going.”

Harriett Baldwin, MP for West Worcestershire, said: “There has been a great deal of speculation about what changes the Chancellor may announce..

“The government moved swiftly to implement a range of measures to help protect jobs and livelihoods. A lot of organisations will be lobbying the government to press for their own solutions for how we will pay back our national debt and I am confident that the Chancellor and his team will consider all the options as we deal with these unprecedented economic challenges.”