CHANCELLOR Phillip Hammond has told the Prime Minister to “butt out” of his Budget, as tensions between No 10 and No 11 soar after their most recent spat over the price of plastic bags.
Theresa May is controversially supporting an increase in the plastic bag levy from 5p to 10p.
According to Mrs May’s aides last week, she has already agreed to the rise proposed by Environment Secretary Michael Gove.
But Mr Hammond insisted yesterday that no decision has been made, tweeting during his week off to contradict these claims.
He said all options to tackle plastic pollution still “remain open and under active consideration”.
He added: “I will be saying more at the Budget about how we can use the tax system to meet this challenge.”
Mr Hammond’s allies have said he sent a clear message to the Prime Minister she should stop publicly dictating what should be in his economic plan for the country.
A source close to the Chancellor said: “Phillip is insistent that it’s his Budget, not hers, so her people should butt out.
“She doesn’t write it, he does. And he will not take edicts from No 10 like this.”
Mr Hammond may oppose this increase in the levy, as he tends to prefer giving companies tax incentives to change their behaviour rather than enforcing tax rises that hit consumers.
The latest conflict between No 10 and No 11 comes after their bust-up in June when Mrs May announced an extra £20billion a year for the NHS.
Mr Hammond was left red-faced after Mrs May failed to properly consult him over the announcement or discussing with him where the £20billion would come from.
The pair have also clashed over a no deal Brexit and how damaging it would be for the UK economy – the Prime Minister still insists “no deal is better than a bad deal”, but her Chancellor has warned of the risks of leaving with no deal.
Last year Mrs May also secretly planned to sack Mr Hammond when they were feuding during snap election campaign, but they managed to resolve their issues.
One insider said: “Relations are getting really bad again between them, and its being increasingly harder to hide it.”
They still agree however, that a soft Brexit is better than a hard Brexit.
A consultation on the Government’s 25-year plan to tackle Britain’s “throwaway culture” will be revealed later this week.