It’s not often in Westminster that the stars align. This week the Adam Smith Institute announced that Tax Freedom Day 2022 has fallen on 8 June – the latest date since the 1980s. It comes as Boris Johnson, fresh off the back of a no confidence vote in his leadership, is facing a growing number of demands from Tory MPs from all factions to cut taxes.

And who can blame them? After all, the tax burden on Britons at the moment is astoundingly high. Tax Freedom Day, a calculation of the number of days the “average” person would have to work off to pay their taxes, has arrived more than 40 per cent of the way through the year. It doesn’t just measure direct taxes either – although these have, of course, gone up too. It also takes indirect taxation into account, such as VAT and corporation tax, including those we might call “stealth taxes”: often taxes on consumption and investment which the government would rather we didn’t think about.

This isn’t just bad for individuals, who are being pummeled both by the National Insurance rise and the refusal of the government to index tax brackets to inflation. The NI rise – which is a tax on employers as well as employees – the upcoming increase in corporation tax and the lack of clarity on what will replace the super-deduction policy in the autumn, sends out the signal that Britain is not a good place to do business. This is hardly a message the UK can afford to be sending at the best of times, but it comes as the OECD announced that it expects the economy to stagnate next year, with private consumption entering into decline as rising prices erode household income.

It’s clear then that Johnson and Sunak need to start taking the calls for tax cutting, both for individuals and business, with the seriousness they deserve. It is equally important for the government to make the right decisions about how best to target these tax cuts.

On the individual level, there are two actions that could be taken swiftly – reverse the NI rise and bring forward the income tax cut. Not only would this leave more money in the pockets of workers, it also cuts a tax that has been demonstrated to hurt investment and economic growth in a far more detrimental way than consumption taxes like VAT.

The Treasury should also start taking the impact of fiscal drag on workers more seriously. Its decision to keep tax brackets frozen has effectively dragged more and more people into higher tax brackets. By freezing these brackets until at least 2026, the Treasury is taking a further £19.6 billion from the public. In the immediate term, the government should at least unfreeze the first income tax threshold, taking those on minimum wage out of income tax entirely to help ease the cost of living.

On the business side, the government needs to recognise that it can’t keep taxing and spending its way out of the cost of living crisis – it needs to grow its way out. One of the most effective ways of doing this would be to replace the super-deduction with a long-term full expensing policy: letting businesses deduct the full value of their investments from their tax bill immediately.

It’s all very well for Sunak to promise to set out “a range of tax cuts and reforms to help and incentivise businesses to invest more, train more and innovate more” as he did in his Telegraph article. But until the Treasury starts putting its money where its mouth is and delivering effective tax cuts, Tax Freedom Day will just be one of the ways we can all keep holding him to account on this promise.

Emily Fielder is head of communications at the Adam Smith Institute.