Jeremy Hunt has said everyone is going to be paying higher taxes but those who earn the most will have to make larger sacrifices.
The chancellor told the Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme during Thursday’s autumn statement he “will be asking everyone for sacrifices” but recognises there is “only so much we can ask” from people on the lowest incomes.
“That will be reflected in the decisions that I take, that’s important because Britain is a decent country, a fair country, a compassionate country,” he said.
“We’re all going to be paying a bit more tax, I’m afraid.”
Nurses across the UK this week voted to go on strike for the first time, with a date to be confirmed, as they demand a 17% pay rise.
Mr Hunt, who was health secretary when junior doctors went on strike for the first time in 2015, said he was “very conscious” of their concerns and understands they are asking for that above-inflation increase because of the impact of inflation on their pay packet.
But he said: “I think we have to recognise a difficult truth that if we gave everyone inflation-proof pay rises, inflation would stay. We wouldn’t bring down inflation.
“And that’s why, you know, I’m not pretending there aren’t some difficult decisions.
“The way through this is to bring down inflation as quickly as possible, because that is the root cause of your concern, your anger, your frustration, that your pay isn’t going as far as it might.”
Mr Hunt promised the autumn statement will “not just be bad news” but said he believes the public recognises “if you want to give people confidence about the future you have to be honest about the present”.
He said his plan will bring down inflation, control high energy prices and “get our way back to growing, healthily”.
The chancellor said his plan will help get the UK out of a recession as quickly as possible.
But he also said spending cuts from government departments will be needed and hinted no more funding will be given to the NHS.
He said the health service’s funding is already going up but it needs to do “everything it can to find efficiencies”.