LONDON (HPD) — Britain’s new Treasury chief on Saturday acknowledged the mistakes made by his predecessor and suggested he could reverse much of Britain’s Prime Minister Liz Truss’s tax-cutting plans to bring stability to the country. after weeks of economic and political turmoil.
Jeremy Hunt, who joined the government on Friday to replace Kwasi Kwarteng and restore order to Truss’s team, warned that “difficult decisions” lie ahead. Taxes could rise and public spending budgets could be cut a bit more in the coming months, he added.
On Friday, Truss fired Kwarteng and scrapped his promise to scrap a planned corporate tax hike, in a bid to retain his job after just six weeks in office.
The prime minister, an extreme promoter of free markets, had previously insisted that her tax cut plans were what the country needed to boost economic growth. But the “mini-budget” that she and Kwarteng presented three weeks ago, which promised 45 billion pounds ($50 billion) in tax cuts but did not explain how they would be met, sent markets and sterling plummeting and left its credibility. Under minimum.
This policy, which included an income tax cut for higher earners, was also widely criticized for ignoring the country’s cost-of-living crisis.
Hunt stated that Truss acknowledges his mistakes and that he is going to correct them.
“It was a mistake to cut the top tax rate for the highest incomes at a time when we are going to have to ask everyone to make sacrifices to get through a very difficult period,” he told the BBC on Saturday.
“And it was a mistake … to announce those plans without reassuring the population with the discipline of the Office of Budget Responsibility that we can really afford them,” he added. “We have to show the world that we have a plan that fits financially.”
Hunt also pointed out that there could be a tax increase and that “it is going to be difficult”.
“Spending will not increase as much as people would like and all government departments are going to have to find more returns than they anticipated. And some taxes won’t come down as fast as people want,” he said.
Hunt, who has stood twice to lead the Conservative Party, is an experienced lawmaker who has previously held other prominent government posts, including foreign secretary.
His remarks on Saturday suggest he could dismantle much of the economic promises Truss campaigned on and tried to put in place in her first weeks as prime minister.
The president’s position remains delicate. She has faced strong pressure from across the political spectrum, including reports that senior officials in her Conservative Party were plotting to force her to resign.