Jeremy Hunt to make snap statement on medium-term fiscal plan


Jeremy Hunt, the UK chancellor, is to make a statement later on Monday bringing forward measures from the medium-term fiscal plan, the Treasury has announced.

Hunt is also due to make a statement in the House of Commons in the afternoon, according to the Treasury.

“This follows the prime minister’s statement on Friday, and further conversations between the prime minister and the chancellor over the weekend, to ensure sustainable public finances underpin economic growth,” said a Treasury statement.

The chancellor would deliver the full medium-term fiscal plan to be published alongside a forecast from the independent Office for Budget Responsibility on 31 October, the Treasury said.

After crisis talks at Chequers over their new fiscal plan on Sunday, Jeremy Hunt insisted that Liz Truss was still “in charge” as prime minister despite her increasingly perilous position, as he warned of further public spending cuts and failed to rule out more U-turns on her disastrous mini-budget including scrapping the 1p cut to the income tax base rate.

Hunt spent the weekend trying to offer reassurance that the government had control of the economy. Yet he painted a grim picture of what it would take to stabilise it after a turbulent few weeks during which the government scrapped plans to cut the 45p top rate of income tax and freeze corporation tax. He is understood to be considering pushing back by a year plans to cut a penny off income tax next April.

“We are going to have to take some very difficult decisions, both on spending and on tax,” he told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg. “Spending is not going to increase by as much as people hoped and indeed we’re going have to ask all government departments to find more efficiencies than they had planned. Taxes are not going to go down as quickly as people thought, and some taxes are going to go up.”

Treasury sources admitted that even defence spending, which Truss had promised to increase by 3% of GDP, and the health service would face cuts. The Office for Budget Responsibility is understood to have identified a black hole in the public finances of £72bn – even greater than the £62bn outlined by the Institute for Fiscal Studies last week.

The Labour leader, Keir Starmer, increased pressure on Truss, calling on her to make an urgent Commons statement on Monday, with party insiders saying they would do everything possible to force her to come.

“The prime minister says she is in charge but the evidence this weekend suggests she is in office but not in power,” he said.

Plotting at Westminster has continued with a group of senior Tory MPs, many of them supporters of Rishi Sunak, planning to meet on Monday night for a dinner hosted by the ex-Treasury minister Mel Stride, amid speculation that as many as 100 no confidence letters have been submitted to Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, which is due to hold a routine meeting on Wednesday.

Source: The Guardian