Jeremy Hunt has hinted at tax rises and massive cuts as he seeks to balance the books and steady the markets after a disastrous few weeks for the Liz Truss administration.
In his first interview since replacing Kwasi Kwarteng as Chancellor on Friday, the former health secretary said ‘we have some very difficult decisions ahead’.
He told Sky News: ‘The last few weeks have been very tough but the context of course is coming out of a pandemic and a cost-of-living crisis.
‘And the thing that people want, markets want, the country needs now, is stability. No Chancellor can control the markets.
‘But what I can do is show that we can pay for our tax and spending plans and that is going to need some very difficult decisions on both spending and tax.’
Mr Hunt said ‘there were mistakes’ in Ms Truss and Mr Kwarteng’s mini-budget, adding: ‘It was a mistake to fly blind and to do these forecasts without giving people the confidence of the Office of Budget Responsibility saying that the sums add up.
‘The Prime Minister’s recognised that, that’s why I’m here.’
He went on: ‘We will have some very difficult decisions ahead. Spending will not rise by as much as people would like and all Government departments are going to have to find more efficiencies than they were planning to.
‘And some taxes will not be cut as quickly as people want. Some taxes will go up. So it’s going to be difficult.
‘But as we take those difficult decisions, my priority, our values as a Government, will be to protect families, businesses, who are going through a very challenging time.’
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