Jeremy Hunt has declared he is ‘Scrooge’ to save Christmas as he warns of ‘terrible decisions’ about taxes and spending to tackle ‘nasty’ inflation and restore stability to end a recession ‘made in Russia” to shorten.
The Chancellor has promised a “rabbit-free household” that prioritizes “honesty” and “solid money,” with the broadest-shouldered people bearing the brunt of rising costs to help balance the books.
He insisted the British public wanted the Tories to be trusted and not “popular” and said the plan over the coming week was to give families and businesses “reassurance” that the government had a plan to deal with it restore economic stability.
“That will be settled as far as Thursday is concerned,” he said.
In an interview with the Sunday Times, Mr Hunt said the “tragedy” of Trussonomics was that both the former Prime Minister and her Chancellor had the right idea to boost growth.
But he said it was a “mistake” to act without showing “that we can pay each other as a country”, adding that he would “put people before ideology”.
He suggested he won’t be pulling any rabbits out of a hat when he makes his much-anticipated autumn statement next week, unlike his predecessor – who enacted a dramatic cut in the top tax rate in his unfortunate “tax event”. .
“I think it’s fair to say that this will be the first household without rabbits in very many years,” said the Chancellor.
“I’m sorry to disappoint, but no, I’m afraid this won’t be a time for rabbits.”
He warned people not to expect some “very terrible decisions” to “put us back to the place where we are the amazing country we all want to be”.
The question isn’t really whether we’re in a recession, but what we can do to make it shorter and flatterJeremy Hunt
“I’m Scrooge, who will make sure Christmas is never missed,” he explained.
Mr Hunt said he expected the country to enter an official recession after GDP contracted 0.2% between July and September.
“The question isn’t really whether we’re in a recession, it’s what we can do to make it shorter and flatter,” he said.
He insisted the “first thing” he could do on Thursday is to tackle sky-high inflation.
“If we can control inflation with the Bank of England, we will be able to contain the rise in interest rates around the world, contain the rise in mortgage rates that people are seeing and contain the cost of credit that companies borrow and have a chance to get back on track,” he said.
“But that stability was precisely what was missing – largely thanks to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. This is a recession made in Russia and we need to restore that stability as a first step to growth.”
He also advocated “honest money” and “honest politicians”.
“For Conservatives, we all understand that a prosperous economy, a vibrant economy, has to have low taxes and sound money,” he said.
“But healthy money must come first and, you know, Margaret Thatcher said there was nothing moral about spending money you don’t have.”
Mr Hunt said Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwateng were “absolutely right” that Britain needs to “unlock the growth paradox” if it is to pay for the NHS and good public services.
“That insight is absolutely correct, and I’m going to spend as much time on Thursday talking about growth as I do about tax increases and spending cuts because it’s really important that we deal with these issues,” he said.
“But it was a mistake to do so without the OBR projections, which showed we can pay our way as a country.”
In a sign of what is to come on Thursday, Mr Hunt said “people with the broadest shoulders will carry the heaviest burden”.
It is understood that consideration will be given to lowering the threshold at which top earners start paying the top tax rate.
But he pointed out that a broader cohort will eventually be affected by increases in energy costs as the government cannot afford to defuse its bills forever.
“We have to be honest with people – it’s not possible to subsidize people’s energy bills indefinitely,” he said.
Whilst this is likely to take a toll across the board, the Sunday Times suggested the Chancellor should consider a support package to protect the most vulnerable, including pensioners and benefit recipients, from April.
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/hunt-im-scrooge-with-a-plan-to-save-christmas-by-beating-evil-inflation-42139599.html Hunt: I’m Scrooge with a plan to save Christmas by beating evil inflation