Britain’s taxes will be cut “as soon as we can afford it,” says finance minister

Britain's taxes will be cut

Treasury Secretary Jeremy Hunt unveiled a sweeping £55bn ($66bn) fiscal plan in his much-anticipated first autumn statement.

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Britain’s Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt said on Friday that the government will seek to cut taxes “as soon as we can afford it” amid pressure from some lawmakers in his own party to cut the country’s levies.

Hunt will present its first full budget on March 15 as the country continues to grapple with high food and energy costs, widespread labor unrest, the aftermath of Brexit and the worst growth prospects among the major G-20 economies.

Britain’s ruling Conservative Party faces a voting hill ahead of next year’s general election, with polls consistently pointing to a landslide for the main opposition Labor Party. The latest YouGov poll on Tuesday put Labor 28 points ahead of the Conservatives.

Speaking to CNBC’s Tanvir Gill on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting in Bengaluru, India, on Friday, Hunt remained optimistic his economic plans would win back public confidence.

“When the election comes around, I think people will see that when it comes to making the hard and difficult decisions, putting the responsibility back into public finances, bringing down inflation, letting the economy grow , then that’s the Conservative Party.” he said.

“We’re the party that’s going to end up building an economy that can put more resources into our national health service, that can support our armed forces to do their very important work, that can keep taxes down, we think that is.” the things most people care about.”

When asked if taxes will be lower by the election, Hunt said, “As soon as we can afford it, yes.”

Plans for “most competitive” corporate tax rates

He also pledged to eventually cut corporate taxes, which will rise from 19% to 25% for the fiscal year beginning April 1.

“The path we want to take, particularly when it comes to corporations, is more competitive corporate taxation,” Hunt said.

“We will carefully review any changes we can make as part of good stewardship of public finances, but the long-term goal is to have nothing less than the most competitive corporate tax rates anywhere.”

In his fall statement in November, Hunt delivered a series of tax increases and spending cuts as he set about plugging a significant hole in the country’s public finances.

The sweeping £55 billion ($66 billion) financial plan was aimed at restoring the country’s credibility under Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government after the chaos unleashed by the former government’s disastrous ‘mini-budget’ at the end of September leader Liz Truss had been triggered.

A sharp improvement in public finances and a sharp fall in wholesale gas prices since Hunt took office led the government to a surprise budget surplus of £5.4 billion in January.

Hunt dismissed suggestions earlier this week that he had been dealt a “windfall” due to the falling cost of the energy price guarantee to shore up household energy bills, and indicated that this time he will defy calls from backbenchers within the Conservative Party to say to lower taxes. The UK tax burden is currently at a 70-year high.

At a green industry conference in London on Tuesday, Hunt argued that the falling cost of the energy price guarantee would be offset by a drop in windfall taxes on excess energy price gains, meaning a much smaller net expansion in government coffers.

“The important thing is that these were just one-off costs for a year. To make lasting changes in taxes and spending that repeat year after year, you need a more fundamental change in national policy,” he said.