Jeremy Hunt says that some taxes ‘will have to go up’
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Jeremy Hunt could be the “strongest Chancellor in history”, ITV’s political editor has suggested. Robert Peston said the new Chancellor may be in the “unusual position of being the team captain” due to Liz Truss’s weakness.
Mr Peston made the comments in a Twitter thread the day after Mr Hunt was parachuted into Number 11 by the Prime Minister, who is battling to save her premiership.
The journalist said the Chancellor has “totally reset” Ms Truss’s economic policy in a series of broadcast interviews this morning.
Mr Peston said he had interviewed Mr Hunt, who is now widely seen as the most powerful figure in Government.
Writing on Twitter, ITV’s political editor said: “I put to him that he is the strongest Chancellor in history, because Truss is so weak after the chaos of the past few weeks and the way bond prices sunk after her press conference yesterday, she hasn’t the power to countermand any measure he deems necessary.
“If she even thought of sacking him, she would be toast. He didn’t engage with that, insisting instead they are a team, and that it is in the national interest she survives as PM.
“If that is right, however, the new Chancellor may be in the unusual position of being the team captain.”
Mr Peston’s comments come after Mr Hunt signalled that he would drive a coach and horses through Ms Truss’s economic strategy as he suggested tax rises could form part of a fiscal package designed to restore market confidence in the UK.
It comes after three weeks of chaos on the financial markets in the wake of the tax-slashing mini-budget.
Ms Truss yesterday sacked her close friend Kwasi Kwarteng as Chancellor and made a U-turn on dropping the planned rise in corporation tax from 19 percent to 25 percent in a bid to stay in power.
Speaking today, Mr Hunt warned of “difficult decisions” to come as he suggested tax rises and spending cuts were on the cards.
He told Sky News: “It was a mistake when we’re going to be asking for difficult decisions across the board on tax and spending to cut the rate of tax paid by the very wealthiest.
“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.”
Allies of Mr Hunt, a former foreign secretary and health secretary, compared his new role to that of the “chief executive” in Government, with Ms Truss the “chairman”.
Mr Hunt acknowledged that the Prime Minister had effectively relinquished control of the public finances over to him.
The Chancellor, who will meet with Treasury officials later and with Ms Truss at Chequers on Sunday, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he now had a “clean slate” on the mini-budget.
It comes as he prepares to deliver a highly anticipated fiscal statement on October 31.
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