UK’s Hunt to keep tight budget with eye on 2024 election
British finance minister Jeremy Hunt looks set to keep his grip on the public finances in next week’s budget, refraining from big tax cuts or spending increases until the next election comes closer into view.
Lawmakers in Hunt’s Conservative Party want him to halt April’s sharp jump in the corporate tax rate to kick-start an economy on the verge of recession.
At the same time, trade unions and opposition parties are demanding bigger pay rises for nurses, teachers and other public-sector employees whose incomes have been hit by double-digit inflation.
A 30 billion pound ($35.59 billion) windfall in the battered public finances has added to the pressure on Hunt to relax the fiscal stance he took when he was rushed in as finance minister in October, after former Prime Minister Liz Truss’s “mini-budget.”
Her plans for sweeping, unfunded tax cuts triggered a bond market meltdown, leading to her replacement in Downing Street by Rishi Sunak. He and Hunt told investors that Britain was not ripping up the economic orthodoxy after all.
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