New UK Treasury chief: Mistakes were made, tax rises coming

Oct 15, 2022, 3:04 AM | Updated: Oct 17, 2022, 12:29 am
Jeremy Hunt leaves 10 Downing Street in London after he was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer f...

Jeremy Hunt leaves 10 Downing Street in London after he was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer following the resignation of Kwasi Kwarteng, Friday Oct. 14, 2022. Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng said he has accepted Prime Minister Liz Truss' request he "stand aside" as Chancellor, paying the price for the chaos unleashed by his mini-budget. (Stefan Rousseau/PA via AP)

(Stefan Rousseau/PA via AP)

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s new Treasury chief on Saturday acknowledged mistakes made by his predecessor and suggested that he may reverse much of Conservative Prime Minister Liz Truss’ tax-cutting plans in order to bring stability to the country after weeks of economic and political turbulence.

Jeremy Hunt, who was brought in Friday to replace Kwasi Kwarteng as Treasury chief and restore order in Truss’ administration, warned of “difficult decisions” to come. He said taxes could rise and public spending budgets would likely be squeezed further in the coming months.

Truss on Friday fired Kwarteng and ditched her pledge to scrap a planned increase in corporation tax as she sought to hang on to her job — after just six weeks in office.

Truss, a free-market libertarian, had previously insisted that her tax-cutting plans were what Britain needs to boost economic growth. But a “mini-budget” that she and Kwarteng unveiled three weeks ago, which promised 45 billion pounds ($50 billion) in tax cuts without explaining how the government would pay for them, sent the markets and the British pound tumbling and left her credibility in tatters.

The policies, which included cutting income tax for those on the highest incomes, were also widely criticized for being tone-deaf in the face of Britain’s cost-of-living crisis.

Hunt said Truss recognizes her mistakes and he is going to put them right. Hunt is expected to meet with Treasury officials later and with Truss on Sunday.

“It was wrong to cut the top rate of tax for the very highest earners at a time where we’re going to have to be asking for sacrifices from everyone to get through a very difficult period,” Hunt told the BBC Saturday.

“And it was wrong to fly blind and to announce those plans without reassuring people with the discipline of the Office for Budget Responsibility that we actually can afford to pay for them,” he added. “We have to show the world we have a plan that adds up financially.”

Hunt also indicated that taxes could rise and warned “it’s going to be difficult,” though he declined to give details about how he plans to balance the books ahead of a full fiscal statement expected on Oct. 31.

“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,” he said.

Hunt, who twice ran in the Conservative Party’s leadership contests, is an experienced lawmaker who previously served in top government posts including as foreign secretary.

His comments Saturday suggested he may dismantle much of the economic pledges that Truss campaigned for and tried to implement during her first weeks in office.

Truss’ U-turn on her pledge to stop a planned rise in corporation tax came after an earlier climbdown on her plans to cut the top rate of income tax for the highest earners.

Her position remains fragile. She has faced heavy pressure from across the political spectrum, including reports that senior members of her Conservative Party were plotting to force her from office.

On Friday she avoided repeated questions about why she should remain in office when she and Kwarteng were equally responsible for the government’s economic plan and the fallout it triggered.

“I am absolutely determined to see through what I have promised,” she said.

Asked Saturday how long Truss would remain as leader, Hunt said that “what the country wants now is stability” and she would be judged by what she delivers until the next general election in 2024.

“She has been prime minister for less than five weeks and I would just say this – I think that she will be judged at an election,” he said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Family seeks answers after police kill man on his own porch

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The family of an Austin, Texas, man is seeking answers after he was fatally shot by police last month on his front porch following a late-night emergency call by a neighbor. Video and audio released Thursday show that Austin police officers arrived Nov. 15, yelled “drop your gun,” then fired at […]
20 hours ago
FILE - Flowers and candles are placed around crosses on May 28, 2022, at a memorial outside Robb El...
Associated Press

Uvalde shooting victims seek $27B, class action in lawsuit

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Victims of the Uvalde school shooting that left 21 people dead have filed a lawsuit against local and state police, the city and other school and law enforcement officials seeking $27 billion due to delays in confronting the attacker, court documents show. The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in […]
20 hours ago
The Democratic National Committee Rules and Bylaws Committee discuss proposed changes to the primar...
Associated Press

Dems move to make South Carolina, not Iowa, 1st voting state

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats voted Friday to remove Iowa as the leadoff state on the presidential nominating calendar and replace it with South Carolina starting in 2024, a dramatic shakeup championed by President Joe Biden to better reflect the party’s deeply diverse electorate. The Democratic National Committee’s rule-making arm made the move to strip Iowa […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

GOP’s Joe Kent contests results of Washington state race

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — Republican Joe Kent’s campaign said Friday it intends to request a machine ballot recount of the counties within southwest Washington state’s 3rd Congressional District. “We believe the election workers did their best to ensure a fair election and count the ballots accurately,” his campaign said in a statement. “But given the […]
20 hours ago
FILE - In this May 24, 2004 file photo, a Mount Graham red squirrel darts through trees on Mount Gr...
Associated Press

Endangered red squirrel found in Arizona sees increase in population

The latest survey shows another increase in the population of the endangered Mount Graham red squirrel in the Pinaleno Mountains of Arizona.
20 hours ago
FILE - Johnny Hincapie raises his fist as he leaves the courthouse in New York, Jan. 25, 2017. Atto...
Associated Press

Man to receive almost $18 million for wrongful NY conviction

A man who was freed in 2015 after spending a quarter-century in prison for an infamous tourist killing will receive nearly $18 million in legal settlements from the city and state of New York, his attorneys confirmed Friday. Lawyers for Johnny Hincapie said it marks one of the largest settlements for a wrongful conviction in […]
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
New UK Treasury chief: Mistakes were made, tax rises coming