Home Business News Chancellor warns he might not have ‘the scope’ to cut taxes in the Spring Budget

Chancellor warns he might not have ‘the scope’ to cut taxes in the Spring Budget

by Amy Johnson LLB Finance Reporter
1st Feb 24 11:34 am

The Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has warned that he may not have the “same scope for cutting taxes” in the upcoming Spring Budget next month.

Hunt was speaking to the BBC’s Political Thinking podcast and said he might not have the room to cut taxes at the Budget on 6 March.

The Chancellor told the Cabinet this week, “It does not look to me like we will have the same scope for cutting taxes in the spring Budget that we had in the autumn statement.

“And so I need to set people’s expectations about the scale of what I am doing because people need to know that when a Conservative government cuts taxes we will do so in a responsible and sensible way.”

He added: “But we also want to be clear that the direction of travel we want to go in is to lighten the tax burden.”

Hunt said that he is waiting to hear from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) for the “final figures” when he will learn how much headroom he may have to cut taxes or his spending increases to meet his fiscal rules.

Hunt then hit out at Richard Hughes, Chairman of the OBR saying it was “wrong” of him the liken the public finance forecast to a “work of fiction.”

Hughes told peers at the Lords Economic Affairs Committee, “Some people call (the projections) a work of fiction, but that is probably being generous when someone has bothered to write a work of fiction and the Government hasn’t even bothered to write down what its departmental spending plans are underpinning the plans for public services.”

Asked about the remarks, Hunt replied, “Those words are wrong and they should not have been said.

“The Government decides spending plans and spending reviews.

“The next spending review will start in April 2025 and obviously until that point when that spending review is done, we do not publish our spending plans. No government ever has.”

Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) think tank told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, “I think the transparent thing to do would be to say, ‘Here are my tax cuts, and this is what this would mean for education spending, social care spending, local government spending’.

“I think it would be very difficult to do it (cut taxes) without having some really significant effects on the quality of public services.”

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