Jeremy Hunt has said he regrets the turbulence caused by Liz Truss’ mini-budget, but he doesn’t believe it has done long-term economic damage.
The independent Resolution Foundation estimated that the former prime minister’s mistakes cost the UK £30 billion, while Paul Johnson, the director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies, called it one of a series of economic ‘own goals’ that have led to the UK’s bleak outlook.
But Mr Hunt told Sky News’ Beth Rigby Interview Show: “I don’t recognize those figures from the Resolution Foundation.”
He added: “I don’t believe there was a long-term effect because the measures they put in place were rolled back so quickly.
“I think what the world wanted to see was the UK not spending money it didn’t have and committing to paying back its debts. And Rishi Sunak and myself gave them that reassurance.”
However, he said he accepts “we’ve had a rough patch over the past few months”.
“I wish we hadn’t had what happened with the mini-budget and all the turbulence that happened there,” he said.
When Truss announced a series of unfunded tax cuts in September, it contributed to the financial chaos that sent markets into freefall, plunged the value of the pound, shot up mortgage rates and forced the Bank of England to step in to reverse the collapse. of pension funds.
This ultimately led to her downfall when Mr Hunt was called upon to reverse almost all of the economic policies that won her the Tory leadership election brought about by Boris Johnson’s resignation.
Mr Hunt declined to apologize for the unrest, saying “actions speak louder than words”.
“I think we showed that we think what happened was wrong. We corrected it and we put the country back on track,” he said.
The chancellor presented his long-awaited autumn statement to parliament last Thursdayriddled with hidden taxes and restrictions on government spending to the tune of £55bn in an attempt to plug the black hole in public finances.
The measures will leave about 55% of households worse off, according to the Treasury’s own analysis, while the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) warned UK households’ disposable income would fall by 7.1% over the next two years – the largest drop ever recorded.
Mr. Hunt has accepted “challenging times” lie ahead but insisted his tax increases were not “just misery for misery”.
“It was to make sure we really have that bright future that everyone wants,” he said.
He reiterated his claim that the problems facing the UK economy are global, while dismissing predictions about the trade hit caused by Brexit.
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The OBR predicts Brexit will cause a 4% reduction in GDP over the longer term, equating to around £100bn in lost trade and around £40bn in tax revenue.
But Mr. Hunt said he did not accept these figures.
“I do not accept that Brexit is the cause of the great economic difficulties we are facing,” he said.
“Brexit is a choice Britain has made as a country. And whether we are going to make it a success or not is a choice we have to make now.
“The main reason for the deterioration of our economic picture is the high international energy prices.”
Mr Hunt spoke in Birmingham after meeting working pupils on the HS2 program.
Some Conservative MPs have spoken out against the expensive project, with senior backbencher Esther McVey saying she will not support his tax hikes unless the project is scrapped.
However, Mr Hunt said the project was an integral part of the Conservatives’ agenda to raise levels.
“We’re not going to compromise on the really big projects that make a difference to our economy. And HS2 is one of them.”