Jeremy Hunt, the new Chancellor of the United Kingdom named by Prime Minister Liz Truss after her fired her friend Kwasi Kwarteng in an attempt to calm the ongoing economic and political crisis, he admitted on Saturday that his predecessor made mistakes and signaled a reversal of his tax-cutting approach.
Hunt, a former Conservative Party leadership candidate who is being dubbed the most powerful man in the UK government as Truss struggles to regain his credibility, also indicated that spending cuts should be introduced across all departments state to deal with the tough economic situation. weather
He acknowledged that the mini-budget presented by Kwarteng late last month had “two mistakes”: cutting the tax rate by 45 cents for the highest earners, an announcement since reversed, and announcing the package of cuts to taxes without independent costs by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).
“The way we did it was clearly not right and that’s why I’m sitting here now,” he told the BBC.
“Taxes won’t go down as much as people expected, and some taxes will have to go up. I’m going to ask all government departments to find additional efficiency savings,” he said.
It signals a reversal of Truss’ central issue of tax cuts on which he had campaigned to win the Conservative Party leadership race against former chancellor Rishi Sunak.
It means the turmoil at the top of the UK government is far from over, with disgruntled Tory rebels and Sunak loyalists challenging the new leader amid his various twists and turns. The fact that he fired Kwarteng just 38 days into the job for announcing policies in the mini-budget he campaigned for is being seen as an attempt to place the blame entirely on him for the financial market chaos that ensued.
Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen, who backed Sunak in the leadership race, said he believed “there would be a challenge for Truss in the coming weeks”.
“Dissatisfaction is very high in the parliamentary party. Removing Kwasi Kwarteng when he implemented the policies she asked him to do will not build loyalty towards her,” he said.
Meanwhile, former Tory leader William Hague said Truss’s leadership was “hanging by a thread”. According to party insiders, it is hard to find Tory MPs who do not believe Truss’s days at 10 Downing Street are numbered.
“We can’t force another prime minister out of office, we just have to calm down and try to give the prime minister our support,” said Conservative MP and Truss supporter Christopher Chope.
Truss herself has insisted she would stay on as prime minister to grow the economy.
“I am absolutely determined to see through what I promised – to deliver a more prosperous Britain and greater growth to see us through the storm we face,” she told a Downing Street press conference on Friday. the shortest in recent history. during which he cleared away questions about his resignation.
It came at the end of a dramatic day of events, which began with Kwarteng returning early from his trip to Washington and ended with one of the shortest stints in 11 Downing Street as UK Treasury chief from the history.