Hunt Signals Business Tax Cuts Ahead of Statement


Chancellor of the exchequer Jeremy Hunt has heightened expectations he will cut taxes on businesses in a bid to boost growth with his autumn statement but downplayed chances of reducing income tax.

Hunt has persistently warned against changes that could fuel inflation, dampening speculation that taxes on work could be reduced as he seeks to avoid prices spiralling again.

During a round of Sunday broadcast interviews ahead of Wednesday’s financial package, he signalled the personal tax burden would not reduce “overnight”.

Hunt made clear that his “priority is backing British business” after promising an “autumn statement for growth”.

Rachel Reeves, his Labour shadow, warned cutting inheritance tax during a cost-of-living crisis would be wrong, amid some Tory unease over the possible move.

She also warned against the “gradual erosion of people’s incomes” if Hunt goes ahead and squeezes billions from benefits payments, as has also reportedly been under consideration.

Hunt declared he wants to “bring down our tax burden” as he presented a positive tone after a year of urging restraint while battling to halve the rate of inflation.

“I think it’s important for a productive, dynamic, fizzing economy that you motivate people to do the work, to take the risks that we need,” he told Sky’s Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips.

He did not rule out any specific changes, including most controversially to inheritance tax, saying “everything is on the table in an autumn statement”.

He stressed that “lower tax is essential to economic growth”.

The chancellor made clear to Times Radio that his “priority is backing British business” and changes that “unlock growth”.

Pressed if the high pressure of income tax could be eased, he stressed the need to act “in a responsible way”.

“I want to show people there’s a path to lower taxes. But we also want to be honest with people, this is not going to happen overnight,” he said.

“It requires enormous discipline year in, year out.”

Hunt added he will not take any actions that would “jeopardise” the fight against inflation, which is higher than wanted at 4.6%, though it has halved in the last year.

“The one thing we won’t do is any kind of tax cut that fuels inflation. We’ve done all this hard work, we’re not going to throw that away,” he told Sky, damping hopes of cuts to income tax or national insurance.

By Sam Blewett and Ben Hatton, PA Political Staff

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