The new UK finance minister has admitted that the medium-term fiscal plan will now effectively amount to a full budget, as he signalled a major shift in the economic policies that brought Liz Truss to power.
In a series of interviews, Jeremy Hunt, who replaced Kwasi Kwarteng as chancellor on Friday after a day of high drama in Westminster, warned of “difficult” decisions to come as he signalled the country could face tax rises and a tightening on spending.
Mr Hunt will meet with officials later on Saturday and with Ms Truss at Chequers on Sunday as he prepares to deliver a highly anticipated medium-term fiscal plan on October 31st.
That statement, he told ITV’s Robert Peston on Saturday, now amounts to effectively a budget – in contrast to Mr Kwarteng’s now notorious “mini-budget” published without an accompanying analysis from the Office for Budget Responsibility.
Mr Hunt said he would “pretty much” be delivering a “proper” budget.
“We’re going to be talking about tax,” he said. “We’re going to be talking about spending, we’re going to be talking about medium and long-term plans.”
Earlier, Mr Hunt had declined to be drawn into the specifics of the package he will deliver in two weeks’ time, but signalled neither health nor defence spending will be immune from potential cuts.
He also declined to say whether benefits will rise with inflation, something demanded by a significant caucus of Tory MPs.