Updated March 3rd, 2024 at 15:03 IST

UK Finance Minister warns of economic downturn ahead of budget

Hunt highlighted the importance of fiscal responsibility amidst speculation about potential tax cuts ahead of a national election expected later this year.

Reported by: Business Desk
UK's Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt | Image:Jeremy Hunt's Facebook Account
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British economy: British Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt has acknowledged a downturn in economic forecasts ahead of the UK's upcoming budget statement. In one of his recent interviews, Hunt noted that the projections by Britain's official budget watchdog ‘have gone against us,’ indicating a less optimistic outlook compared to the previous Autumn Statement in November.

Hunt highlighted the importance of fiscal responsibility amidst speculation about potential tax cuts ahead of a national election expected later this year. While expressing a desire to reduce taxes further, he stressed the need to avoid increasing public borrowing. Hunt highlighted the government's commitment to prudent fiscal management, citing the recent reduction in the National Insurance rate as a step towards this goal.

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Addressing concerns about the overall tax burden, Hunt mentioned previous cuts to business and payroll taxes but acknowledged that the tax burden has risen steadily in recent years. The finance ministry outlined plans to enhance public sector productivity, utilizing technologies such as artificial intelligence to improve efficiency in areas like healthcare and law enforcement.

Hunt affirmed the government's focus on careful spending, suggesting that prudent financial management could create room for additional tax cuts in the budget.

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(With Reuters inputs)

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Published March 3rd, 2024 at 15:03 IST