Hunt unveils four-point plan to undo ‘decade of black swan events’

Jeremy Hunt delivers speech on plans for the UK economy

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Jeremy Hunt today set out his plan to turbocharge Britain’s economy. In a keynote speech at Bloomberg’s European headquarters in London, the Chancellor said he wanted Brexit to become a “catalyst” for growth in the UK.

In an upbeat message, Mr Hunt: “We want to be one of the most prosperous countries in Europe. Today I want to set out our plan to address those issues.

“That plan, our plan for growth is necessitated, energised and made possible by Brexit.

“The desire to move to a high-wage, high-skill economy is one shared on all sides of that debate.

“We need to make Brexit a catalyst for the bold choices that will take advantage of the nimbleness and flexibilities that it makes possible.”

Outlining his plan for growth, the Chancellor said it would be based on what he called his “four pillars”.

Mr Hunt said he would use the pillars as a “framework” against to assess individual policies.

He said they were “essential for any modern, innovation-led economy”.

The four pillars, all beginning with the letter “E”, are: enterprise, education, employment and everywhere.

Setting an optimistic tone, the Chancellor also hit out at claims of “declinism”.

He said: “Declinism about Britain is just wrong. It’s always been wrong in the past, and it’s wrong today.

“Some of the gloom is based on statistics that don’t reflect the whole picture. Like every G7 country, our growth was slower in the years after the financial crisis than before it.

“But since 2010, the UK has grown faster than France, Japan and Italy. Not at the bottom, but right in the middle of the pack.

“Since the Brexit referendum, we’ve grown at about the same rate as Germany. Yes, we’ve not returned to pre-pandemic employment or output levels, but an economy that contracted 20 percent in a pandemic, still has nearly the lowest unemployment for half a century.

“Whilst our public sector continues to recover more slowly than we would like from the pandemic strengthening the case for reform, our private sector has grown seven and a half percent in the last year.”

Mr Hunt pledged to unshackle Britain from EU red tape to boost economic growth and called for the country to take advantage of its Brexit “freedoms” to become a new world leader.

He said the UK should exploit the benefits provided by leaving the EU to raise productivity while using the proceeds of growth to support public services.

The Chancellor said: “It is a plan necessitated, energised and made possible by Brexit which will succeed if it becomes a catalyst for the bold choices we need to take.

“Our plan for growth is a plan built on the freedoms which Brexit provides. It is a plan to raise productivity.

“It is a plan to use the proceeds of growth to support our public services at home, to support businesses in the new low-carbon economy and to support democracy abroad.

“It is the right course for our country and the role in the world to which we aspire.”

He announced the Government is to go ahead with reforms to so-called “Solvency II” – EU rules that dictate the amount of funds British insurers are required to hold in reserve.

The Treasury pointed to an estimate by the Association of British Insurers which suggested the changes could unlock up to £100 billion of private investment into UK infrastructure and clean energy – such as nuclear power – over the coming decade.

But despite the optimistic tone, the Chancellor dismissed calls to slash taxes to kick-start flagging economic growth, saying the “best tax cut right now is a cut in inflation”.

He said: “My party understands better than others the importance of low taxes in creating incentives and fostering the animal spirits that spur economic growth.

“Another Conservative insight is that risk-taking by individuals and businesses can only happen when governments provide economic and financial stability.

“So the best tax cut right now is a cut in inflation. And the plan I set out in the Autumn Statement tackles that root cause of instability in the British economy.

“The Prime Minister talked about halving inflation as one of his five key priorities and doing so is the only sustainable way to restore industrial harmony.”

Ahead of Mr Hunt’s speech, senior Conservatives urged the Chancellor to reduce the tax burden, which is at its highest point since World War Two.

Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said: “Unless we lower the burden of costs on people then we simply won’t get decent or sustainable growth.

“The Government must make it very clear that we believe in lowering the tax, lowering costs, giving people greater choice.

“That always seems to me to be a positive message to send rather than saying simply you can’t do tax cuts, that’s a negative.

“Politics should be about accentuating the positives, understanding what your views and principles are, rather than technocratic things you don’t like.”

Thatcherite Sir John Redwood added: “I think we should have tax cuts because inflation is going to fall a long way this year and we need to get on with them.

“The way to get the deficit down is to grow the economy. The way to get the deficit up and have a debt problem is to have a long deep recession.

“So they need to see off the recession and some tax cuts are important to achieve that.”

Mr Hunt’s address comes after a Cabinet away day at the Prime Minister’s Chequers grace-and-favour country residence on Thursday, where the Chancellor said ministers they must maintain their “disciplined approach” if they are to get soaring inflation under control.

Source: Read Full Article