UK's Hunt Pledges To Boost Growth But Won't Budge On Tax Hikes

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Reuters

LONDON: British finance minister Jeremy Hunt promised on Friday to tackle the country's weak productivity with post-Brexit reforms to boost growth, but signalled that he would stick to tax rises that have angered some lawmakers in his Conservative Party.

Hunt, who steadied financial markets after the turmoil of former Prime Minister Liz Truss' 'mini-budget' in September last year, is preparing to announce a plan for growth in a budget statement in March.

On Friday he countered talk of Britain's economic decline and focused on growth industries, including digital technology and the shift to new, high value industries such as renewable power and advanced manufacturing.

'Confidence in the future starts with honesty about the present, and we should not shy away from the biggest challenge we face which is our poor productivity,' Hunt said in a speech at Bloomberg in London.

'Our plan for long-term prosperity tackles that challenge head on. 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.'

Hunt said Britain needed lower taxes in future but that sound money should come first. He also called for public spending restraint.


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