British finance minister Jeremy Hunt said the budget plan he is set to announce on Thursday will include forecasts similar to those of the Bank of England (BoE) which warned of a long recession ahead, The Times quoted him as saying on Saturday.
“I think it’s very likely ... the question is not really whether we’re in recession, but what we can do to make it shorter and shallower,” Hunt told the newspaper in an interview.
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Hunt is trying to repair Britain’s public finances -- and its tarnished credibility among investors -- in a first budget plan since Rishi Sunak replaced Liz Truss as prime minister with a vow to undo her economic policy mistakes.
Hunt said he would seek to work in cooperation with the BoE to control inflation and the global rise in interest rates, which is adding to the strains on Britain’s economy.
“The number one thing that I can do is help the Bank of England bring down inflation,” he told the newspaper, adding he wanted to give confidence to businesses and households to invest and spend.
“If I can give them certainty that we have a plan to tackle inflation, to bring back stability to the economy then...that will be job done, as far as Thursday is concerned.”
The Times said Hunt was likely to commit only 20 billion pounds ($23.7 billion) to extend the government’s energy bills cap for a further six months after April, a third of its estimated 60 billion-pound cost in its first six months, meaning bills were likely to rise.
But Hunt was also considering a multi-billion-pound package of support to shield pensioners and benefit claimants from higher power bills, the newspaper said.
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