Picture by Kirsty O'Connor/HM Treasury

Jeremy Hunt: ‘Very difficult’ to see tax cuts this year

Jeremy Hunt has insisted that while he “would love to see tax cuts for working people”, it is “very difficult” to see tax cuts coming this year. 

It comes after Michael Gove, the levelling up secretary, told Sky News on Sunday that he would like to see the tax burden reduced before the next election.

Gove said he wanted the cuts fall on work to “incentivise people to work harder”, adding: “We should make sure that [workers] are better rewarded for the enterprise, effort and endeavour they put in”.

Asked if we could see a headline tax cut before the next election, the chancellor said this morning: “It’s very difficult to see having that kind of tax cut this year.”

He told Sky News: “If we gave big tax cuts, that would put more money in people’s pockets and that would be inflationary. And right now, we are in a big battle — which is succeeding — to bring down inflation.

“The fastest way that we can help working families — the people Michael Gove was talking about — if we halve inflation, that’s not a 1p in the pound tax cut, that’s a 5p in the pound boost to their income.”

Jeremy Hunt’s speech is the main event on the conference stage today, and he is expected to announce that benefits claimants who fail to look for work will receive harsher sanctions.

The debate on tax is one of the big sticking points of Conservative Party conference which is underway in Manchester. 

And Hunt’s comments this morning come as Liz Truss prepares to remake her case for the direction she believes the Conservative Party should take — a year after her administration began to collapse around her.

The UK’s shortest ever serving prime minister will speak at a fringe event at conference today.

With her “pro-growth” rallying kicking off at 12.30 pm, and set to be attended by former cabinet ministers Jacob Rees Mogg and Priti Patel, Truss will call on ministers to make the Ponservative party the “party of business again” by cutting corporation taxes, adding: “Let’s stop taxing and banning things, and start producing and building things.” 

A year ago, Conservative party conference was a forum for senior Conservatives to undermine her authority — which came to a head when she and her chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, announced they would be scrapping the headline proposal of the pair’s mini-budget: the abolition of the 45p income tax rate. 

Less than a month later, she had resigned following a mutiny in her party — which preceded Rishi Sunak’s elevation as leader.

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