LONDON — British Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has delayed a planned statement outlining how the government will plug a £40billion hole in its finances until November 17.
Hunt was due to deliver the plan next Monday and was due to unveil a host of tax and spending changes alongside an economic forecast from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) after weeks of economic turbulence in the UK.
But the Chancellor, who has been kept in office by new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, said on Wednesday morning that it was important that the statement be based on the most accurate economic forecast possible and that it was “prudent” to change the date. It will be upgraded to a full autumn statement, he said, referring to the process by which the UK government typically sets its budget plans.
Hunt told broadcasters it was important that the “tough decisions” he and Sunak are making now “are the right ones, decisions that stand the test of time and do the right thing for the people at home. who are worried about their mortgage, their job, the cost of living, the bills and so on.”
It marks the latest calendar change for the economic statement, originally promised by Hunt’s predecessor, Kwasi Kwarteng, for Nov. 23. Under pressure after a disastrous market reaction to its so-called “mini-budget”, which did not include an independent OBR review, Kwarteng postponed it until October 31.
This means that the statement will now come after the Bank of England’s next interest rate decision on November 3, with the central bank expected to significantly raise rates.