Speaking at Bloomberg’s European HQ in London on 27 January, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt outlined plans to grow the UK economy and turn the country into “one of the most prosperous countries in Europe”.
Hunt set out four ‘pillars’ for growth, including ‘enterprise’, ‘education’, ‘employment’ and ‘everywhere’.
Ideas include turning the UK into the next ‘silicon valley’ for tech innovation; wider access to university; bringing more people who are economically inactive into the workforce, and “levelling up” the country.
Hunt signalled that tax cuts would only come “when the time is right”, focusing instead on reducing inflation, which he described as the “best tax cut” the Government could offer right now.
“Our plan for this year remains to halve inflation, grow the economy and get debt falling. But all three are essential building blocks for much bigger ambitions for the years beyond.”
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) was optimistic about the Chancellor’s focus on growth.
Tony Danker, director general of the CBI, said:
“It’s only by improving the UK’s languishing performance on productivity that we can realise the huge economic potential in every corner of the country.
“There is much to get behind here with the Chancellor’s emphasis on using innovation as the foundation of the UK’s future economy and championing the strengths of the UK tech sector.”
However, the Institute of Directors (IoD) slammed Hunt’s speech, writing the Chancellor “should add a fifth E for ‘empty’ to his vision for the economy”.
Chief economist of the IoD Kitty Ussher said:
“Business needs government action to counteract the negative mood, for example, through a continuation of the capital investment super-deduction, through tax credits for employers who invest in skill shortage areas and a plan to incentivise the net-zero transition for the SME sector.”
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