Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer is laying the groundwork for a series of tax rises and service cuts in the name of fighting inflation.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, the failed 2019 Conservative leadership candidate who serves as finance minister to Rishi Sunak, the failed September 2022 Conservative leadership candidate – now prime minister anyway – will announce a budget on 17 November, in the wake of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) data suggesting that the UK economy shrank in the third quarter of 2022.
“I am under no illusion that there is a difficult road ahead – one that will require extremely difficult decisions to restore confidence and economic stability,” he said – code for telling people that he will raise taxes, not cut them and reduce spending on public services.
“[T]o achieve long-term, sustainable growth, we must contain inflation, balance the books and bring down debt. There is no other way,” insisted Hunt, whose personal net worth has been estimated at more than £14 million (~$16.48 million), in comments reported by The Telegraph.
“While the global economy faces extreme turbulence, the fundamental resilience of the UK economy is cause for optimism in the longer term,” he added, somewhat pointlessly.
“About a third of the global economy is in recession this year or will be in recession next year and that is mainly, but not entirely, due to very high energy prices. We are not immune to that in the UK.”
— HM Treasury (@hmtreasury) November 11, 2022
Hunt, a China-linked anti-Brexiteer who backed communist-style lockdown measures during the Wuhan virus pandemic, is reportedly working on a program of £21bn in tax rises and £33bn in spending cuts for 2027-28 , with the help of a £35 billion hidden income tax achieved by a six-year freeze on tax margins – a move that will promote a major fiscal backlash.
A former health secretary – indeed, Britain’s longest-serving health minister – Hunt will try to enforce this regime as the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) urges its members to stage their first strike in over a hundred years in an attempt to secure a 17 percent wage increase.
This is five per cent higher than the Retail Price Index (RPI) rate of inflation — currently over 12 per cent — but the RCN says the claim is justified by research from London Economics, which suggests there has been a real wage fall terms on the order 20 per cent for experienced nurses from 2010-11 thanks to inflation and the public sector pay freeze.
“To expect nursing staff to work one day a week for free is completely unacceptable,” RCN general secretary Pat Cullen said after the investigation was released, warning that RCN members were “fed up”.
Hunt appeared to acknowledge their plight, telling Sky News he had “a lot of sympathy for” nurses and acknowledging that “inflation is over 10 per cent and that’s eating into everyone’s earnings and making everyone worry about the cost of weekly shop.”
He insisted, however, that “the best thing I can do as chancellor is to create a plan that reduces inflation, reduces the upward pressure on interest rates.”
This suggests that, unlike Liz Truss, Sunak’s management will not attempt to defy the dogma of the Bank of England, the nation’s central bank — led by a highly paid governor who has gone so far as to argue that workers should not they have to demand wage hikes in the name of controlling inflation, regardless of the impact this would have on individuals’ lives.
Given Hunt’s impressive fortune and the Prime Minister’s even more impressive fortune — Sunak and his wife are estimated to have a net worth of £730 million (~$844 million), well within reach of even the likes of the King. The government’s tight budget program could prove visually problematic for the Conservative Party, especially with a general election approaching as early as 2025 at the latest.
Anti-Brexit, Covid-linked authoritarian Jeremy Hunt becomes UK Chancellor https://t.co/r6APvnbsMc
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 14, 2022