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Treasury committee interrogates Jeremy Hunt on autumn statement during live UK politics session

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Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has been questioned by the Commons Treasury committee about the recently released autumn statement. Committee Chair Harriet Baldwin raised the issue of the Office for Budget Responsibility’s assessment that Hunt’s fiscal rules are the loosest since the establishment of the OBR, which he accepted but defended himself by saying that the OBR also recognized that he faced the tightest set of public finances. He rejected the idea that his fiscal rules are “mañana” ones and claimed that the plan is indeed for public debt to decline. The committee pressed Hunt on various key events from the autumn statement and his plans. For instance, they asked about fuel duty and the HS2 station at Euston, to which Hunt responded that announcements on these points would be made next year. In another point of contention, the committee noted that the OBR has revised growth projections for the next three years which directly contradicts with Hunt’s proposed tax cuts, to which he stood his ground, saying that they’re intended to promote growth. Hunt also signaled doubts about the government’s ability to meet the previous aid spending target. In another development, former Chancellor and Health Secretary Sajid Javid presented evidence to the Covid inquiry, highlighting the dominant role of Dominic Cummings during his time as Chancellor, and distancing himself from the government’s actions during the pandemic. Vallance’s diary excerpts further revealed Johnson had referred to people reluctant to return to the office in 2021 as “malingering” and “work-shy”. Hunt’s own testimony was, therefore, met with contention and skepticism, suggesting that he will need to address these issues in more detail to win over critics and the public.

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Photo credit www.theguardian.com

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