Jeremy Hunt’s plan to boost economy branded ‘a whole lot of nothing’

Jeremy Hunt delivers speech on plans for the UK economy

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Jeremy Hunt‘s plan for economic growth has been criticised for lacking detail and a clear vision. The Chancellor used his speech at Bloomberg’s London HQ to detail a plan for Brexit to turbocharge the economy while announcing measures aimed at increasing prosperity outside of south east England and London.

He also suggested tax cuts would need to wait in his speech delivered against a backdrop of public sector strikes over pay and predictions the UK could be heading for a recession. Inflation stands at 10 percent, according to some measures.

But Mr Hunt’s plan has been criticised by some economic experts.

Patrick Reid, trading mentor and co-founder of FX consultancy The Adamis Principle, told “It was a whole lot of nothing.

“There’s no massive, long-term, clear vision or plan. There’s also an ironic element to it. Jeremy Hunt was talking about Brexit freedom, cutting the EU red tape, but that in itself is ironic because many people trading with Europe have more formalities because of Brexit.”

The Chancellor said he wanted to reverse what he called a “declinism” attitude in Britain, declaring the country’s economy had grown at about the same rate as Germany since the European Union referendum in 2016.

He said Brexit should be looked at as an opportunity to “create an economic environment which is more innovation friendly, and more growth focused”.

Mr Reid said: “[Jeremy Hunt urges people to] stop talking the economy and UK down, as if it’s all our responsibility, but it’s a get out.”

Susannah Streeter, Senior Investment and Markets Analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said the Chancellor delivered a dose of realism in today’s speech, but it was unclear how it would be paid for.


She said: “Brandishing a blueprint in hand he gestured to the four pillars he hopes will lift the economy. But the detail is sorely lacking, with the architects of this plan clearly unsure how it will be paid for.

“On one hand he’s promising a low tax economy to incentivise companies to invest, but underlines this can only be done if spending is curtailed. Yet, other pillars – education and employment – will require significant new funding to really move the dial on the issues holding back productivity.”

Rachel Reeves, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, said 13 years of Tory economic failure had left living standards and growth on the floor, crashed the economy and driven up mortgages and bills.

She added: “The Tories have no plan for now and no plan for the future. It’s time for a Labour government that will build a better Britain.”

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Liberal Democrat Treasury spokeswoman Sarah Olney said: “This Conservative Party sounds like an unfaithful partner asking for yet another chance.

“But after crashing the economy and sending mortgages sky high, why should we trust them again? Jeremy Hunt’s speech is cold comfort for families and pensioners facing unbearable price rises.”

Mr Hunt was appointed Chancellor by former Prime Minister Liz Truss during the fall out from her mini-budget, which led to market turmoil and her downfall.

Ms Truss had prioritised growth during her short time in office. Asked how her plans compared to the Chancellor’s, Mr Reid said: “It’s chalk and cheese. [Hunt’s] is pragmatic and doable. It’s not cutting taxes on borrowed money, that was the bullet that killed the debt market which increased 30-year yields by 26 percent.

“This is very much a Jeremy Hunt who was potentially seen as the saviour because he reversed everything Truss said and went against this trickle down economics… which was pie in the sky.”

But he said the Tory Government is playing it safe ahead of the next General Election.

Mr Reid said: “It’s a safety game now so the next election is winnable and [the Conservative Party] can re-group.”

He suggested the British economy has some strength with recent growth figures of 0.2 percent and inflation creeping down despite recent events.

He said: “There’s a grit and resilience to the UK economy. Everything that has happened – the government changes, the Truss fiasco, Brexit, Covid, the Scottish referendum, Northern Ireland – it’s been wave after wave, but look at where we are.”

This includes the pound rallying to 1.24 after reaching a recent low of 1.03 against the dollar.

The economy shrank in the third quarter of last year, but GDP figures released last week showed the economy unexpectedly grew in November, meaning some economists think the fourth quarter might be positive.

However, the UK is expected to hit recession this year and shrink during the first half before returning to growth during the summer.

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