Hunt issued warning ahead of new budget

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Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will deliver his Autumn Statement on Thursday, November 17. He and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak have warned Britons to expect higher taxes and cuts to public spending to help stabilise the economy as a historic recession looms. However, a new poll of Express.co.uk readers has found that eight in ten are not willing to pay more tax to help pull the nation out of recession faster, providing an early indication of the public reaction the Government should expect on Thursday.

On Sunday evening, while travelling to the G20 summit in Bali, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that everyone in Britain should expect higher taxes as the Government takes action to stabilise the economy and restore the confidence and “expectations of international markets”.

He added the package would “support the most vulnerable” and pledged that the fiscal measures would help “cut people’s taxes over time”.

Inflation has soared to a 41-year-high of 11.1 percent in October as the cost of living crisis worsens for many households. The Bank of England has forecast the UK to experience a “very challenging” two-year recession from the end of the year.  

This is expected to be the longest recession since records began with the economic downturn expected to continue into the first half of 2024. Early official figures by the Office for National Statistics for the gross domestic product (GDP) show the UK economy contracted by 0.2 percent in the third quarter.

In a poll that ran from 12:30pm on Monday, November 15, to 1pm on Wednesday, November 16, Express.co.uk asked readers: “Are you happy to pay more tax to help pull UK out of recession faster?”

Overall, 3,264 readers responded with the vast majority, 80 percent (2,612 people) answering “no” against higher taxes to support the economy.

A further 19 percent (609 people) said “yes” in favour of increased taxes, while one percent (43 people) said they did not know.

Hundreds of comments were left below the accompanying article as readers discussed the upcoming Autumn Statement and how to pull the UK out of recession.

Many readers argued against increased taxes with one reader, username KatMoi, writing: “We should not be paying for the Government’s misuse of billions of pounds of our taxes.”

Similarly, username Hereward wake wrote: “Not while the Government is doing such a poor job with the money it already has.”

Another, username StephenDouglas, remarked: “Why should we pay more for Government incompetence?”

While username leafspot said: “No, I’m not happy to pay more taxes, they are incapable of managing what they have, in fact, they have been very, very poor.”

And username Phones11 added: “No because the same people that helped get us into this mess will be the people who now have more of my money to spend.”

Other readers argued that raising taxes would impact the economy’s growth and prolong a recession, with username doctorjohnwick commenting: “Increasing taxation guarantees the recession.”

Username travel2 wrote: “Paying more tax doesn’t shorten a recession it lowers growth and makes a recession longer.”

And username MrGr said: “Tax rises never work as they kill business, what is needed to massive cuts to the public spending!”

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Ahead of his Autumn Statement, Mr Hunt has warned he will have to make “horrible decisions” on tax and spending to shorten a recession, prioritising “honesty” and “sound money” to help stabilise the economy.

He told Sky News on Sunday that he hoped to make the upcoming recession “as short and shallow” as possible but would be “asking everyone for sacrifices”.

His fiscal policies reportedly include £25billion in tax rises and £35billion in cuts to public spending to help balance the Government’s books.

The Office for Budget Responsibility has forecast for Government debt to cost £100billion by 2026-27, after previously predicting in March that it would cost £32billionn for the same period.

However, some readers were willing to pay higher taxes if spending was refocused. Username Juleetal said: “Yes, I would be happy to pay more tax if the money is spent here! It makes my blood boil that Sunak and Hunt can stand there talking about difficult financial decisions that will adversely affect the people of the UK and yet they are happy to waste taxpayers’ money elsewhere!”

Username gezzer added: “When they stop giving overseas aid away, then and only then, should they higher taxes.”

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