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Hunt vows tax cut if Tories win polls

The chancellor argued that a Tory promise to cut taxes will be a major dividing line at the election, even though the overall tax load has risen to postwar highs under his party…reports Asian Lite News

Jeremy Hunt defended large-scale Conservative tax rises during this parliament, but insist that only his party will cut the tax burden if it wins the next general election.

The chancellor argued that a Tory promise to cut taxes will be a major dividing line at the election, even though the overall tax load has risen to postwar highs under his party.

“Labour like to criticise tax rises this parliament thinking people don’t know why they have gone up — the furlough scheme, the energy price guarantee and billions of pounds of cost of living support,” Hunt said.

Hunt’s speech in central London comes ahead of the release next week of official inflation data that the chancellor hopes will show inflation falling below the Bank of England’s 2 per cent target.

He sees this as a key moment for the economy. The Tories are trailing Labour by 20 percentage points in opinion polls and have worse ratings on the economy than Sir Keir Starmer’s party.

Hunt’s speech marks the opening skirmishes between the two main parties on the economy ahead of an election expected this autumn. On Thursday, Labour said creating “economic stability” would be its first priority if it wins.

The chancellor will claim Labour attacks on his party’s tax-raising record were “playground politics”, noting Starmer’s party had supported policies to help the UK through a series of economic shocks.

Despite recent cuts to national insurance, the Institute for Fiscal Studies think-tank has said “this remains a parliament of record tax rises”.

Meanwhile, Hunt on Thursday convened technology groups and regulators in an attempt to identify ways of making the country more attractive to the high-growth industry.

He hosted a summit at his grace-and-favour Dorneywood estate in Buckinghamshire to canvas executives’ views on what the government could do to retain tech groups in the UK and help them to grow.

One person at the summit said it was “very positive” and that a number of people stated they were planning to have initial public offerings in London.

However, the Treasury declined to say how many companies attended the event or provide names.

Some major companies — including Revolut, Klarna, Checkout.com and ClearScore — did not attend. The chief executive of one large tech group said he had not known the Dorneywood summit was being held.

Industry figures attending included Monzo boss TS Anil and Eben Upton, chief executive of Raspberry Pi, the computer maker on which hopes for a reopening of the London IPO market are pinned.

The Cambridge-based company said on Wednesday that it would seek a listing on the London Stock Exchange’s main market. It was valued at $597mn in November. 

The Treasury said the summit “focused on the offer that the UK has for innovative firms wanting to raise capital in the UK”.

One person at the meeting said tech bosses had challenged Nikhil Rathi, boss of the Financial Conduct Authority, to provide “clarity and certainty” on future regulation and to take a more “pro-growth” approach.

The UK has a record of developing more start-ups than other European countries but Hunt is attempting to overhaul London’s stock market rules to encourage more companies to grow and list in the country.

Sunak vows to remain an MP even if Tories lose election

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has vowed to stay on as an MP even if his ruling Conservative Party loses the next general election.

The PM said his North Yorkshire constituency is “wonderful” and “of course” he will remain in Parliament whatever the outcome when he goes to the country.

There has been speculation that Sunak, who previously worked at a hedge fund in California, could be eyeing a job in Silicon Valley as the Tories trail by more than 20 points in opinion polls.

But asked on ITV’s Loose Women whether he would stay on as an MP if the party loses, the MP for Richmond (Yorks) said: “Of course I’m staying. I love being an MP. I love my constituents, I love my home in North Yorkshire.”

Elsewhere in the show, which Sunak claimed was “one of the more intimidating things” he had done over the course of his job, Sunak conceded that “we’re not there yet” in terms of the progress he wants to make before calling an election.

He has dismissed demands for a change of political course after the Tories suffered a drubbing in the local elections earlier this month, saying he is “determined more than ever to show the public that what we’re doing is making a difference” on issues including the economy and migration.

“I’ll happily come back and talk to you during the election. But I am focused on that, I am focused on the choice of that election,” he told the panel.

“We’ve been through a lot but I do think actually the things we are doing are starting to make a difference. We’re not there yet, of course”.

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