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Chancellor aiming for the UK to have "most competitive business taxes in the world"
13 March 2023

Jeremy Hunt has said he makes “absolutely no apology” for being responsible with the public finances as he risked angering Tory MPs by playing down the prospect of major tax cuts in Wednesday’s Budget.

The Chancellor has faced pressure from senior Conservatives, including Boris Johnson, for tax cuts in a bid to ignite the UK’s stalling economy, including pausing the planned rise in corporation tax from 19% to 25%.

Speaking on Sunday morning broadcast shows, Hunt said: “Within the bounds of what is responsible, we will always look to reduce the tax burden.”

He said he wants the UK to have “the most competitive business taxes anywhere in the world” but stressed the need for companies to have “the stability that comes from being responsible”.

It was put to Hunt, who suggested cutting corporation tax from 25% to 15% during his Tory leadership pitch last year, that he is now running the economy like “Jeremy from accounts”. He replied: “I think you have to wait and see what I say on Wednesday.

“But, you know, Jeremy the Chancellor will be responsible with public finances and I make absolutely no apology for that.”

Backing Hunt was one of his predecessors at the Treasury, former Tory chancellor Philip Hammond, who said increasing corporation tax is the “right decision for now” and that all businesses need is a signal that the elevated rate is not “some new normal”.

The full budget is due to be unveiled on Wednesday.

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