Jeremy Hunt has heightened expectations that he will cut taxes on businesses in a bid to boost growth with his autumn statement but downplayed chances of reducing income tax.
The Chancellor persistently warned against changes that could fuel inflation, dampening speculation that taxes on work could be reduced as he seeks to avoid prices spiralling again.
He suggested during a round of broadcast interviews ahead of Wednesday’s financial package that the personal tax burden will not come down “overnight”.
Mr Hunt made clear that his “priority is backing British business” after promising an “autumn statement for growth”.
She also warned against the “gradual erosion of people’s incomes” if Mr Hunt goes ahead and squeezes billions from benefits payments, as has been under consideration.
Mr Hunt declared he wants to “bring down our tax burden” as he presented a positive tone after a year of urging restraint while battling to halve the rate of inflation.
“I think it’s important for a productive, dynamic, fizzing economy that you motivate people to do the work, to take the risks that we need,” he told Sky’s Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips.
He did not rule out any specific changes, including most controversially to inheritance tax, saying “everything is on the table in an autumn statement”.
He stressed that “lower tax is essential to economic growth”.
The Chancellor made clear to Times Radio that his “priority is backing British business” and changes that “unlock growth”.
Pressed if the high pressure of income tax could be eased, he stressed the need to act “in a responsible way”.
“I want to show people there’s a path to lower taxes. But we also want to be honest with people, this is not going to happen overnight,” he said. “It requires enormous discipline year in, year out.”
Mr Hunt said he will not take any actions that would “jeopardise” the fight against inflation, which is higher than wanted at 4.6%, though it has halved in the last year.
“The one thing we won’t do is any kind of tax cut that fuels inflation. We’ve done all this hard work, we’re not going to throw that away,” he told Sky, dampening hopes of cuts to income tax or national insurance.