Kwarteng sidesteps questions on mini-budget U-turnon October 13, 2022 at 2:47 pm

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Asked about speculation he could drop parts of his plan, the chancellor says “our position hasn’t changed”.

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Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng has sidestepped questions about whether he will U-turn on his mini-budget.

Asked about speculation he is preparing to scrap major parts of his tax-cutting growth plan, Mr Kwarteng said: “Our position hasn’t changed.”

Asked if he and PM Liz Truss would still be in their jobs this time next month, he said: “Absolutely, 100%.”

He said he was “not going anywhere”, despite market turbulence he admitted was caused in part by his policies.

Pressed on whether there would be more U-turns on the mini-budget, Mr Kwarteng, who is in Washington for an IMF meeting, said his economic plan would be delivered on 31 October “and there’ll be more detail then”.

Liz Truss is facing growing calls from within her party to rethink part or all of her tax-cutting package to reassure financial markets.

Discussions are under way between the prime minister and backbenchers about what her party can accept.

The BBC’s deputy political editor Vicki Young said the option most Tory MPs were discussing was changing the plans for corporation tax, because it brings in a lot of money.

Ms Truss has pledged to scrap a planned rise to the tax, which was set to increase from 19% to 25% in 2023.

On Wednesday, she said it would be “wrong” to raise corporation tax “in a time when we are trying to attract investment into our country at a time of global economic slowdown”.

Asked about the possibility the plans for corporation tax could change and it could rise, Mr Kwarteng said: “What I’m totally focused on is on delivering on the mini-budget, making sure that we get growth back into our economy.”

The chancellor’s mini-budget on 23 September, which included £45bn of tax cuts funded by borrowing, has caused turmoil in the financial markets and prompted the Bank of England to intervene to protect pension funds.

Mr Kwarteng is due to set out how he will fund the package and reduce debt on 31 October.

The chancellor’s statement will be closely watched by markets and Tory MPs as they decide whether to support Ms Truss’s tax-cutting agenda.

Mr Kwarteng acknowledged there was “some turbulence” after his mini-budget but said there was “a very dicey situation globally”, with inflation, potential interest rate rises and energy price spikes affecting everybody.

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