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UK's new finance minister acknowledges 'mistakes'

October 15, 2022

Jeremy Hunt has called on his fellow Conservative party members to give Liz Truss a chance until the next election. He said the UK prime minister has recognized her mistakes.

Jeremy Hunt speaking to reporters outside the BBC
Jeremy Hunt was appointed as finance minister after his predecessor Kwasi Kwarteng was firedImage: Tayfun Salci/AP/picture alliance

In his first comments as the UK's new finance minister, Jeremy Hunt said his predecessor had made "mistakes," but called for struggling Prime Minister Liz Truss to be given more time.

"There were mistakes," Hunt told Sky News on Saturday morning, referring to planned tax cuts announced by Kwasi Kwarteng — who was fired by Truss on Friday — that triggered panic in the financial markets.

"We will have some very difficult decisions ahead," Hunt continued, adding that "some taxes will not be cut as quickly as people want."

"Some taxes will go up," the new finance minister said.

'That's why I'm here'

Hunt, who is considered a prominent figure from the center of the party and thus a counterweight to Truss's more radical stance, has previously served as a health and foreign secretary.

Truss took power just over a month ago after fellow Conservative Boris Johnson was forced to resign by his party following a series of scandals.

She had hoped to hit the ground running with the announcement of tax cuts, funded by borrowing, that would mostly benefit the wealthy. This "mini-budget" had also been presented without independent forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility.

Hunt said on Saturday that Truss had recognized the mistakes, adding "that's why I'm here."

Truss 'incredibly sorry to lose' Kwarteng


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UK now needs 'stability'

The new finance minister also called for Truss to be given a chance to prove herself, amid rumors that some other Conservative lawmakers were pushing for her resignation.

"I think what the country wants now is stability. She's been prime minister for less than five weeks. I would just say this, that I think she will be judged at an election," Hunt told BBC radio on Saturday.

He also said he backed her plans to boost growth in the UK economy.

"When we are judged at a general election, we will be judged by what we deliver over the next 18 months by far more than what's happened over the last 18 days," the new finance minister said.

Later on Saturday, Hunt said his focus would be on "growth underpinned by stability."

According to the minister, there was nothing wrong with the general goal of trying to grow the economy, but the government had gone "too far, too fast" with the now-notorious mini-budget of his predecessor.

ab/dj (AFP, Reuters)

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