Political news: Chancellor Jeremy Hunt defies calls for tax cuts as Labor jokes about Nadhim Zahawi's tax affairs (2023)

Important points
  • The chancellor gives a speech today, where he will likely resist calls for tax cuts
  • Rishi Sunak refuses to say he has full confidence in Nadhim Zahawi
  • PM wants the Zahawi investigation to be completed "as soon as possible".
  • No penalties for 'innocent' tax mistakes, HMRC chief tells MPs
  • Bete Rigby:PM 'absolutely not' angry at Zahawi
  • The dispute over Zahawi's tax affairs explained
  • Sir Rod Stewart calls Sky News NHS and says 'try the job'
  • live report ofemily with


"Britain's decline is wrong" - Hunt


"The best tax cut currently is the reduction of inflation": the chancellor seems to rule out tax cuts

Starting his speech at Bloomberg's headquarters, the foreign minister appears to be defying new calls for tax cuts.

He says that while his party historically "understands the importance of low taxes better than others," it also needs to focus on bringing "economic and financial stability" to the country.

"The best tax cut right now is to reduce inflation," he says, appearing to rule out tax cuts.

He says this is the "only sustainable way to restore industrial harmony."


Chancellor Jeremy Hunt speaks now

(Video) Beth Rigby Interviews...Angela Rayner

Watch the live stream above and follow our updates here.


The chancellor will give a "chipper" speech in which she will "collect" statistics

OurPolitical correspondent Rob Powelllook forward to the chancellor's next speech and hope it will be lively.

Jeremy Hunt will speak from Bloomberg's headquarters in London, a place where many foreign ministers and prime ministers have made important speeches.

Most famously, almost 10 years ago, David Cameron announced his intention to hold a referendum on the EU in this building.

Now, says Rob, Mr. Hunt will look back on the last decade.

The chancellor is likely to put a "more optimistic shine" on what happened and what could still happen, he says.

He adds that Hunt will "pick his own statistics to paint an optimistic picture of what's to come."

As to why the chancellor is making this speech, Rob says it is driven in part by business and corporate groups demanding a "clear vision" from the government for their growth plans.

But he says he's also driven by politics.

MPs who backed Liz Truss and Boris Johnson have been silent in the months since Rishi Sunak became prime minister, but are now "starting to come together and try to get this message out that the focus needs to be on economic growth." .

Rob says there's a general feeling in this corner that government "can't just put out fires" and needs to think about growth.


Coming soon... The Federal Chancellor will give a big speech at 9:20 am

We bring you live updates as Jeremy Hunt delivers a speech at Bloomberg's European headquarters in London.

He is expected to express optimism about the economy and continue to resist calls for tax cuts.

Follow our updates here or watch the live stream above.


Nadhim Zahawi tax dispute explained

Chief Political Correspondent Jon Craigexplains the controversy surrounding Nadhim Zahawi's finances and why pressure is mounting on the former chancellor to resign.

Video produced by Jasmine Kaur, digital policy producer


"If I had a pound every time a Conservative chancellor talks about all these things, I could pay Nadhim Zahawi's taxes."

Andrew Gwynne of the Labor Party has a damning message for the government ahead of Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's opening speech today.

Speaking to Sky News, Gwynne said critics of the government would not "belittle the country" when discussing the economic outlook.

Instead, he said the Conservative government was "bringing the country down".

“We had the same message for 13 years. Conservative chancellor after Conservative chancellor has talked about the need for growth, the need for productivity, the need for long-term investment, the need for infrastructure, the need for leveling off,” he said.

Gwynne added: "If I had a pound for every time a Conservative chancellor talks about all these things, I could foot Nadhim Zahawi's tax bill."


The chancellor gives a speech today, where he will likely resist calls for tax cuts

In the midst of a livelihood crisis, the role of the Chancellor is in the spotlight more than ever.

Jeremy Hunt is set to set out his targets for the UK in a speech at Bloomberg's European headquarters in London today, striking an optimistic tone and dismissing "bleak prospects" on Britain's prospects.

He is expected to say the UK is "ready to play a leading role in Europe and around the world in the growth sectors that will define this century".

Mr. Hunt will say that part of the "blues" about the current economic outlook is based on statistics that "don't tell the whole picture."

However, he is likely to resist calls by some Conservative MPs for tax cuts to be included in his spring budget in March.

Instead, he will say that the UK must seize the opportunities presented by leaving the EU, and that the benefits of growth must support public services.

Both Hunt and Rishi Sunak, himself a former foreign minister, have emphasized curbing inflation as their priority.


Good morning and welcome to our live coverage.

For the latest policy updates, this is the place to go.

Here's a quick rundown of what was going on...

Conservative leader Nadhim Zahawi remains under pressure over a tax dispute.

Sky News understands that Mr Zahawi paid a fine to HMRC, allegedly up to £4.8m, including a 30% penalty, as part of a settlement over his taxes.

Critics urged Rishi Sunak to sack the conservative leader and, when questioned by reporters yesterday, the prime minister did not fully support Zahawi.

Today all eyes will be on Chancellor Jeremy Hunt as he delivers a keynote address.

He is expected to dismiss "melancholy" about Britain's prospects and say the government will use "British genius and British hard work" to stimulate economic growth.


Sunak does not have full confidence in Zahawi when it comes to tax matters.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak refused to give full support to Nadhim Zahawi after being questioned by journalists.

The Tory party leader faces an investigation into his tax affairs and Sky News understands he paid a fine to HMRC as part of a settlement over his taxes.

The exact amount of the settlement was not disclosed, but is estimated at £4.8m, including a 30% penalty.

Earlier, HMRC boss Jim Harra told MPs there were "no penalties for innocent mistakes".

Asked at Checkers, where he was with his cabinet for the day, if he had full confidence in Mr Zahawi, the Prime Minister, he said: "I believe in due process and that is why I have appointed an independent adviser to review the issues raised, fully investigate the situation, establish the facts and inform me of Nadhim Zahawi's compliance with the Ministerial Code.

"I think it's the right thing to do to make sure we have integrity in politics, but do it professionally and that's what we're doing."

Sunak, who previously supported his cabinet mate before more details about the sentence emerged, said "no questions were asked" before he appointed Zahawi to his post.

But he also said he would "not prejudge the outcome of the investigation", adding: "It is important that the independent consultant is able to do his job."

"That's what he's currently doing, that's what I asked him to do, and I'm awaiting the results of that investigation."

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