The chancellor says he wants to cut taxes at the spring budget this year, declaring that doing so will be the quickest route to getting the economy growing again.
Talking to Sky News on the fringes of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Jeremy Hunt said that while he has yet to see the fiscal numbers ahead of the March event, he is hopeful of reducing taxes.
“I look around the world and I see that the parts of the world like the United States, like Asia, that are growing the fastest, have the most dynamic economies, tend to be places with lower taxes,” he said.
“And that was why in the autumn statement, we decisively cut taxes.
“So my priority in the budget will be growth – because if I can grow the economy, that will mean that then we have more money for the NHS, we can relieve the pressure on families, we can invest in our brilliant armed forces.”
The chancellor arrived at the summit in Davos later than nearly all other major political figures, because he wanted to stay in London to vote on the Rwanda bill in parliament on Wednesday night. He said that by the time the vote was over the only way to get to Davos in time for his meetings on Thursday was to charter a private jet.
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said his absence earlier this week had been noted.
“You see leaders from other countries around the world are here and without that leadership from the government, we’re missing out on investment, we’re missing out on jobs and prosperity,” she said.
“And I am determined that if I am chancellor this time next year, I will leave no stone unturned in bringing jobs, prosperity and investment to Britain.”
One of the main issues overshadowing the event this year has been the near shutdown of the Red Sea as a shipping lane.
Mr Hunt said that despite the worries that this feeds another jump in inflation, the UK and US airstrikes on Houthi sites were essential.
“It is so important that the UK takes decisive action with our American allies to make sure that the Red Sea route is secured,” he said.
“It is a very major global trade route and Britain is playing a very important role in the world in securing those trade routes because of the action that we’ve taken.”