Kwarteng u-turn

Chancellor’s plan and OBR review set for Hallowe’en

Another u-turn: Kwasi Kwarteng

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng has performed another u-turn by agreeing to bring forward the review of his mini-budget to 31 October.

In a letter to Tory MP and chair of the treasury select committee, Mel Stride, Mr Kwarteng said the Office for Budget Responsibility’s (OBR) forecasts will be published on Hallowe’en, a potentially fateful date for the Treasury.

Mr Kwarteng will also publish his second mini budget – the medium term fiscal plan – on how he plans to boost UK economic growth and improve the public finances on that date, instead of his scheduled date of 23 November.

In response to those who criticised him for not releasing the OBR’s draft estimates alongside his mini budget, he said: “It would not [have] be appropriate to publish” them because they did not capture the policy changes he announced last month.

Mr Kwarteng was mauled by the markets and Opposition MPs after announcing £45bn unexplained tax cuts on 23 September, later reduced to £43bn after the government dropped plans to axe the top rate of income tax.

Mr Stride noted that the OBR’s report will be released ahead of the Bank of England’s rate setting meeting on 3 November and could therefore minimise the impact on businesses and consumers.

“If this lands well with markets then [the monetary policy committee] meeting on 3 November may result in [a] smaller rise in [interest] rates. Critical to millions of mortgage holders,” he tweeted.

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