Chancellor Jeremy Hunt had a furious meltdown on Sky News this morning after Sunday morning host Sir Trevor Phillips mocked the state of the British economy.
Grilling Mr Hunt on what might come up in the Autumn Statement this Wednesday, Mr Phillips said: “The situation is pretty dire, isn’t it?”
He ran through a series of problems including debt being almost 100 percent of the UK economy, “higher than when the Prime Minister [Rishi Sunak] said he would bring it down”; retail sales figures “getting worse”, and UK inflation worse than the EU and USA.
In a week where the government heralded inflation halving to just 5 percent, Phillips added: “It’s still well above your target of two percent.”
The line of questioning appeared to trigger Mr Hunt into an extraordinary response.
Hunt tried to explaine “the bigger picture”, but as the two clashed. Phillips interjected: “That is the bigger picture!”
Hitting back, the Chancellor retorted: “I’m just about to give you the bigger picture if you let me.”
He went on: “You know what I want to say to you Trevor? Because I do think it is important.
“There is so much defeatism, declinism about the British economy. I do think we have turned a corner.
“I want to tell you something I don’t think you know about, judging from some of the comments you said.
“We haven’t just grown faster than Germany, France or Japan, but when we reach our inflation target in 2025 we will continue to grow faster.”
The Chancellor hinted there may be tax cuts announced on Wednesday telling Phillips that “everything is on the table” when the presenter asked about inheritance tax reductions.
He pointed out that the last Labour government “put tax up each of their 13 years in office when they were last in power” and Conservatives “reduce tax when we can”.
He told Phillips that he wanted to bring taxes down because “they are too high at the moment”.
Mr Hunt added: “If you look at the most dynamic economies they are mostly not in Europe but in Asia and North America where the taxes are lower.”
He also defended plans to take away benefits from people who refuse to get a job saying that half a million people on sick leave was unacceptable.