Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has warned that there are going to be "very difficult decisions" in next week's fiscal statement but insisted the UK was "resilient".
Hunt has claimed the government's new economic plans will help keep any recession "as short and shallow as possible" as he compared himself to Scrooge ahead of Thursday's Budget plans. The Chancellor said there would be no surprises in the latest fiscal plans after his predecessor Kwasi Kwarteng plunged the UK markets into chaos following a wave of shock announcements in his late September 'mini-Budget'. The Chancellor is expected to announce a wave of public spending cuts and tax rises as he attempts to fill an estimated £55bn blackhole in the UK's finances. But he insisted there would not be any major giveaways in the upcoming statement, adding: "I think it's fair to say this is going to be the first rabbit-free budget for very many years.
"I'm sorry to disappoint you but, no, this is not going to be a time for rabbits, I'm afraid." And comparing himself to the tight-fisted Dickensian protagonist, Hunt insisted he was willing to be "Scrooge who is going to do things that make sure Christmas is never cancelled". Responding to the warnings, Hunt insisted he would attempt to ensure any recession was as "short as possible", but accepted household finances were likely to be impacted as he said everyone would be asked to make "sacrifices".
"We're all going to be paying a bit more tax, I'm afraid," he said. "We were able to help businesses through the furlough scheme and we've been able to help people with their energy bills this winter, and we'll be able to do so next winter because we've been responsible with public finances.