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Hunt plans £6bn no-deal Brexit war chest 'like the bank bailout'

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter
Jeremy Hunt sips a milkshake during a visit to Chelmsford High Street. Stefan Rousseau/PA via AP

Jeremy Hunt could spend £6bn protecting UK fishing and farming under a no-deal Brexit, comparing it to the bailout of the banks during the financial crisis.

The Conservative MP, who is fighting Boris Johnson in the race to Britain’s next prime minister, said he would also use an emergency budget to cut corporation tax.

Hunt will use a speech on Monday to outline how he would try to alleviate the potentially catastrophic damage for the UK economy of leaving the EU without a deal.

"I will mitigate the impact of no deal Brexit on you and step in to help smooth those short-term difficulties. If we could do it for the bankers in the financial crisis, we can do it for our fisherman, farmers and small businesses now," he said in a pre-released expert of his speech.

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But the health secretary’s rhetoric has also hardened in recent days on his determination to leave without a deal if necessary to make Brexit happen.

He sparked shock among business leaders on Sunday by saying he would be willing to tell firms destroyed by a no-deal Brexit that democracy must come first.

He has previously outlined plans to slash corporation tax to 12.5% and axe business rates for many high street firms.

He is expected to also unveil plans to use emergency powers to keep ports and airports working, and establish a new national logistics committee to manage the likely huge disruption to the free movement of goods.

The proposed £6bn set aside for the “sheep farmer in Shropshire” and “fishermen in Peterhead” is intended to soften the blow of what could be devastating new export tariffs and delays and competition from abroad.

His rival Boris Johnson has also proposed significant new spending plans in recent days, suggesting he would be happy to borrow more to spend more on education.

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