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Rishi Sunak's 'economic storm' warning prompts louder calls for emergency budget

·Finance Reporter, Yahoo Finance UK
·3-min read
Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak speaks at the Confederation of British Industry's (CBI) annual dinner in London, Britain, May 18, 2022. Peter Nicholls/REUTERS
Rishi Sunak will say lowering taxes for business is ‘the path to higher productivity, higher living standards, and a more prosperous and secure future’. Photo: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

Treasury is being urged to deliver an emergency budget to help families as chancellor Rishi Sunak warns the next few months "will be tough".

At the annual CBI dinner, on Wednesday, the chancellor told businesses the economic situation was "extremely serious", with the country facing "a perfect storm of global supply shocks", including the impact of the war in Ukraine and lockdowns in China.

"There is no measure any government could take, no law we could pass, that can make these global forces disappear overnight," he said.

"The next few months will be tough. But where we can act, we will."

The chancellor said he stands ready to do more to help families cope with the impact of rising inflation and resultant cost of living squeeze.

He said: “We are on your side and will help them increase productivity and enterprise by cutting tax.”

Read more: UK inflation is nearly 11% for poorest households, think tanks say

“In the autumn Budget we will cut your taxes to encourage you to do all those thing,” he added.

“That is the path to higher productivity, higher living standards, and a more prosperous and secure future.”

UK inflation jumped to 9% in the 12 months to April, up from 7% in March and the highest level it has reached since 1982.

UK inflation jumped to 9% in the 12 months to April, up from 7% in March and the highest level it has reached since 1982.
UK inflation jumped to 9% in the 12 months to April

Sunak said “Our role in government is to cut costs for families. I cannot pretend this will be easy. The next few months will be tough, but where we can act, we will.

The chancellor also used his speech to warn of the severity of the economic situation facing the UK.

“I hardly need to tell this audience that the economic situation is extremely serious,” he said.

“A perfect storm of global supply shocks is rolling through our economy simultaneously.”

CBI president Karan Bilimoria urged the government to act immediately on the cost of living crisis and to help companies invest. He described the introduction of a permanent successor scheme to the super-deduction as “of the utmost importance”.

Read more: UK house prices and rents remain at record high

Karl Handscomb, senior economist at the Resolution Foundation think tank, said waiting for the annual increase in April 2023 was “a recipe for more debt”, adding: “The main thing is the need to provide more support for those highly reliant on benefits.

“If [Treasury] get started now, they can do it before the next energy price rise in October,” he told the BBC.

Talking about the government’s plans aimed at tackling the cost of living crisis, Sunak said: “We have provided £22bn of direct support, and we are going further. In October, we’re cutting energy bills by a further £200.

"In just a few weeks’ time, the national insurance threshold will increase to £12,500.”

Watch: How does inflation affect interest rates?

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