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Sunak insists economy ‘on the right track’ ahead of Budget

Sunak insists economy ‘on the right track’ ahead of Budget

Rishi Sunak claimed the UK economy is getting “on the right track” as he visited the site of the former Honda car factory.

The Japanese car giant’s plant in Swindon, Wiltshire, shut in 2021 with the loss of thousands of jobs and the site was sold to developer Panattoni to turn into a logistics hub.

Addressing Panattoni staff working on the demolition and reconstruction of the site, the Prime Minister said in the last five years the firm has begun developing more than 25 million square feet of industrial space.

With Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to deliver his pre-election Budget on Wednesday, Mr Sunak said: “I think that’s a huge vote of confidence in the UK, and it shows that the work we’re doing to get the economy on the right track is paying off.

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“Now, I’m determined, as Prime Minister, to make sure that the UK is the best place in the world to invest and grow a business like this.

“And that’s why we’ve been taking ambitious steps, like making full-expensing permanent, which is the biggest business tax cut in modern British history.

“It’s all about supporting businesses like this to invest in local areas and create jobs and opportunity for the future.”

Rishi Sunak visit to Wiltshire
Mr Sunak spoke to Panattoni staff working on the demolition and reconstruction of the site (Toby Melville/PA)

On Monday, Mr Hunt reiterated his desire to move towards a “lower tax economy” but in a “responsible” way, ruling out borrowing to pay for a pre-election giveaway.

He dodged questions on whether the Tory Government is “pinching Labour’s policies” as it is thought he is considering abolishing the non-dom tax status as a way of raising revenue – a long-standing pledge made by Sir Keir Starmer’s party.

“You’ll have to see on Wednesday precisely what I’m going to announce,” the Chancellor told broacasters.

“But let me be clear, there is a plan for growth compared to the Labour Party that has just had to abandon the central plan that they had for growth – this 28 billion number that one day they were supporting, the next day they weren’t.”

The closure of the Honda plant was announced in 2019 in the wake of Brexit – although the firm insisted that was not the reason, instead blaming unprecedented changes in the global car industry.