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UK will avoid recession in 2023, chancellor says

The UK will not enter a “technical recession” this year, Jeremy Hunt told the Commons.

Starting his Budget, chancellor Jeremy Hunt has said the British economy is “proving the doubters wrong” in the face of “enormous challenges.”

He added that the UK economy is “on the right track.”

The chancellor said: “We remain vigilant, and will not hesitate to take whatever steps are necessary for economic stability. Today the Office for Budget Responsibility forecast that because of changing international factors and the measures I take, the UK will not now enter a technical recession this year.

“They forecast we will meet the prime minister's priorities to halve inflation, reduce debt and get the economy growing. We are following the plan and the plan is working. But that's not all we've done.”

The chancellor summarised his plans to deliver a growth for the UK economy.

Mr Hunt said: “I deliver that today by removing obstacles that stop businesses investing; by tackling labour shortages that stop them recruiting; by breaking down barriers that stop people working; and by harnessing British ingenuity to make us a science and technology superpower.”

The Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts inflation to fall from 10.7 per cent last year to 2.9 per cent by the end of the year, Jeremy Hunt said.

Part of the fall in inflation will be due to measures he is taking today, the chancellor says.

The chancellor said the UK is proving the doubters wrong (Parliament TV)
The chancellor said the UK is proving the doubters wrong (Parliament TV)

He adds £94bn has been spent on energy support for households, with over £3,300 of cost of living help for every household in the country.

Now, this is a “budget for growth”, the chancellor says.

Mr Hunt also said he would “significantly increase the generosity of draught relief”, saying this could not be done when the UK was in the EU.

He told MPs: “From 1 August the duty on draught products in pubs will be up to 11p lower than the duty in supermarkets, a differential we will maintain as part of a new Brexit pubs guarantee. British ale may be warm, but the duty on a pint is frozen.”

Mr Hunt said the change will apply to “every pub in Northern Ireland” due to the Windsor Framework.

On fuel duty, Jeremy Hunt said: “Because inflation remains high, I have decided now is not the right time to uprate fuel duty with inflation or increase the duty.

“So here's what I am going to do: for a further 12 months I'm going to maintain the 5p cut and I'm going to freeze fuel duty too. That saves the average driver £100 next year and around £200 since the 5p cut was introduced.”