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UK finance minister: Fix public finances before cutting taxes

·1-min read
Conservative Party Conference in Manchester

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) -British finance minister Rishi Sunak said on Monday that tax cuts could only come once public finances had been put on a sustainable footing.

Last month the government set out plans to raise taxes on workers, employers and some investors to try to fix a health and social care funding crisis, angering some in his governing party by breaking election promises.

Speaking to a packed hall at the governing Conservative Party's annual conference in the northern English city of Manchester, Sunak said he believed in fiscal responsibility.

"There can be no prosperous future unless it is built on the foundation of strong public finances. And I have to be blunt with you, our recovery comes with a cost. Our national debt is almost 100% of GDP. So we need to fix our public finances," he said, after entering to a standing ovation.

"Yes, I want tax cuts, but in order to do that our public finances must be put back on a sustainable footing."

Sunak will give a half-yearly update on the public finances and economic outlook on Oct. 27, when he is also expected to outline longer-term public spending plans after his massive coronavirus pandemic stimulus package.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, writing by William James; editing by Michael Holden)

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