Jeremy Hunt’s Budget will be ‘game of two halves’ — with cost-of-living relief and spending restraint


THE Budget will be a “game of two halves” — with expensive cost-of-living relief and painful spending restraint.

Jeremy Hunt has told Tories he will “put meat on the bones” of the PM’s plan to fix the economy.

Jeremy Hunt warned there will be no let-up next week on the high tax burden

But the Chancellor warned there will be no let-up next week on the high tax burden.

Treasury insiders admit there will be little to cheer about beyond continued help with energy bills and another potential freeze in fuel prices.

The £2,500 Energy Price Guarantee will extend for three months, costing £2.7billion. Modelling suggests it will drop to £2,000 in July due to wholesale prices falling.

But MPs calling for a U-turn on hiking corporation tax to 25 per cent are set for disappointment.

Smaller firms that make less than £250,000 profit will still be taxed at 19 per cent.

But critics say Mr Hunt risks choking off any hopes of imminent growth. He told Tories “the best tax cut right now is a cut in inflation”.

There will be investment incentives for business and a multi-billion uplift in defence spending to plug holes caused by inflation and donations to Ukraine in the MoD’s budget.

But Mr Hunt will warn lowering inflation means little room for other giveaways.

A Treasury source said: “We need to balance the nation’s books — rejecting above-inflation public sector pay awards, and additional borrowing to fund tax cuts or a spending splurge. All three will only fuel inflation further.”

A new programme to get five million out-of-work benefit claimants back into jobs will also be unveiled, focusing particularly on the over-50s.

The Government is currently spending £120billion a year on debt interest alone — Whitehall’s biggest spend after the NHS.

Mr Hunt said: “That’s money going into the hands of creditors around the world, not public services.”

The Chancellor has told Tories he will ‘put meat on the bones’ of the PM’s plan to fix the economy, pictured in 2012 at the footie