LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister Jeremy Hunt will focus his Nov. 22 budget update on reducing inflation and does not expect forecasts to show the government has extra money to spend, he told Bloomberg News in an interview broadcast Monday.
“The one thing I can absolutely say is that our focus in the autumn statement will be on bringing down inflation and delivering the prime minister’s goal to halve inflation and the Bank of England’s target to get it down to 2%,” he said.
Asked whether he expected the government’s fiscal headroom to have increased when the latest independent forecasts are published alongside his statement, he said: “I think it’s unlikely because since the spring budget… we’ve seen inflation stickier than was forecast at the time and that means debt interest payments are higher.
“When you’re trying to bring down inflation, you have to be really careful not to pump extra money into the economy, as much as you would like to – not to pump extra money into people’s pockets – because that can push up prices and keep inflation higher for longer.”
(Reporting by William James; Editing by Sachin Ravikumar)