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27th January 2023
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s blueprint plan for growth lacks detail-Hargreaves Lansdown
Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown, comments:
"Jeremy Hunt today shrugged off his firefighter image for that of a construction worker, determined to help rebuild Britain’s economy. But there is no quick dry concrete available to provide an immediate solution to the stagnation the UK is languishing under.
The Chancellor donned his hard hat to deliver a dose of realism about the task ahead, underlining that inflation is still the biggest threat to be cut down. Brandishing a blueprint in hand he gestured to the four pillars he hopes will lift the economy. But the detail is sorely lacking, with the architects of this plan clearly unsure how it will be paid for. On one hand he’s promising a low tax economy to incentivise companies to invest, but underlines this can only be done if spending is curtailed. Yet, other pillars – education and employment will require significant new funding to really move the dial on the issues holding back productivity. Getting the 6.6 million people who are economically inactive back to work will require fresh new ideas and re-training programmes and improving literacy and numeracy won’t be easy when mass teachers’ strikes are erupting over pay and conditions.
Clearly improving confidence is key to spur domestic companies to invest more but being more optimistic is a hard sell when business activity in January has hit levels not seen since the UK went into lockdown. There are clearly gleaming nuggets of growth of potential in innovative industries, from renewables to AI and life sciences. But competition for inward investment is heating up with subsidies being dangled by nations across the world. Jeremy Hunt’s vision is laudable but it’s far from clear where the funding will come from with government borrowing already hitting a record for the month of December."
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