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Hunt says autumn election ‘working assumption’ and hints at further fiscal event

Jeremy Hunt has said the “working assumption” is that an election will be held in the autumn, suggesting that a further fiscal event could take place beforehand.

The Chancellor delivered another 2p cut in national insurance in Wednesday’s Budget, seen by commentators as an attempt to sweeten the Government’s electoral pitch.

Asked whether he was planning a similar move before the nation heads to the polls, Mr Hunt said: “No, but if there’s an autumn election which is the working assumption then theoretically it would be possible to have one.

“But you know, that’s a decision that’s above my pay grade.”

However, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) said Wednesday’s announcements left less than £9 billion of headroom against Mr Hunt’s debt target, much of which would be wiped out if the freeze on fuel duty is extended as it has been every year since 2010.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called the Budget a “last desperate act” by the Conservatives, while polls have suggested that voters were unimpressed by the tax cuts over public spending and do not believe the Budget will help them in the cost-of-living crisis.

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