UK's Hammond says not deaf to voter weariness on spending cuts

Bruno Cirelli
Giugno 20, 2017

Britain's Finance Minister Philip Hammond said he would relook at the government's proposals.

He said: "We need urgent action now to make sure that all records and documents relating to the refurbishment and management of Grenfell Tower are protected".

"We are not deaf", he told the BBC.

Philip Hammond has warned failing to secure a Brexit deal would be "very, very bad" for Britain ahead of the start of exit talks in Brussels on Monday.

The Chancellor told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show: "What we put in place may not be a single arrangement that endures forever, it may be an arrangement which lasts for a couple of years as a temporary measure before we get to the long-term agreed status quo".

Mr Hammond made only two public appearances throughout the seven week campaign.

"Yes, it's true that my role in the election campaign was not the one I would have liked it to be".

He said Mrs May had "alienated our allies in Europe" and suggested Britain could stay in the single market if it was reformed, but failed to give further detail, saying it is more important to focus on the outcome.

"The end result is that in my judgement we did not talk about the economy as much we should have done".

Asked how long Mrs May had left in Number 10, Mr Hammond replied: "I think what the country needs now is a period of calm while we get on with the job at hand".

There have been calls for a change in economic strategy since the election, which Labour fought on an anti-austerity platform.

The Chancellor hinted that taxes could rise in order to ease cuts to public spending yesterday - as he attacked Theresa May for hiding him away during the election campaign.

"I understand that people are tired after years of hard work to rebuild the economy after the great crash of 2008-09, but we have to live within our means".

"We never said we won't raise some taxes", said Hammond.

Hammond has no direct part in Brexit talks which begin in Brussels on Monday but his new confidence means he is likely to press May and other ministers to prioritise the economy in the complicated negotiations for Britain's European Union departure.

The Chancellor admitted that a no-deal Brexit would be "very, very bad" for the British, but said a deal that would "suck the lifeblood out of our economy" was a worse prospect.

Mr Hammond said the United Kingdom would definitely be leaving both the EU single market and the customs union, but said that a transitional deal to enable a smooth exit from both was highly desierable.

'Overall we are a government that believes in low taxes and we want to reduce the burden of taxes overall for working families.

Brexit Secretary David Davis leads a nine-strong negotiating team to Brussels today calling for a "deal like no other in history" with greater access to the single market than any of the EU's external trading partners and more freedom for United Kingdom goods and services than Turkey enjoys as a member of the customs
union.

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