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'We will be asking everyone for sacrifices': UK warns of budget pain to come this week

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has vowed to get inflation under control.

BRITAIN’S GOVERNMENT HAS warned of impending tax hikes, especially for the wealthy, as it bids to repair economic havoc wrought by the short-lived tenure of former prime minister Liz Truss.

Truss’s successor Rishi Sunak, who was heading to a G20 economic summit in Indonesia, has vowed to get soaring inflation under control even if it means more pain for hard-pressed consumers and businesses.

His finance minister, Jeremy Hunt, told Sky News that the pain would fall disproportionately on the better off as he prepares to unveil an emergency budget statement on Thursday.

Hunt conceded that the UK economy was already likely in recession, “but we are a resilient country and we’ve faced much bigger challenges, frankly, in our history”.

“We’re all going to be paying a bit more tax, I’m afraid,” he said, while refusing to be drawn into detail on the figures, after a tax-cutting budget by Truss caused panic on financial markets.

We will be asking everyone for sacrifices

“But I think in a fair society, as we are in the UK, we need to recognise that there’s only so much you can ask from people on the very lowest incomes, so that will be reflected in the decisions that I take.”

Hunt is reportedly looking at changing income tax brackets, to raise more revenue from high earners, and impose strict curbs on government spending for years to come as inflation hits double digits.

He said the surge in energy prices linked to the war in Ukraine amounted to an economic hit of £140 billion.

“It’s like the economy supporting an entire second NHS,” the minister said.

Ministers are determined to crack down on an “outrageous” waste of public money while seeking billions in tax hikes and savings as the Chancellor warned he will be playing Scrooge at the upcoming budget.

But while Hunt has warned there will be “horrible decisions” on tax and spending to come, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury has said ministers will also be seeking savings through “rooting out waste”.

John Glen said Government could be made “more efficient” by accelerating the sale of under-used buildings, particularly “expensive central London properties”, and “turbo-charging” plans to digitise public services.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, he said: “To continue delivering the things people care about in the face of inflationary pressures, without making the problem worse through extra spending across the board, we have to take difficult decisions and make Government more efficient. That means rooting out waste.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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