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Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt reviewing how HS2 costs ‘can be controlled’ | Politics News

Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt are looking at how costs of HS2 “can be controlled” and no decision has been taken on whether to axe the northern leg, a minister said.

The prime minister is said to be “alarmed” by the spiralling costs of the high speed rail project, after being presented with figures suggesting the overall price could pass £100bn if it is constructed in full.

Asked about the reports, Chris Philp, policing minister, told Sky News: “Well it’s [the cost] gone up a lot. It’s roughly tripled, I think, since it was first conceived.

“So no decisions have been taken about the remaining stages of HS2 but I do know the chancellor and prime minister are looking at how the cost can be controlled.

Politics Live: Keynote speech on final day of Lib Dem conference

He also insisted the people of Manchester are “definitely not” second-class citizens, as Mayor Andy Burnham has claimed following speculation the Birmingham to Manchester leg of the journey is set to be scrapped.

“The commitment to the Midlands, the North, the levelling up agenda is absolutely undimmed,” Mr Philp said.

“What this review is about is making sure the costs are controlled and I think any taxpayer anywhere in the country would want to see that kind of prudence apply.”

Ministers have refused to guarantee the HS2 line to Manchester will go ahead as planned since a report in The Independent this month said it was due to be axed because of rising costs.

Mr Sunak, who on Monday did nothing to quell fears he is preparing to either scrap or delay the leg, has told allies he is not prepared to watch the cost continue to rise, according to The Times.

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Rishi Sunak refuses to comment on HS2 ‘speculation’

The newspaper said he is concerned about a lack of cost controls and high salaries at the company overseeing the project after he was shown figures suggesting the overall price could top £100bn.

Mr Sunak is also said to be considering terminating the line in a west London suburb rather than in Euston, in the centre of the capital, to save money.

However, the possible downscaling of the project has been met with a fierce backlash from across the political spectrum.

Tory former chancellor George Osborne and ex-Conservative deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine were among grandees warning that scrapping the Manchester route would be a “gross act of vandalism” which would mean “abandoning” the North and Midlands.

Norman Baker, a former Lib Dem transport minister who signed off HS2 during the coalition government, called for an inquiry into the chaos of the project “to make sure it doesn’t happen again”.

The new US owners of Birmingham City football club joined a chorus of business criticism warning that limiting HS2 would damage confidence in government promises to deliver long-term plans.

Read More:
HS2 explained: What is it and why are parts being delayed?

It was initially thought a decision on HS2 would be made ahead of the Conservative Party conference this weekend, but the prime minister is reportedly going to delay an announcement until the autumn statement in November.

He could announce a string of regional transport improvements in an effort to limit the political fallout, reports suggested.

Esther McVey, the Conservative MP for Tatton in Cheshire and a long-standing critic of HS2, said she would prefer to see investment “go into the local infrastructure across the North” so that cities are better connected.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that HS2 is “sucking the money and the life out of our local transport”.

Ms McVey said: “Thank goodness that the prime minister is looking at HS2’s spiralling costs, because what might have been feasible at £37bn really is not at £120bn going northwards.

“Things have significantly changed since lockdown. People will now sooner jump on a Zoom to save time and money. So it’s the right thing to do and yes, stop it as soon as possible.”

Hunt for escaped prisoner Daniel Abed Khalife: Why wasn’t terror suspect banged up in modern Belmarsh? | UK News

Most terror suspects are kept in Belmarsh jail, considered the UK’s most secure. 

It’s so difficult to get in and out that lawyers complain about their own access to visit their clients.

They often cite the massive security checks as the reason for delays in court cases.

Jail breakouts are rare and no prisoner has ever escaped from Belmarsh, a category A jail in southeast London, though some have tried.

HMP Belmarsh. File pic
HMP Belmarsh. File pic

So why wasn’t Daniel Abed Khalife, a suspect facing serious terror charges, banged up in modern Belmarsh?

Instead he was awaiting his trial in HMP Wandsworth, a category B jail in southwest London built 170 years ago and described in a watchdog report two years ago as “overcrowded, crumbling, vermin-infested” and suffering with staff shortages.

The same report said an inmate managed to escape from Wandsworth in 2019 and highlighted continuing concerns about security.

And don’t forget that as a soldier, Khalife, 21, would have been trained to escape captivity of all sorts and take psychological advantage of less experienced captors.

That may go a long way to explain how he was able, as it’s thought, to hide under a food delivery truck and hang on as it left the kitchen area where it’s believed he was working as a chef.

Daniel Abed Khalife has escaped prison, the Met Police say
Daniel Abed Khalife

“The issue is one of routine, coupled with prison staff shortages,” said Mark Leech, editor of the Prisons Handbook for England and Wales.

“Perhaps the use of civilian caterers who are not trained prison officers, along with gate security procedures that just become routine and which he may well have spotted while going to court.”

HMP Wandsworth in southwest London
Khalife escaped from HMP Wandsworth

The public might be surprised to learn that a young terror suspect, accused of gathering details of his colleagues that could be useful to a terrorist and collecting information that could be useful to an enemy, had a reduced security risk rating – not A but B.

Mr Leech said: “That is something that in hindsight they will want to review and the investigation will look into that.

“He may well have given the impression to inexperienced staff who conducted his security categorisation that he was far less of a security escape risk than in reality he really was.”

Police seem confident Khalife will be caught soon, but some Wandsworth escapees stay free for a very long time.

Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs climbed over the wall with a rope ladder and jumped to a waiting removals van to flee Wandsworth in 1965.

Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs in 1998
Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs in 1998

He did return, but only by his own choice.

He wasn’t arrested until his plane landed in the UK, 36 years later.

Sara Sharif: 10-year-old found dead at Woking home previously ‘known to authorities’ – as police continue hunt for father | UK News

Sara Sharif – the 10-year-old girl found dead at her home in Woking – was previously known to authorities, Surrey County Council has said.

Sara was found dead on 10 August, with a post-mortem revealing she had “suffered multiple and extensive injuries”, which were “likely to have been caused over a sustained and extended period of time”.

Police in the UK have identified her father, Urfan Sharif, his partner, Beinash Batool, and Mr Sharif’s brother, Faisal Shahzad Malik, as people they want to speak to as part of a murder investigation.

On Sunday, Surrey County Council said Sara was known to the authority before her death.

“We cannot comment further while the Surrey Safeguarding Children Partnership’s thorough review process is ongoing,” a spokesperson for the authority said.

(L-R) Urfan Sharif, 41, Beinash Batool, 29, and Faisal Shahzad Malik, 28

The council said it was “working tirelessly with our safeguarding partners to gain a full understanding of the situation as quickly as possible”.

On Friday, council leader Tim Oliver said: “This is an incredibly sad situation and our thoughts and deepest condolences are with everyone affected.”

He said the national Child Safeguarding panel had been notified of the death and a multi-agency rapid review was under way, in line with standard process following the death of a child.

He explained: “This rapid review will determine whether a local child safeguarding practice review (LCSPR) is to be undertaken by the Surrey Safeguarding Children Partnership.

Sara Sharif. Pic: AP
Sara Sharif. Pic: AP

“An LCSPR is a statutory process, bringing together partners including the police, health, social care and education to review practice of all agencies involved, organisational structures and learning.”

It comes after police in eastern Pakistan said they were seeking to arrest Mr Sharif in connection with Sara’s death.

Read more:
Police in Pakistan seeking to arrest Sara’s father
Trio booked flights to Pakistan a day before body found

According to authorities, Mr Sharif travelled to Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, with Ms Batool and Mr Malik on 9 August – the day before Sara’s body was found.

Mr Sharif’s family home is in Jhelum, Punjab, around 84 miles from the capital.

Sara Sharif
Mr Sharif’s family home is 84 miles from Islamabad

Officer Imran Ahmed said police found evidence that Mr Sharif briefly returned to Jhelum, before leaving and going into hiding.

Another officer in Jhelum, Nisar Ahmed, said he and his men visited the village of Kari – where Mr Sharif was born – but learned the family left around 20 years ago and never returned.

There is no formal extradition treaty between the UK and Pakistan.

However, Pakistan has transferred people to the UK in the past, including Piran Ditta Khan, who was extradited to the UK in April in connection with the 2005 killing of PC Sharon Beshenivsky.

Urfan Sharif, left and Beinash Batool. Pic: AP
Urfan Sharif, left and Beinash Batool. Pic: AP

The cause of Sara’s death is “still to be established”.

According to UK police, Mr Sharif called 999 from Islamabad on 10 August, expressing a concern for his eldest daughter’s safety – although the exact details of the conversation are unknown.

Sky News has seen the passports and holding plane tickets for Mr Sharif, Ms Batool and Mr Malik.

Surrey Police officers outside a property on Hammond Road in Woking, Surrey, where a 10-year-old girl was found dead after officers were called to the address on Thursday following a concern for safety. Picture date: Friday August 11, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story POLICE Woking. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
Surrey Police officers outside the property

Eight tickets in total were booked by Sara’s father.

These were for three adults and five children – and paid for by his brother Mr Malik at a cost of around £5,100, according to a travel agent that sold the tickets.

Officers from Surrey Police have remained at the family’s property in Hammond Road in Horsell, a village less than a mile north of Woking town centre.

Woman dies after ‘altercation’ and car chase – prompting police hunt for occupants of Mercedes that sped off | UK News

A murder inquiry has been launched, with police hunting for the occupants of a black Mercedes after a woman died following a “dangerous” car chase.

Emergency services were called to B902 New Carron Road in Falkirk at around 6.10pm on Saturday after two vehicles collided.

The 27-year-old female driver of a silver Vauxhall Vectra was pronounced dead at the scene.

Her 22-year-old male passenger was taken to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh for treatment, while the 39-year-old male driver of a black Volkswagen Tiguan also suffered minor injuries.

Police Scotland said the woman’s death was being treated as “suspicious”.

Shortly before the crash, investigating officers say those in the Vauxhall were involved in an “altercation” with the occupants of a black Mercedes C-Class outside an address in Foundry Street.

Police say the Mercedes pursued the Vauxhall on to New Carron Road “in a dangerous fashion” and then fled the scene after the crash.

Detective Inspector Hazel Reid said: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the woman at this very difficult time.

“We have a dedicated team of officers working on this investigation and extensive enquiries are ongoing at this time.

“It is imperative we trace the occupants of the black Mercedes who fled the scene.

“We believe this vehicle has pursued the Vauxhall in a dangerous fashion, resulting in a crash with the Volkswagen Tiguan.”

Officers have been gathering CCTV footage from the surrounding area and carrying out door-to-door enquiries.

Anyone with information, private CCTV or dashcam footage is being urged to come forward.

Inspector Reid added: “We will have a continued police presence in the area and anyone with any concerns can approach these officers.

“It is vital that we find out more about what has happened as soon as we can and I would urge anyone with information to contact us as soon as possible, no matter how insignificant it might seem.”

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt speaks out against profiteering – as he points to reason for high inflation | Business News

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has warned that profit increases benefit no one if they worsen inflation.

Mr Hunt said he agreed with remarks by Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey and said “margin recovery benefits no one if it feeds inflation”.

Mr Bailey has spoken out against companies raising prices, seeking to recover profits hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking at the City of London’s Mansion House on Monday evening, Mr Hunt said the UK’s economic resilience – such as the low unemployment rate and lack of recession – is one of the reasons inflation has remained high.

“[The UK economy] has shown itself more resilient than many predicted, but that resilience is itself one of the reasons for higher inflation,” he said.

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Chancellor Jeremy Hunt says the UK faces ‘difficult challenges’, but has ‘shown itself more resilient than many predicted’.

The chancellor also outlined ambitions for pension reform.

Corporate profiteering and wage increases were spurring on stubborn inflation, Mr Bailey said last month when the latest interest rate rise was announced.

“We can’t have companies seeking to rebuild profit margins which means prices continue to go up at their current rates,” Mr Bailey said.

“The current levels, I’ll be honest, are unsustainable.”

He has previously suggested that food producers – rather than supermarkets – may be overcharging.

Banks and supermarkets have continued to profit, with some seeing profits increase, throughout the cost of living crisis.

Read more
Government explores options to attract pension fund investment for UK projects

A core aim for Mr Hunt is to remedy the fact UK pension funds don’t invest in UK high-growth companies as much as their international counterparts.

The heads of major defined benefit pension schemes – the schemes most people are members of – on Monday signed an agreement aiming to, by 2030, allocate at least 5% of the funds people automatically join to shares in companies that aren’t listed on a stock exchange.

The defined benefit market is “too fragmented”, Mr Hunt said, and there is scope for them to consolidate.

Overall the announcements were said to be “evolutionary not revolutionary”, by Mr Hunt.

Pension schemes which are not achieving “the best possible outcome for their members” will face being wound up by the Pensions Regulator, Mr Hunt added.

There could be real financial benefits as a result of reforms, the chancellor said.

“For an average earner who starts saving at 18, these measures could increase the size of their pension pot by 12% over their career – that’s worth over £1,000 more a year in retirement.”

There will also be benefits for some companies, he added.

“At the same time this package has the potential to unlock an additional £75bn of financing for growth by 2030, finally addressing the shortage of scale up capital holding back so many of our most promising companies.”

Sunak confirms Hunt will still be chancellor at next election despite criticism ahead of spring budget | Politics News

Rishi Sunak has said Jeremy Hunt will still be chancellor at the next election after criticism his number two did not have enough economic vision.

The prime minister, for the first time, confirmed to Sky News that Mr Hunt will remain chancellor when the next general election comes around in January 2025.

“Of course,” Mr Sunak said when asked by Sky News’ deputy political editor Sam Coates.

Mr Hunt was criticised by businesses following a keynote speech in January about the government’s plan to boost economic growth as they complained it offered no new policies.

The chancellor also signalled the upcoming spring budget, to be announced by him on Wednesday, will not contain big tax cuts – despite calls from some Tory MPs – because of the need to focus on curbing high inflation.

But Mr Sunak insisted the budget will deliver on the three economic pledges he set out when he became prime minister: to halve inflation, grow the economy and reduce debt.

“It’s important to get public sector pay settlements right, important to reduce debt to make sure we’re not passing on burdens for the next generation,” he said.

“It also ensures we’re reducing inflation and keeping interest rates low.”

Read more:

What to look our for in Jeremy Hunt’s first budget
UK to spend extra £5bn on military to counter China and Russia threats

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on the deck of the decommissioned and now museum, USS Midway Aircraft Carrier in San Diego, during his visit to the US for meetings with US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister of Australia Anthony Albanese as part of Aukus, a trilateral security pact between Australia, the UK, and the US. Picture date: Sunday March 12, 2023.
Mr Sunak on the deck of the decommissioned and now museum, USS Midway Aircraft Carrier in San Diego

Mr Sunak acknowledged that recent high interest rates have caused “damage” for banks, in reference to the UK arm of Silicon Valley Bank having to be rescued on Monday after its parent company in the US, SVB America, collapsed.

The PM said the government – and Mr Hunt – are focused on growing the economy in “the best way to provide jobs for people around the country”.

“That’s what the chancellor is going to deliver on Wednesday, what the government will deliver,” he added.

“People should be confident we’ve already delivered, we’ve brought about enormous improvement since I took over as prime minister last year and we’ll continue to deliver.”

Mr Sunak was speaking in San Diego where he is meeting US President Joe Biden and Australian PM Anthony Albanese as part of the AUKUS project to develop nuclear-powered submarines for the Australian navy.

He said the programme was not purely in reaction to the rising “systemic challenge” from China.

The PM told Sky News: “This partnership represents something much bigger.

“We’re building the next generation of attack submarines with world-beating technology that we will be able to share with each other.

“Not just in the Pacific, but the Atlantic and around the world, it’ll improve security around the world and provide jobs.”

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt expected to announce rise in national living wage | Politics News

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will announce a rise in the national living wage this week, Sky News understands.

Mr Hunt and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will accept an official recommendation to increase the living wage from £9.50 an hour to about £10.40 an hour, according to news first reported in The Times.

The rise of nearly 10% would benefit around 2.5 million people, the newspaper said.

Among the other measures reportedly being considered are:

• Cost of living payments for eight million households worth up to £1,100
• Payments of £650 for those on means-tested benefits such as universal credit, £150 for disability benefit recipients, and £300 for pensioner households
• Freezing of thresholds for income tax, national insurance, VAT, inheritance tax and pensions savings
• Removing the requirement for local authorities to hold a referendum before increasing council tax by more than 2.99%, allowing them to raise significantly more money. The new threshold could be 5%, The Daily Telegraph reported

The moves are part of plans to cut spending by £33bn and raise taxes by £22bn to plug a black hole in the country’s finances.

The government has already said that the poorest households will be prioritised, leaving wealthy and middle-income households to bear the greatest burden from tax rises.

One of the main focuses will be energy costs, with changes to be made to the price guarantee announced in September by Mr Sunak’s predecessor, Liz Truss.

Read more:
Rishi Sunak ducks 3% defence spending commitment – but points to ‘track record’ on investment
G20 is Rishi Sunak’s first big moment on the world state – but this isn’t his real test

The price guarantee meant that a typical household would face energy bills of no more than £2,500 a year, but this could rise to as much as £3,100 from April – and even this would still leave taxpayers with a large bill.

There have also been hints that the autumn statement on Thursday could include benefits and pensions being increased in line with inflation – a move that will cost around £11bn.

The triple lock on state pensions – which guarantees an increase in line with average earnings, inflation, or 2.5%, whichever is higher – was part of the Conservatives’ manifesto in 2019.

But, as inflation soars past 10%, it has become increasingly expensive.

Read more:
Ed Conway: The UK has one foot in a recession but it’s worth being wary of forecasts during uncertain times
Jeremy Hunt says everyone will have to pay higher taxes – but richest will make larger sacrifices

Speaking to reporters accompanying him on his trip to the G20 summit in Bali, Mr Sunak said: “My track record as chancellor shows I care very much about those pensioners, particularly when it comes to things like energy and heating because they are especially vulnerable to cold weather.

“That’s why when I announced support earlier this year as chancellor we made extra provision for pensioners to receive up to £300 alongside their winter fuel payments to help them cope with energy bills over the winter.

“So I am someone who understands the particular challenge of pensioners.

“They will always be at the forefront of my mind.”

Sophy Ridge on Sunday: Jeremy Hunt says everyone will have to pay higher taxes – but richest will make larger sacrifices | Politics News

Jeremy Hunt has said everyone is going to be paying higher taxes but those who earn the most will have to make larger sacrifices.

The chancellor told the Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme during Thursday’s autumn statement he “will be asking everyone for sacrifices” but recognises there is “only so much we can ask” from people on the lowest incomes.

“That will be reflected in the decision, it’s important Britain is a fair country,” he said.

“We’re all going to be paying a bit more tax, I’m afraid.”

Mr Hunt promised it will “not just be bad news” but said he believes the public recognises “if you want to give people confidence about the future you have to be honest about the present”.

He said his plan will bring down inflation, control high energy prices and “get our way back to growing, healthily”.

The chancellor said his plan will help get the UK out of a recession as quickly as possible.

But he also said spending cuts from government departments will be needed and hinted no more funding will be given to the NHS.

He said the health service’s funding is already going up but it needs to do “everything it can to find efficiencies”.

Jeremy Hunt announces new economic council to provide government with ‘expert advice’ | Politics News

Jeremy Hunt has announced he is creating an economic advisory council to assist the government as it seeks to repair the damage caused by last month’s mini-budget.

The council’s membership will include Rupert Harrison, who was chief of staff to former chancellor George Osbourne during the austerity era of 2010-2015, and Karen Ward, who advised former chancellor Philip Hammond after Brexit, and now works for investment bank JP Morgan.

Announcing the measure in the Commons, the new chancellor said the group will provide “more independent expert advice” to ministers.

But the Liberal Democrats said the panel should be made up of housing and debt charities instead of only asset managers.

The panel will also comprise two former members of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee: Gertjan Vlieghe, who is now chief economist at US hedge fund Element Capital, and Sushil Wadhwani, chief investment officer for asset management company PGIM Wadhwani.

Lib Dem Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney said: “An advisory panel of purely wealthy asset managers in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis proves just how out of touch this Conservative government is.”

Mr Hunt made the announcement in the Commons hours after tearing up the bulk of the economic strategy that brought Liz Truss into office as prime minister just six weeks ago.

The PM was in the chamber for around half an hour as he spoke, after ducking an urgent question from Labour earlier.

Hinting at a potential further U-turn as he took questions from MPs for two hours, Mr Hunt also said he is “not against the principle” of windfall taxes – something Ms Truss was opposed to.

Responding to a question from Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey, he said: “I am not against the principle of taxing profits that are genuine windfalls.

“We have said that nothing is off the table.”

In a further diversion from Ms Truss’ policies, Mr Hunt failed to commit to spending 3% of GDP on defence – a key pledge made by the prime minister during the Conservative leadership race.

He also failed to promise the triple pension lock will stay – a policy which formed part of the Conservative’s 2019 manifesto – and failed to guarantee benefits will increase in line with inflation.

Mr Hunt said he is not making “firm commitments” on any individual elements of tax and spending.

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Conservative MP Sir Charles Walker said the prime minister ‘has put the country through a huge amount of unnecessary pain’

“I’m not making any commitments on any individual policy areas, but every decision we take, will be taken through the prism of what matters most, to the most vulnerable,” he said.

Mr Hunt was in the Commons to set out further details of his economic plan, after reversing “almost all” of his predecessor’s tax cuts and scaling back the energy bills freeze package.

The changes Mr Hunt has announced include:

  • No cuts to dividend tax rates
  • Repeal of the easing of IR35 rules for the self-employed introduced in 2017 and 2021
  • No new VAT-free shopping scheme for overseas visitors to the UK
  • No freeze on alcohol duty rates
  • Basic rate of income tax to remain at 20%, not reduce to 19% from April 2023
  • Energy price guarantee only until April 2023.

He told MPs growth requires “confidence and stability”.

Tories are ‘out of credibility and out of chancellors’

However Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves warned the “damage has been done” despite the “humiliating U-turns”.

She said of Mr Hunt: “The fourth in four months of chaos and fiasco as this Conservative Government spirals down the political plughole. But the damage has been done.

“This is a Tory crisis made in Downing Street but ordinary working people are paying the price.

“The Tories have run out of credibility and now they are running out of chancellors.”

Ms Truss became prime minister after winning the Tory leadership contest on the back of promises to dramatically cut tax and upend the status quo in the Treasury.

Read More:
Seven things you need to know about the mini-budget U-turn
Hunt is now an all powerful backseat driver, MPs believe

But Ms Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng’s tax-slashing mini-budget unleashed turbulence in the financial markets, leading to Mr Kwarteng’s dramatic sacking as chancellor and the installation of Mr Hunt in an effort to reassure investors.

Truss’ position ‘is untenable’

Some Tory MPs are now calling for Ms Truss to go, with senior Conservative MP Sir Charles Walker telling Sky News’ political editor Beth Rigby: “I think her position is untenable.

“She has put colleagues, the country, through a huge amount of unnecessary pain and upset and worry.”

Sky News understands that Ms Truss met Sir Graham Brady, the influential chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Conservative MPs, for what is said to have been a planned meeting during Labour’s urgent question earlier.

Conservative MPs who are disgruntled with Ms Truss’s leadership are able to submit letters of no confidence in her to Sir Graham. It is thought that if many letters are received, Sir Graham could have a mandate to change the rules of the leadership election process.

The prime minister is also meeting the One Nation group of Tory MPs in Westminster tonight.

Meanwhile, Senior Conservative MP Mel Stride indicated that Tory MPs will be discussing Liz Truss’s position at a dinner on Monday evening organised to discuss economic policy.

He told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme: “Will we be discussing other matters? I’m afraid that everybody’s discussing other matters.”

Pound rebounds in early Asia trading, following Liz Truss U-turn and Jeremy Hunt appointment | Business News

The pound has edged a little higher against the dollar in early Asia trading, following PM Liz Truss’s partial reversal of her initial economic plan.

It had fallen to a record low against the dollar at the end of September, after the short-lived then chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng unveiled the biggest programme of tax cuts for 50 years.

Mr Kwarteng, who was sacked on Friday after just 38 days in the job, paid the price for a mini-budget that called into question the government’s economic credibility more widely as the cost of borrowing surged, leading to an unprecedented intervention by the Bank of England (BoE).

However, following the prime minister’s announcement on Friday that corporation tax would rise to 25% from April next year instead of keeping it at 19% as part of the initial mini-budget, sterling gained 0.6% to $1.1245 on Monday in trade in Asia.

Kwasi Kwarteng leaves Downing Street
Out the door went Kwasi Kwarteng

Mr Kwarteng’s replacement, former foreign and health secretary Jeremy Hunt, has promised to win back the confidence of the financial markets by fully accounting for the government’s tax and spending plans.

New Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt leaves 10 Downing Street
In came the new Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt

All eyes are now on how the UK government bond market will trade, after the BoE on Friday concluded its emergency gilt market support.

“If we do see a surge in gilt yields, then that would show that markets remain very sceptical about the debt sustainability
in the UK,” said Carol Kong, a currency strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

“I think sterling is likely to remain very volatile this week,” she added.

Read more:
Pound sinks to record low against the dollar – as PM and chancellor defend mini-budget
Bank of England ‘will not hesitate to change interest rates as necessary’ after pound’s fall

Can Truss remain PM?

The Conservative Party is now on its fifth chancellor in the past three years – Mr Hunt, Mr Kwarteng, Nadhim Zahawi, Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid.

Mr Hunt is the seventh Tory chancellor in 12 years.

There is now a renewed focus on whether Ms Truss can remain in the job.

A Tory MP told Sky News: “The idea that the prime minister can just scapegoat her chancellor and move on is deluded.

“This is her vision. She signed off on every detail and she defended it.”