Challenges posed by inflation are not insurmountable - Jeremy Hunt
In a cost-of-living crisis, that leads to great concern for many families who see the cost of their weekly food shop or the price of petrol go up.
But with the levers of fiscal and monetary policy, wholesale food and energy prices falling and a government that has made the battle against inflation its number one priority, there is nothing insurmountable in the current situation.
Working with the Bank, we will do what is necessary for as long as necessary to tackle inflation persistence and bring it back to the 2 per cent target.
Delivering sound money is our number one focus. That means taking responsible decisions on public finances, including public sector pay, because more borrowing is itself inflationary.
It means recognising that bringing down inflation puts more money into people’s pockets than any tax cut. And it means recognising that there can be no sustainable growth without eliminating the inflation that deters investment and erodes consumer confidence.
Tackling inflation therefore unlocks the Prime Minister’s two other economic priorities – growing our economy and reducing debt – but because it is a prerequisite for both, it must come first.
As we tackle inflation, we must always remember our responsibilities to those struggling the most, so I am therefore grateful to our banks and mortgage lenders for their help in developing last month’s Mortgage Charter.
I agree with the Governor that margin recovery benefits no one if it feeds inflation. And I will continue to work with regulators to make sure the needs of families are prioritised in a tough period.
I want to lay out our plans to enable our financial services sector to increase returns for pensioners, improve outcomes for investors and unlock capital for our growth businesses.
We start from a position of strength. The financial and related professional services industry employs over 2.5 million people.
It generates more than £100bn in tax revenue, paying for half the cost of running the NHS.
A strong City needs a successful economy, and a strong economy needs a successful City.
Recent challenges have led to some losing hope and even peddling a declinist narrative. They are profoundly wrong.
I am proud that since 2010, we have one million more businesses and one million fewer unemployed. And we’ve grown faster than France, Italy, Japan or Germany.
In the last decade we have become Europe’s largest life science sector, Europe’s largest technology sector, its biggest film and TV sector and its second largest clean energy sector.
But as we emerge from our current challenges, the Prime Minister and I have big ambitions for the British economy.
We want to be the world’s next Silicon Valley and a science superpower, embracing new technologies like AI in a way that brings together the skills of our financiers, entrepreneurs and scientists to make our country a force for good in the world.
An abridged version of Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Mansion House Speech.