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New Chancellor looks to restore confidence

Posted: July 15, 2016

Britain’s new chancellor, Philip Hammond has said he will do whatever is necessary to restore confidence in the economy after the Brexit vote, according to Reuters.

In his first public comments since succeeding George Osborne as chancellor of the Exchequer, Hammond praised Bank of England Governor Mark Carney and said he would take decisions over the summer before outlining his tax and spending plans.

“Markets do need signals of reassurance, they need to know that we will do whatever is necessary to keep the economy on track,” Hammond said on ITV television.

“We’re working together across that referendum divide in the party to deliver the best possible deal for Britain. I think confidence will gradually begin to return and people will start to see the shape of the future that we’re mapping out,” he said.

Hammond, who has previously served as foreign, defence and transport minister, has a reputation in Westminster as a safe pair of hands who rarely hits the headlines. By contrast Osborne was former prime minister David Cameron’s closest ally and chief strategist, making him one of the most visible political figures in Britain over the last six years.

The Brexit vote thrust Britain into its worst political crisis in modern times, with both major parties in turmoil and investors left guessing about how the future relationship with the EU will look.

In a series of media interviews, Hammond declined to commit himself to plans made by Osborne in the wake of the referendum, including proposals to make further cuts to corporation tax.
But he suggested he would take a less aggressive approach to fixing the public finances, echoing comments by Britain’s new prime minister Theresa May.

“Of course we’ve got to reduce the deficit further but looking at how and when and at what pace we do that, and how we measure our progress in doing that is something that we now need to consider in the light of the new circumstances that the economy is facing,” he told BBC radio.