Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng to announce fiscal plan by the end of October in U-turn
ITV News Political Reporter Shehab Kahn on the latest developments from the Chancellor
Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng has bowed to public pressure, confirming he will bring forward his medium-term fiscal plan and publish it alongside independent economic forecasts on Halloween (Monday, October 31).
Mr Kwarteng had been resisting setting out the details ahead of November 23, after he unveiled his multibillion-pound package of tax cuts to be paid for by borrowing.
The Treasury confirmed the move to bring forward the publication of the financial strategy and the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast.
In a letter to Commons Treasury Committee chair Mel Stride, Mr Kwarteng said he hopes “this short extra delay is acceptable”.
"The new forecast date on 31 October will allow the OBR to capture data releases such as the recent Quarterly National Accounts and Blue Book revisions," he wrote.
"It will allow for a full forecast process to take place to a standard that satisfies the legal requirements of the Charter for Budget Responsibility enacted by Parliament and that also provides an in-depth assessment of the economy and public finances.
"And it will provide time for the Medium-Term Fiscal Plan to be finalised. In the meantime, the Prime Minister and I met with the OBR's Budget Responsibility Committee on Friday 30 September to discuss the economic and fiscal outlook, and we will continue to work closely together throughout the forecast process and beyond."
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Reacting to the news, Mr Stride said on Twitter he "strongly" welcomes the chancellor's decision, describing it as "critical to millions of mortgage holders".
However, the senior Tory MP warned this would only be the case if the plan “lands well with the markets” ahead of a Bank of England meeting on November 3.
Having been spooked by the scale of borrowing to fund £45 billion of tax cuts, financial traders will eagerly await the publication of the plans that have been brought forward following pressure from Conservative MPs.
Former Cabinet minister Grant Shapps - an influential critic of the government on the back benches - welcomed the decision to bring the date of the financial statement forward.
He said it was “a belated but sensible move given the urgent need to show markets the most transparent view of the UK economy”.
But the Liberal Democrats have said the chancellor must spell out how he will address the mortgage rates rise or risk a “Halloween horror show”.
Lib Dem Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney said: “This is yet another screeching U-turn from a government that’s lost control of the economy.
“The chancellor needs to explain what he’ll do to tackle soaring mortgage costs caused by his botched budget. The government’s silence on this mortgage misery is growing more deafening by the day."