The UK Government is going to “hold firm” with its tax-cutting strategy, despite turmoil in the financial markets, Scottish secretary Alister Jack has insisted.
Prime Minister Liz Truss and chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng met with officials from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) on Friday, a week after the Government set out its mini-budget.
Following the meeting, which appeared to last under 50 minutes, the Treasury stated that an OBR forecast will be published on November 23 when Kwarteng will reveal his medium-term fiscal plan.
Concern has been raised over the impact of the mini-budget, with the pound having plummeted after the announcement in the House of Commons.
It also comes amid a cost of living crisis, with energy bills set to increase for households over winter.
Jack, however, reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to its growth strategy, describing it as the “right one” to pursue.
“What we’re trying to do is we’re trying to progress with the growth strategy, that’s what is important to our economy,” he told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme on Friday.
“We can’t tax our way to growth, no-ones ever been able to do that, we’re trying to create a growth strategy to help us with the challenges we face.
“We know that an extra 1% of growth brings an extra £47bn a year of tax into the economy and that’s what this strategy is about.
“This is the first step and we’re going to hold firm with the strategy because we believe it’s the right one.”
Jack told the BBC that it was “plain as day” that Truss would be cutting taxes, after it was put to him that the mini-budget had been a shock.
He said: “Over the summer, she was very clear that she believes that her strategy was to reduce taxes, she and Rishi Sunak argued that out over the summer, he said one thing, she said the other.
“But it shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone when she said she believed the strategy was to be more of a sort of Asian-tiger economy strategy where you keep your higher spending but you grow your economy, and she said to do that she would be cutting taxes.
“To anyone paying any attention to that leadership contest, it was plain as day what was going to happen.”
On Thursday, a YouGov poll reported a 33-point lead in the polls for Labour over the Conservatives.
It represents the highest lead for a party in any recorded poll since the late 1990s.
The Scottish secretary described opinion polls as a “snapshot” of the mood of the country at the time.
He explained that he instead prefers to look at the “longer trends”, underlining the importance of people making their feelings known at the ballot box.
“On opinion polls, I always give the same answer which is the opinion poll that matters is when people go to the polls and cast their vote,” he said.
“We’ve seen opinion polls sway backwards and forwards and while I’ve been in this role I’ve seen them move around dramatically.”
Jack added: “Opinion polls are a snapshot of the mood of the country at the time.
“I prefer to look at the longer trends, but the one that really matters is when people go to the ballot box and that is two years away.”
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