In this July 8, 2019 photo, the then British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt listens to a question during a press conference with the Bishop of Truro Philip Mounstephen about the Bishop's final report into the Foreign Office's support for Persecuted Christians around the world, in London. (AP PHOTO/ALASTAIR GRANT, POOL, FILE)
LONDON – Jeremy Hunt, former foreign secretary of the United Kingdom, has been appointed as chancellor of the exchequer, Downing Street said in a statement on Friday.
Hunt, 55, replaces Kwasi Kwarteng, who resigned earlier in the day after his mini-budget was blamed for causing economic turmoil.
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"You have asked me to stand aside as your Chancellor. I have accepted," Kwarteng said in his resignation to Prime Minister Liz Truss posted on Twitter.
For too long this country has been dogged by low growth rates and high taxation – that must still change if this country is to succeed.
Kwasi Kwarteng, Ex-UK Chancellor of the Exchequer
Kwarteng's time in office – 38 days – made him one of the shortest-serving UK chancellors in history.
The mini-budget he presented last month, which contained controversial debt-funded tax cuts, has been blamed for the economic turmoil which saw the British pound plunge to a 37-year low against the U.S. dollar while the cost of government borrowing and mortgage rates surge.
Amid tremendous pressure, Kwarteng made a U-turn earlier this month on plans to scrap the 45 percent income tax rate for the highest earners.
"As I have said many times in the past weeks, following the status quo was simply not an option. For too long this country has been dogged by low growth rates and high taxation — that must still change if this country is to succeed," he said in his resignation.
In a press conference, Truss confirmed Kwarteng's resignation, calling him "a great friend" and saying she was "incredibly sorry to lose him."
Britain's former Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng waves to the media as he leaves 11 Downing Street after resigning, in London, Oct 14, 2022. (KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH / AP)
Referring to Hunt as "one of the most experienced and widely respected government ministers and parliamentarians," Truss said the new chancellor will deliver the medium-term fiscal plan at the end of this month.
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In a second U-turn on the policies set out in the mini-budget, the prime minister said UK's corporation tax will rise to 25 percent, reversing the promise in the mini-budget of freezing the tax rate at 19 percent.