Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Government did respond to fire safety recommendations, United Kingdom minister says

Government did respond to fire safety recommendations, United Kingdom minister says

"And, by the way, we'll be leaving the customs union", U.K. Treasury chief Philip Hammond declared, despite the Conservative Party's recent election setback.

Speaking on the Andrew Marr show, Mr Hammond said that he had already changed the fiscal targets he had inherited when he took on the job and had created "a lot more flexibility to respond to the situation on the ground", which the government would use if necessary.

He also said the government "heard a message" in the election that people were "weary" of spending cuts.

The government is seeking to turn Britain's budget deficit, which was equivalent to 2.5 per cent of gross domestic product in the last financial year, into a surplus by the mid-2020s.

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Speaking on the BBC's The Andrew Marr Show, Hammond admitted the United Kingdom electorate were "weary" of spending cuts, which dominated his predecessor George Osborne's fiscal policies. He suggested that he would be revisiting manifesto pledges for cuts to winter fuel allowances and ending the triple lock on pensions.

He told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show: "It's true that my role in the election campaign was not the one I would have liked it to be. We didn't talk about the economy as much as we should have done". Obviously, we are not deaf.

He said he understood people were exhausted of the "long slog" of spending cuts, but added: "We have to live within our means, and more borrowing.is not the solution".

During an awkward campaign appearance with Mrs May, the PM refused to say Mr Hammond would remain in post as he stood by her side.

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"More borrowing, which seems to be Jeremy Corbyn's answer, is not the solution".

He said "we have never said we won't raise some taxes", but added that overall the government wanted to keep them low. "But ensuring that it happens via a smooth pathway to a deep and special future partnership with our European Union neighbors, one that protects jobs, prosperity, and living standards in Britain, will require every ounce of skill and diplomacy that we can muster", Hammond added.

Mr Hammond said the United Kingdom would definitely be leaving both the EU single market and the customs union, but said that a transitional deal to enable a smooth exit from both was highly desierable.

Asked how long Mrs May had left in Number 10, Mr Hammond replied: "I think what the country needs now is a period of calm while we get on with the job at hand".

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Prime Minister Theresa May said more help will be sent to the scene to help survivors cope and find alternative housing now that the 24-story Grenfell Tower has been destroyed.

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