Britain must take advantage of its Brexit "freedoms" to boost prosperity and counter incorrect claims of economic "gloom", Jeremy Hunt will say this morning as he delivers a major speech which will set the scene for the Budget in March.
You can follow the latest updates below.
Jeremy Hunt promises 'fundamental programme of reforms' to get more people back into work
Jeremy Hunt has promised a "fundamental programme of reforms" to get more people back into work.
The Chancellor said that approximately one fifth of UK adults of working age are economically inactive - about 6.6million people.
Of those people about 1.4million want to work and the further five million do not, he said.
He said: "So it is time for a fundamental programme of reforms to support people with long term conditions or mental illness to overcome the barriers and prejudices that prevent them from working.
"We will never harness the full potential of our country unless we unlock it for each and every one of our citizens. Nor will we fix our productivity puzzle unless everyone who can participate does.
"So to those who retired early after the pandemic or haven't found the right role after furlough, I say Britain needs you and we will look at the conditions necessary to make work worth your while."
Chancellor: 'Sound money must come first'
Jeremy Hunt said the Government's plan for boosting economic growth and prosperity is based on four pillars.
The Chancellor described them as the "four 'Es' of economic growth and prosperity": Enterprise, education, employment and everywhere.
Mr Hunt said that in order to spark the creation of more new businesses in the coming years "firstly we need lower taxes" and the UK "should be explicit" that "high taxes directly affect the incentives which determine decisions" about where businesses choose to base themselves.
The Chancellor said that "sound money must come first" but added: "But our ambition should be to have nothing less than the most competitive tax regime of any major country. That means restraint on spending.
"In case anyone is in any doubt about who will actually deliver that restraint to make a low tax economy possible, I gently point out that in the three weeks since Labour promised no big Government chequebook they have made £45billion of unfunded spending commitments."
Jeremy Hunt: UK must be 'straight about our weaknesses'
Jeremy Hunt told business leaders that he wants their help to "help our country achieve something that is both ambitious and strategic", namely turning the nation into the "world's next Silicon Valley".
The Chancellor said that firms which choose to make the UK their base will see the Government "back you to the hilt".
Mr Hunt said the UK must also be "straight about our weaknesses" as he highlighted prolonged productivity problems.
UK is 'powerfully positioned' in growth industries - Chancellor
Jeremy Hunt said that "when it comes to the innovation industries that will shape and define this century, the UK is powerfully positioned to play a leading role".
The Chancellor said that the UK has produced more "unicorn" tech companies than France and Germany combined.
Mr Hunt also said the UK is a "world leader" in clean energy technology and green opportunities for UK businesses could be worth £1trillion between now and 2030.
Chancellor: 'Declinism about Britain is wrong'
The Chancellor said that the Government's plan to halve inflation will "require patience and discipline" and "so too will our plan for prosperity and growth".
Jeremy Hunt said the UK will also need a sense of "optimism" if it is to achieve a better economic future.
Speaking in central London, Mr Hunt said: "Declinism about Britain is just wrong. It has always been wrong in the past and it is wrong today."
Jeremy Hunt: 'Best tax cut right now is a cut in inflation'
Jeremy Hunt is now on his feet at Bloomberg's London HQ as he delivers a major speech on the economy.
The Chancellor said that the UK has faced a "decade of black swan events".
Turning to current economic challenges, Mr Hunt said that "the best tax cut right now is a cut in inflation".
Nadine Dorries to host new talk show on TalkTV
Nadine Dorries, the former culture secretary, has been announced as the host of a new Friday night talk show on TalkTV.
Friday Night with Nadine will start on February 3 from 8pm and her first guest will be Boris Johnson.
Income tax cut is most wanted among voters - poll
A reduction in income tax is the tax cut voters want to see the most, a new poll has suggested.
A Redfield & Wilton Strategies survey for The Telegraph conducted on January 25 asked people which taxes, if any, should be cut.
Income tax was the most popular choice as it was picked out by 51 per cent of respondents. Fuel duty was in second place with 40 per cent closely followed by National Insurance with 37 per cent.
Majority of voters would support Jeremy Hunt cutting taxes at March Budget
A majority of voters would support the Government cutting taxes at the Budget in March, according to a new Redfield & Wilton Strategies poll for The Telegraph.
Some 22 per cent of people said they would strongly support cuts and 32 per cent said they would support cuts.
Just 11 per cent of people (eight per cent oppose, three per cent strongly oppose) said they would be against tax cuts.
A quarter of people - 26 per cent - said they would neither support not oppose tax cuts in March, the poll conducted on January 25 found.
Poll: Four in 10 want Government to cut taxes now
Just over four in 10 people believe now is the time for the Government to be lowering taxes, according to an exclusive poll for The Telegraph.
A Redfield & Wilton Strategies survey conducted on January 25, found that 43 per cent of people believe the Government should be cutting taxes now.
About one third - 32 per cent - said taxes should be maintained at current levels while 10 per cent of people said taxes should be increased.
'You do need these stations to be centrally located'
Henri Murison, chief executive of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said a London terminus for HS2 should be "centrally located" after reports the proposed line could be changed to terminate in a west London suburb.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Murison said: "I believe Manchester will still get its line but my argument would be, I'm interested in what's right for the whole of the UK. And actually, even for the north of England, not going to Euston has a number of significant disadvantages.
"Because actually people in the north of England, people in Birmingham will want to get access to central London - that's what they currently have through the normal mainline network.
"And so, for conventional services, we do have access right into central London, the same way Piccadilly station is right in the centre of Manchester. You do need these stations to be centrally located."
Labour: Scaling back HS2 would be an 'insult' to taxpayers
Labour said the idea that HS2 may not finish at Euston Station in central London is "a nonsense" and an "insult" to the taxpayer (see the post below at 08.02).
Andrew Gwynne, the shadow health minister, said the high speed rail line must "go all the way to London".
He told Sky News: "From a Manchester perspective we have heard all this before because we were also promised HS3 linking Liverpool to Hull and to Newcastle and to cities and towns across the north and the Government cut that back so you can have high speed between Liverpool and the edge of Manchester at the Yorkshire border and then you trundle across the rest of the north on slow trains.
"It sounds exactly the same. If we are going to have this infrastructure project, and it is a huge infrastructure project costing many billions of pounds, if we are going to spend many biullionsof pounds going from Manchester, Birmingham to London, you go all the way to London.
"I think it is an insult to all those communities and to the taxpayer if we cut off HS2 at the edge of London and meaning that all those benefits that you get from extra capacity, high speed trains, stop short because all you do is you get to the edge of the city and then you've still got to find your way from that depo to central London. It is a nonsense."
Labour accuses Tories of 'running down the country' ahead of Chancellor's speech
Andrew Gwynne, Labour's shadow health minister, accused the Tories of "running down the country" as he rejected the claim that some people are guilty of "talking down the country".
Asked about Jeremy Hunt suggesting people should be more optimistic about the UK (see the post below at 07.42), Mr Gwynne told Sky News: "It is all fine and well saying that people are talking down the country, I don't believe that anybody is talking down the country, it is the Tory Government that is running down the country. We have had 13 years of the same messaging.
"Tory chancellor after Tory chancellor has talked about the need for growth, the need for productivity, the need for investment over the long term, the need for infrastructure, the need for levelling up."
'Time for ministers to pull the plug on HS2'
The Taxpayers' Alliance campaign group said ministers should "pull the plug" on the entire HS2 scheme following reports it could be scaled back.
Joe Ventre, digital campaign manager for the group, said: "HS2 has gone off the rails in spectacular fashion. A scaling back of this project would be welcome, but taxpayers would still be left with an eye-watering bill.
"It's time for ministers to show some backbone and pull the plug on this sorry scheme."
HS2 'may not run to central London'
There are major question marks over the future of HS2 this morning after reports that the Government's flagship infrastructure project could be dramatically changed.
HS2, which is designed to boost transport links between London, the Midlands and the North of England, is supposed to have a central London terminus at Euston.
But The Sun has reported that soaring inflation means the high speed rail project may not run to Euston until 2038 - or that the terminus could be scrapped entirely, with trains instead stopping at a new hub at Old Oak Common in west London's suburbs.
Commuters would then have to finish their journeys into central London by using the new Elizabeth Line. The Sun also reported that officials are even considering delaying the entire project by two-to-five years.
The Government has refused to confirm that HS2 will reach Euston, with a Department for Transport spokesman saying: "The Government remains committed to delivering HS2 to Manchester, as confirmed in the autumn statement.
"As well as supporting tens of thousands of jobs, the project will connect regions across the UK, improve capacity on our railways and provide a greener option of travel."
'Long term prosperity based on British genius and British hard work'
The Chancellor will argue just after 9am that by making the most of "British genius" the Government can unlock "long term prosperity" for the UK.
Jeremy Hunt is expected to say: "Our plan for the years that follow is long term prosperity based on British genius and British hard work. [And] world-beating enterprises to make Britain the world's next Silicon Valley."
Chancellor to caution against 'declinism' and economic 'gloom'
Jeremy Hunt will use his speech this morning to caution against "declinism" and claims of economic "gloom". The Chancellor will argue that since 2010 the UK has actually grown faster than some of its main international rivals.
He is expected to say: "Declinism about Britain was wrong in the past - and it is wrong today. Some of the gloom is based on statistics that do not reflect the whole picture.
"Like every G7 country, our growth was slower in the years after the financial crisis than the years before it. But since 2010, the UK has grown faster than France, Japan and Italy. Since the Brexit referendum, we have grown at about the same rate as Germany.
"If we look further ahead, the case for declinism becomes weaker still. The UK is poised to play a leading role in Europe and across the world in the growth sectors which will define this century."
Jeremy Hunt to vow to utilise Brexit 'freedoms' to boost UK prosperity in major speech
Jeremy Hunt will deliver a major speech on the economy this morning as he vows to take advantage of the UK's Brexit "freedoms" to boost prosperity and productivity.
The Chancellor is due to deliver a keynote address at Bloomberg's European headquarters in London just after 9am as he sets the scene for the Budget in March.
Mr Hunt is expected to say that post-Brexit reforms which will be implemented in the coming months will unlock £100 billion of private investment in the UK this decade.
He is expected to say: "Confidence in the future starts with honesty about the present, and we should not shy away from the biggest challenge we face which is our poor productivity. Our plan for long term prosperity tackles that challenge head on.
"It is a plan necessitated, energised and made possible by Brexit which will succeed if it becomes a catalyst for the bold choices we need to take.
"Our plan for growth is a plan built on the freedoms which Brexit provides. It is a plan to raise productivity. It is a plan to use the proceeds of growth to support our public services at home, to support businesses in the new low carbon economy and to support democracy abroad. It is the right course for our country and the role in the world to which we aspire."
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