Hammond hints at tax rises and end to austerity

Chancellor calls his role in election campaign ‘not the one I would have liked

Mr Hammond said he would not agree to a deal that would "destroy" Britain. British finance minister Philip Hammond said he was "not deaf" to signs of weariness among voters about the country's near decade-long grip on public spending which has come under renewed criticism after a deadly fire in a London tower block.

In the past few days, the softly spoken Hammond, whose future as Chancellor seemed to hang in the balance before May lost her Conservative party's majority in this month's vote, has made clear the silence he kept during the campaign had ended.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said during a television interview on Sunday that "my role in the election campaign was not the one I would have liked it to be".

Pressed on whether the government would have to change direction, particularly if it does a deal with the DUP which is opposed to cuts to the winter fuel allowance and the end of the triple lock on pensions, he replied: "We will look at all these things".

"We have looked, obviously, at those recommendations and what has happened to them".

Mr Hammond said that while there were austerity policies that had already been legislated for, the government also had a set of "proposals that we will now have to look at again in the light of the general election result".

Opposition Labour party leader Corbyn attacked the government's tight controls on spending ahead of the election which saw Prime Minister Theresa May lose her parliamentary majority.

Asked on BBC TV whether he would be prepared to increase taxes to rein in the country's fiscal deficit, he said: "Well, we've never said we won't raise some taxes".

Hammond has no direct part in Brexit talks which begin in Brussels on Monday but his new confidence means he is likely to press May and other ministers to prioritise the economy in the complicated negotiations for Britain's European Union departure.

Days after a suggestion from French President Emmanuel Macron that Britain could still choose to remain, Davis said there would be no backtracking from Prime Minister Theresa May's plan to deliver on Brexit, for which Britons voted in a referendum nearly a year ago.

"Leaving gives us the opportunity to forge a bright new future for the United Kingdom - one where we are free to control our borders, pass our own laws and do what independent sovereign countries do".

Appearing on same program, Labour's Brexit spokesman Sir Keir Starmer said Britain woulc definitely leave the European Union, and that doind so would prevent it continuing as a full member of the single market.

"It's a statement of common sense that if we are going to radically change the way we work together, we need to get there via a slope, not a cliff edge".

Prime Minister Theresa May has repeatedly insisted the Government is prepared to walk away from the talks, claiming no deal is better than a bad deal.

The government has previously said it will not stay in the EU-wide single market, as this would mean accepting the free movement of workers, and it wants a free trade deal to be agreed instead.

"She's got no mandate here and she's got no authority overseas and the negotiation starts tomorrow". They say they will also use visual elements like tattoos and scars, in the painstaking process.

Squaring that circle might be the political challenge of our generation.

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