U.K.’s New Finance Minister: We Will Do Whatever is Necessary After Brexit

Britain's new finance minister, Philip Hammond, said on Thursday that he would do whatever is necessary to steady the economy and restore confidence after the Brexit vote.

By Costas Pitas and Kate Holton

LONDON, July 14 – Britain’s new finance minister, Philip Hammond, said on Thursday that he would do whatever is necessary to steady the economy and restore confidence after the Brexit vote.

Hammond, 60, was appointed by Britain’s new Prime Minister Theresa May to run the world’s fifth largest economy. He was previously Foreign Secretary.

In his first public comments as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Hammond praised Bank of England Governor Mark Carney and said he would take steps carefully considered decisions over the summer.

“Markets do need signals of reassurance, they need to know that we will do whatever is necessary to keep the economy on track,” Hammond told ITV.

“We’re working together across that referendum divide in the party to deliver the best possible deal for Britain. I think confidence will gradually begin to return and people will start to see the shape of the future that we’re mapping out,” he said.

The Brexit vote thrust Britain into its worst political crisis in modern times, with both major parties in turmoil and investors left guessing about how the future relationship with the EU will look.

The Bank of England is set on Thursday to cut interest rates for the first time in more than seven years.

Hammond said that the government had yet to take any decisions on taxation and declined to say he would commit to plans made by his predecessor in the wake of the referendum, including proposals to further cut corporation tax.

“I’m not going to set out what my plans will be here on TV this morning,” Hammond told BBC TV.

“I’m going to sit down with the key figures in the U.K. economy, like the governor of the Bank of England, look at the situation we face, look at the projections forward and make some carefully considered decisions over the summer,” he said.

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