What can Jeremy Hunt do with his £13bn headroom in the autumn statement?

Chancellor could try to win votes with a tax giveaway, but seems unlikely to improve the polls or the economy

An economy going nowhere. Limited financial firepower. Polls suggesting the Conservative party on course for a wipeout at the upcoming general election. Tory MPs clamouring for tax cuts. Jeremy Hunt is under real pressure to deliver a gamechanging autumn statement on Wednesday. Rarely has a chancellor been so poorly positioned to do so.

Hunt has been at the Treasury for just over a year but by the standards of the current parliament that makes him a veteran. He is the fifth chancellor since 2019 and three of his predecessors – Sajid Javid, Nadhim Zahawi and Kwasi Kwarteng – were so short-lived in office that they failed to deliver a single budget between them.

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