UK must consider pace of deficit reduction - chancellor Hammond

Britain's Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, leaves after a cabinet meeting in Downing Street in central London, Britain June 27, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - New British chancellor Philip Hammond said he would consider how quickly the country should bring down its budget deficit, suggesting he would take a less aggressive approach to that of his predecessor in the job George Osborne.

“What we did in 2010 was exactly the right approach for the challenges that faced the British economy then,” Hammond told BBC radio on Thursday.

“But now we’re entering a new phase in the story of the British economy with the decision to leave the European Union, our economy will change as we go forward in the future and it will require a different set of parameters to make a success,” he said.

“Of course we’ve got to reduce the deficit further but looking at how and when and at what pace we do that, and how we measure our progress in doing that is something that we now need to consider in the light of the new circumstances that the economy is facing.”

Osborne had aimed to turn Britain’s budget deficit - which stands at about 4 percent of gross domestic product - into a surplus by 2020 although he said recently that he would no longer pursue that target given the expected hit to the economy from the country’s decision to leave the European Union.

Writing by William Schomberg; editing by Kate Holton