July 25, 2019 / 12:14 PM / a month ago

UK PM Johnson says spending pledges modest 'so far'

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s new Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who made more than 30 billion pounds ($37 billion) worth of spending commitments during his leadership campaign, said on Thursday his pledges had been modest “so far”.

Johnson has said that spending could be financed using the 27 billion pound “fiscal headroom”, an amount of extra borrowing possible without breaking a budget deficit cap of 2% of GDP introduced by former finance minister Philip Hammond.

Hammond has repeatedly warned that if Britain leaves the European Union without a deal, that money would be used up to cushion the impact.

Asked by a lawmaker in parliament if his spending pledges meant he was a fantasist, Johnson said: “The spending pledges I have made have been modest,” before quipping: “So far.”

“They are well within the fiscal headroom this country currently enjoys and it is about time that money was spent,” he added.

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, editing by David Milliken

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