UK delays highly-anticipated fiscal statement to Nov. 17

British Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt exits Number 10 Downing Street on the day of a cabinet meeting, in London, Britain, October 26, 2022. REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

LONDON, Oct 26 (Reuters) - The British government delayed the announcement of its plan to repair the country's public finances by more than two weeks to Nov. 17, saying on Wednesday it wanted to ensure the programme reflected the latest and most accurate economic forecasts.

"Our number one priority is economic stability and restoring confidence that the United Kingdom is a country that pays its way," said Jeremy Hunt, who was retained as finance minister by new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Tuesday.

Hunt also said the fiscal plan would now be a "full autumn statement". read more

The plan, which was previously scheduled for Oct. 31, will show debt falling over the medium term, Hunt said.

Hunt said he had discussed delaying the fiscal announcement with Bank of England (BoE) Governor Andrew Bailey and that the central bank chief had "understood" the reasons behind the decision.

The BoE is expected to set out its interest rate decision on Nov. 3.

"I'm willing to make choices that are politically embarrassing if they're the right thing to do for the country, if they're in the national interest," Hunt said.

"We have a new prime minister, the prospect of much longer term stability for the economy and the country. In that context, a short two-and-a-half-week delay is the best way we will make sure that it is the right decisions we take."

Reporting by William James, writing by Muvija M; Editing by Sachin Ravikumar

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.