31 Jan 2024The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned Chancellor Jeremy Hunt that he cannot afford to cut taxes in his March Budget. It said preserving public services and investment implied higher spending than was reflected in the government's current plans. Mr Hunt has hinted heavily about more tax cuts in his upcoming Budget in March and says they could boost growth. However, the IMF says funding the transition to net zero and protecting the UK's public services would need higher spending in the medium term than current government plans. Pierre Olivier-Gourinchas, IMF Chief Economist, said: 'There is a need to put in place medium-term fiscal plans that will accommodate a very significant increase in spending pressures. 'In the case of the UK, you might think of spending on healthcare and modernising the NHS; spending on social care; on education; you might think about critical public investment to address the climate transition; but also to boost growth. 'In that context we would advise against further discretionary tax cuts as envisioned and discussed now.'