'Do You Feel Wealthier?': Emma Barnett Clashes With Jeremy Hunt In Angry Interview

The multi-millionaire chancellor was grilled on the Today programme as inflation fell once again.
Jeremy Hunt clashed with Emma Barnett on the Today programme.
Jeremy Hunt clashed with Emma Barnett on the Today programme.
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Jeremy Hunt was asked if he personally feels “wealthier” as inflation fell once again.

Official figures showed the rate at which prices are going up dropped to 2.3% in the year to March, compared to 3.2% the previous month.

But appearing on BBC Radio 4′s Today programme this morning, the chancellor - who is a multi-millionaire and a landlord - was challenged by presenter Emma Barnett over the government’s overall economic record.

She told him: “We had Liz Truss [as prime minister] for just a few days and some of the shocks are still being felt by the more than a million who will be coming out of their mortgages this year and having to pay much higher prices.”

Hunt accepted that “mistakes were made” but insisted he and Rishi Sunak has taken steps to rectify them.

As he said the Tories had taken “difficult decisions” to get the economy on track, Barnett asked him: “Can you actually go to the British public with a straight face and say, as a member of the Conservative Party that’s been in charge for 14 years, and say ’look, we’ve done a really good job here, trust us to make your lives better?”

But Hunt said: “Since 2010, we have created more jobs in this country than nearly anywhere else in Europe. If you look at foreign direct investment, we’ve attracted more of that than anywhere in the world except the United States and China, since 2010.”

But Barnett told him that “was not bearing any relation to the messages” she was receiving from Today programme listeners struggling with the cost of living.

“You can go all the way back to 2010, but let’s get to the present day - it’s 2024,” she told him.

She added: “If you look at rents now. You are a landlord of several properties. The average rent paid by tenants in the UK rose by 9% in the year to February - the highest annual increase since records began in 2015.

“So, brilliant foreign direct investment’s come into this country since 2010, but that hardly helps the 30-year-old down the road whose rent can just go up and up and up.”

Hunt said: “Yes, life is tough. The question is, going forward in an election year the choice that people make and the reason that independent international commentators say that the UK is in a good place is because in their words the prime minister and I have taken difficult decisions that are paying off.

“The question going forward is whether a Labour government will take those difficult decisions.”

But Barnett then read out a message from a listener, who said: “My rent has just gone up £200 a month due to my landlord’s mortgage going up’.

“You know how these things work Mr Hunt, as a landlord, an an MP, as the chancellor - do you feel wealthier?”

Am irritated Hunt replied: “It’s lovely talking to you Emma, but it’s almost like you’re not listening to the answers I give.”

The presenter replied: “I am listening incredibly carefully.”

She added: “Do you feel wealthier, Mr Hunt?”

The chancellor said: “It’s nothing to do with me, it’s do with my responsibilities as chancellor.”

He insisted that living standards had gone up because of the decisions he and Rishi Sunak had taken.

But Barnett told him: “It is personal, whether you feel you have more cash in your pocket, chancellor, because you say difficult decisions have been taken and then you go on to say what those decisions are without mentioning why exactly you had to steady the ship post-Liz Truss.”


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