Jeremy Hunt backs low-tax Singapore-style future for Britain after Brexit

Posted On: 
30th December 2018

Britain should look to the low-tax Singapore for its future economic model after Brexit, the Foreign Secretary has declared.

The Foreign Secretary praised Singapore as one of "the most dynamic economies of the world".
Credit: 
PA

In comments that will be seen as a clear bid to woo Brexiteers, Jeremy Hunt used a column in the Mail on Sunday to praise the path followed by the city-state since it gained independence in 1965.

"While the circumstances of Britain’s departure from the EU are different, there could be few better instructions for us as we make our post-Brexit future," the top Cabinet minister said.

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Some proponents of Brexit have argued that Britain could emulate Singapore, which has internationally low rates of corporate and income tax. 

Last year, a leaked letter from Boris Johnson - then in the Cabinet - and Environment Secretary Michael Gove mooted a post-Brexit regime of "pro-competitive regulation" and an overhaul of what they called Britain's "hugely complex" tax system.

Throwing his weight behind a similar model, Mr Hunt - who will visit Singapore this week - said the country was now one of "the most dynamic economies of the world".

"The remarkable transformation of Singapore, from a tiny territory devoid of natural resources into the world’s eighth-richest country, is a reminder of the tidal shifts that can exist within the ebb and flow of the changing world order."

But the comments have already triggered a backlash from opponents of Brexit, who fear that Britain's exit from the bloc could lead to a lowering of workers' rights and consumer and environmental protections.

Best for Britain spokesperson Paul Butters said: "The Foreign Secretary wants to turn this country into a low-tax haven for business. 

"Nothing would help the elite out more, while stealing from the public purse vital funds for key services and damaging worker’s rights.

“Jeremy Hunt is frustrating the will of the people when he says things like this. No one voted for big business to rule over us.

"The public need the final say on Brexit to stop Jeremy Hunt turning Britain into a bargain basement for business."

WILLIAMSON VOWS NEW MILITARY BASES

The Foreign Secretary's comments came as his Cabinet colleague Gavin Williamson set out his own stall for the UK's post-Brexit future as a "true global player". 

The Defence Secretary told the Sunday Telegraph that Britain would look to step up its military presence overseas with two new military bases in South East Asia and the Caribbean.

"This is our biggest moment as a nation since the end of the Second World War, when we can recast ourselves in a different way, we can actually play the role on the world stage that the world expects us to play," he said.

"For so long - literally for decades - so much of our national view point has actually been coloured by a discussion about the European Union. 

"This is our moment to be that true global player once more - and I think the Armed Forces play a really important role as part of that."