UPDATED: UK’s Hunt delays fiscal statement to Nov. 17

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LONDON, Oct 26 (Reuters) – British finance minister Jeremy Hunt delayed the government’s plan to repair the country’s public finances by more than two weeks to Nov. 17, saying on Wednesday he wanted to ensure it 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 Hunt, who was retained as finance minister by new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in his cabinet on Tuesday.

He also said the fiscal plan would now be a “full autumn statement”.

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)

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