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New UK finance minister rules out emergency budget amid Brexit uncertainty

Incoming Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said on Thursday the U.K. Treasury would do whatever it needed to do to restore business and consumer confidence, which has taken a hit since the country voted to leave the European Union.

In an interview with Sky News, Hammond, who campaigned to remain in the EU, said the economy had "taken a shock".

"Markets, businesses and consumers were not expecting Brexit. We will take whatever measures are necessary to restore confidence," he told the broadcaster.

The chancellor, the U.K.'s equivalent of finance minister, added that he was "not anticipating" the need for an emergency budget in the near term.

New Chancellor Philip Hammond arrives at Downing Street on July 13, 2016 in London, England.
Carl Court/Getty Images
New Chancellor Philip Hammond arrives at Downing Street on July 13, 2016 in London, England.

The U.K. economy is poised to slump into recession and financial services firms had warned they might decamp to rival financial capitals such as Frankfurt and Dublin if the U.K. decided to leave the political and economic bloc.

"The number one challenge is to stabilize the economy, send signals of confidence about the future … to businesses," Hammond said. "Britain is open for business ... we are determined to maintain our outward looking stance."

He told Sky News that he believed his predecessor George Osborne had done a "fantastic job" of taking the U.K. economy "from the disastrous position we were in in 2010."

"We are immeasurably stronger today than we were six years ago," he said.

But in a clear sign that a policy shift was now afoot, Hammond told Sky News: "We'll need to reshape our approach to fit it for the new circumstances we are facing."

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