Sunak looking to delay tax rises - The Times

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Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Sunak outside Downing Street, in London

(Reuters) - British finance minister Rishi Sunak is expected to delay plans for tax rises until late this year, The Times newspaper reported on Friday, citing a senior government source.

The source said the upcoming budget on March 3 was the "wrong time" for tax rises and the plans were likely to be delayed until autumn at the earliest, the newspaper reported.

Sunak has also rejected calls to extend a temporary cut to taxes on property purchases, known as stamp duty, that is due to expire at the end of March, the Times reported.

A source at the finance ministry told Reuters that it never comments on tax policy.

"But the truth is that no decisions have been taken this far in advance, not least given the amount of uncertainty in the current outlook," the source added.

Analysts say the temporary stamp duty cut helped to fuel a pandemic boom in Britain's housing market as buyers sought bigger houses with gardens during the coronavirus lockdown.

Sunak launched a 4.6 billion pound ($6.2 billion) support package for businesses on Tuesday to soften an expected recession caused by a surge in COVID-19 cases that has triggered a third national lockdown.

Sunak has previously announced emergency help for the economy worth 280 billion pounds, including a massive job protection scheme that will run until the end of April.

Britain's economy looks likely to tip back into recession - shrinking in the final quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021 - following a record 25% fall in output in the first two months of lockdown last year.

(Reporting by Vishal Vivek in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Andy Bruce; Editing by Leslie Adler and Frances Kerry)