The forecasts produced by Britain's official budget watchdog "have gone against us," Hunt told the Sunday Telegraph newspaper in an interview.

"We don't have as much of a positive outlook as we had at the end of the Autumn Statement," he said, referring to a budget update last November.

"So it's going to be a budget where we stress the progress we've made on bringing down inflation, but also the importance of being responsible with the country's finances."

Hunt and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak are under pressure from within their Conservative Party to cut taxes in Wednesday's budget to help the party's flagging fortunes before a national election expected later this year.

Hunt told the Sunday Telegraph that a tax cut which is funded by borrowing was "not a real tax cut" but his budget would "show people a direction of travel".

(Writing by William Schomberg;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)