The ex work and pensions secretary and Tory MP for Tatton attacked Thursday’s speech in a blog she released on Tuesday for the Conservative Home website.
Mr Hunt’s financial strategy differed from the vision announced by previous incumbent Kwasi Kwarteng with its windfall taxes for businesses while the threshold for the 45p additional rate of tax is to be cut from £150,000 to £125,140.
Ms McVey, who served under David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson in the cabinet, said Conservative voters are being “punished” and under this direction, the party can expect defeat in the next general election.
“Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement did nothing to carve out a new conservative era of growth,” she wrote, “It was Gordon Brown-esque in its devotion to a socialist paradise of tax and spend.”
“Wails of disappointment rang out across the country from people who expected a Conservative government elected with a majority of 80 to govern as Conservatives.
“Those who thought that, after the calamity of the covid lockdowns, we could get back to free enterprise were in for a rude awakening.”
She said the change from Mr Kwarteng’s mini budget, which pledged lower taxes, was a “pendulum swing” which she called an “over reaction” despite the market trends following it which led to Liz Truss government’s downfall.
“A middle ground was needed,” Ms McVey wrote, “An acceptance of Conservative principles, with a costed plan and the accompanying narrative to reassure the markets.
“Instead, Hunt delivered his statement with a doom and gloom that would have been appropriate were the country on the brink of financial collapse. However, despite some serious challenges, things are not so dire that we had to have such excessive medicine.”
She said Britain’s national debt of 97 per cent of GDP compares favourably to France, Canada and the US stands at 115 per cent, 116 per cent and 132 per cent respectively – meaning cautious action was not so necessary.
“There are better choices for our Conservative government than hiking up taxes,” she said.
Ms McVey had previously said she would not vote for any motions of tax rises unless the controversial HS2 train line is scrapped.
Mr Hunt said of his Autumn Statement: “In the face of unprecedented global headwinds, families, pensioners, businesses, teachers, nurses and many others are worried about the future.
“So today we deliver a plan to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and rebuild our economy. Our priorities are stability, growth, and public services.”