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LONDON: 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. 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.