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Liz Truss prepared to be an unpopular PM to boost economic growth | Politics News

Liz Truss has said she is prepared to be unpopular with her tax policy as she believes it will ultimately benefit the British economy.

Talking to Sky News’ political editor Beth Rigby in New York, the prime minister defended any tax changes her government will make at the end of the week and said she will do what she has to do to get the economy growing again.

She also dismissed concerns around government plans to borrow more instead of taxing energy companies’ profits (a windfall tax) and said she does not accept cutting taxes is unfair.

Cost of living crisis: Major tax announcement this week – follow live

Asked if she was prepared to be unpopular with her policies, Ms Truss said: “Yes, yes I am.

“What is important to me is that we grow the British economy, because that is what will ultimately deliver higher wages, more investment in towns and cities across the country, that is what will ultimately deliver more money into people’s pockets, and it will also enable us to fund the services like the National Health Service.

“And in order to get that economic growth, Britain has to be competitive.”

She said putting up taxes, placing “arbitrary taxes” on energy companies or having high corporation tax would result in a lack of investment and growth which she said “will ultimately damage opportunities in this country”.

Ms Truss defended reports that Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng will scrap caps on bankers’ bonuses during a mini budget announcement on Friday as she blamed the UK’s “relatively low growth” on a lack of capital investment.

“We haven’t had enough capital investment and yet we have one of the world’s best financial services centres,” she said.

“So what I want to see is that money in the City of London put to good use across our country – and yes, I’m prepared to do what it takes to get that money flowing.”

British Prime Minister Liz Truss looks on as she speaks to the media at the Empire State building in New York, U.S., September 20, 2022. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Pool
Image:
Liz Truss spoke to Beth Rigby at the Empire State Building before meeting world leaders at the UN General Assembly

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As she further laid the path for the bankers’ bonus announcement and tax-cutting, the PM said: “I don’t accept this argument that cutting taxes is somehow unfair.

“I mean, what we know is that people on higher incomes generally pay more tax.

“So when you reduce taxes, there is often a disproportionate benefit because those people are paying more taxes in the first place.

“We should be setting our tax policy on the basis of what is going to make our country most successful, what is going to deliver that economy that benefits everyone in this country.”

While the prime minister remained bullish about her tax policies, she did admit it will be a “tough winter”.

But she added: “I’m determined my government takes every step and strains every sinew to get the economy going, to make sure we have a successful economy and as a country we can weather this storm.

“We will get through it.”

Earlier in the day, the PM promised the UK would not bring in energy rationing this winter as some countries, such as Germany, have done.

She said the UK – and the West – “cannot jeopardise our security for the sake of cheap energy” as she pushed for other countries to commit to continue supporting Ukraine after announcing the UK will match the more than £2.3bn military aid it provided this year.

Penny Mordaunt’s endorsement is a boost for the Truss camp and a crushing blow for Rishi Sunak | Politics News

It’s the endorsement both candidates desperately wanted in the battle for the Tory crown.

And potentially the biggest vote winner, declaring for Liz Truss so far.

Penny Mordaunt was runner-up to Rishi Sunak in all but the final round of voting by MPs, before being narrowly edged out by Liz Truss in the nail-biting 11th-hour showdown.

Politics Hub: Live updates as Truss and Sunak go head-to-head once again

In round one she won 67 votes to 50 for Ms Truss, in round two it was 83-64, round three was 82-71 and round four 92-86, before she finally polled just 105 to 113 for Ms Truss.

Now, in a shock move after the bad blood between their two camps during the MPs’ voting, the former magician’s assistant has sprinkled her stardust on the Liz Truss campaign.

In a stunning piece of theatre at the Tory party’s hustings at the University of Exeter, she dramatically climbed on board the Truss bandwagon and almost certainly earned herself a cabinet job if the foreign secretary defeats Mr Sunak.

Cynics will claim Ms Mordaunt’s endorsement of Ms Truss would have carried more weight had it come earlier.

But the timing – the day ballot papers were being sent to party members – is ideal for Ms Truss and a crushing blow to Mr Sunak.

Read more from Sky News:
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Liz Truss can bask in the glow of a double boost

Inside the hall, the moment when Ms Mordaunt was introduced as Ms Truss’s cheerleader and warm-up act was pure box office.

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Penny Mordaunt has backed her rival in the Tory leadership contest against Rishi Sunak

The backers of the two leadership candidates had been kept under wraps until the hustings got underway.

Her backing for Ms Truss is a remarkable U-turn.

When her campaign to reach the top two had real momentum last month, there were claims that she was the victim of smears and dirty tricks by the Truss campaign.

Cabinet Secretary Simon Case was forced to bow to demands from Ms Mordaunt’s supporters for an inquiry after accusations that civil servants leaked information to the press to damage her chances in the race.

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As the early bookies’ favourite and the darling of party activists according to several polls, she had been attacked over her stance on trans issues and claimed her views had been misrepresented.

Later there were claims that she was lazy and “went missing” in her job as an International Trade minister, neglecting her duties because she was plotting a leadership campaign.

Aged 49, two years older than Liz Truss, Ms Mordaunt is a Royal Navy reservist and took part in a TV reality show called Splash wearing a swimsuit. Now she’s made her biggest splash yet in the Tory leadership campaign.

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss will take part in a head-to-head debate on Sky News on Thursday 4 August at 8pm hosted by Kay Burley.

If you would like to be a member of the live studio audience and be in with a chance of asking a question, please apply here.