Politics

Truss to restate vision for Conservatives at conference fringe event

Liz Truss is to remake her case for the direction she believes the Conservative Party should take – a year after her administration began to collapse around her.

The UK’s shortest ever serving prime minister will speak at a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester on Tuesday.

A year ago, under her leadership, the conference was the scene of senior Tories undermining and challenging her authority – and came to a head when she and her chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, announced they would be scrapping a key tenet of their mini-budget.

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Less than a month later, she had resigned following a mutiny in her party and Rishi Sunak was leader of the country.

But despite her approach to markets and the country’s finances resulting in the Bank of England having to prevent pension funds from collapsing, she is going to restate her belief that she knows what direction the country should take.

She will tell attendees of the Great British Growth Rally: “We must unleash British business by cutting corporation tax. We can’t stand idly while companies like AstraZeneca move operations abroad because of our huge tax burden or small businesses shut up shop because they are drowning in red tape.”

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She will add: “So ahead of this year’s autumn statement, we must make the Conservative Party the party of business once again, by getting corporation tax back down to 19%.

“This is how we make Britain grow again. It is free businesses that will get us there, not the Treasury, not the government and not the state.

“Only free businesses can get Britain out of its 25-year economic stagnation. Only free businesses can create the economic growth and tax revenues on which our public services rely.

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“So let’s give British business more freedom by easing their tax burden – freedom to flourish, to employ, to export, to research, develop and invest in the future, and to make Britain grow again.”

Ms Truss is not the first Conservative MP to call for taxes to be cut. Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove told Sky News’ Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips he would “like to see the tax burden reduced by the next election”.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is giving a speech on Tuesday as well, and there is a chance he could make an announcement to please the party faithful ahead of the autumn financial statement next month.

Ms Truss is also going to reaffirm her backing of extracting natural gas from shale – known as fracking – as well as reducing red tape to allow for an increase in housebuilding.

She will say: “Britain must get building. The price of housing has soared out of control, making it impossible for younger people to get a foot on the housing ladder and keeping them trapped in punishing rental markets.

“There are too many politicians who say we need to build more homes and then baulk at removing one line of regulation. Newt protection or bat bridge anyone?

“If we really want houses to be built, we’ve got to incentivise it. We’ve got to give local communities the freedom to create housebuilding zones with no red tape through the offer of lower taxes. And we should reduce taxes in these areas enough so that we are building something like half a million homes a year.

“This is what conservatives are supposed to believe in: cutting red tape, lower taxes and trusting that markets will find the solutions we all want.”

Darren Jones, Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said: “Liz Truss has learned nothing, calling for the same fantasy economics that crashed the economy just 12 months ago.

“Rishi Sunak needs to come clean. Does he agree with his predecessor?

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“Anything short of a full rejection shows the prime minister is not strong enough to stand up to this extremist ideology that led to an economic catastrophe for millions of ordinary people.

“The biggest risk to the economy is another five years of the Conservatives.”

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