Former PM Liz Truss makes her case for growth
Liz Truss has kicked off the fightback by the Right of the Conservative Party as her Growth Commission set out a shadow Budget challenging Rishi Sunak’s Government to change course.
The Commission chaired by respected economists Douglas McWilliams and Shanker Singham demanded a series of tax and spending cuts along with reforms to make it easier to build homes and massive infrastructure projects to transform the British economy in the next two decades.
It was published as the Conservative parliamentary party was in meltdown over Rishi Sunak’s reshuffle which had largely consigned the right of the party to the backbenches.
The dramatic changes to his Government and sacking of former Home Secretary Suella Braverman have left him facing fury from a number of factions including Red Wall MPs, Brexiteers and Ms Truss’s low tax allies.
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Already Chancellor Jeremy Hunt was facing a serious challenge from more than 40 Tory MPs who have signed the tax pledge to vote against any tax rises he may bring in next week’s Autumn Statement.
The pledge has been led by former party chairman Sir Jake Berry and supporters include Ms Truss and other senior MPs including Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg and Dame Priti Patel.
Dame Priti is also leading the resistance to Mr Sunak’s plans to sign Britain up to an international agreement not to reduce Corporation Tax below 15 percent.
She has warned that the deal, which is being boycotted by the US and a number of EU countries including Ireland, will make Britain uncompetitive and undermine the gains made by leaving Brussels control with Brexit.
But today’s Growth Commission was another shot across the bows with speculation that Mr Sunak could become the third Prime Minister deposed since the 2019 election.
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The top recommendations in the Growth Commission report today were aimed at increasing economic growth from 0.1 percent to more than 20 percent per year by 2043/44.
Mr McWilliams said: “This is about long-term vision which has been lacking for years and making decisions now which will bring benefits in the future.”
These include chopping corporation tax on businesses to 19 percent this year and further down to 15 percent in the future.
They demanded that income tax be brought back to pre-pandemic levels with so-called creep-in higher rates being frozen dragging more earners into paying 40p and 45p higher rates.
They insisted that scrapping the so-called “Tourist Tax” by removing VAT on products will increase tax revenue.
They also want the government to consider investigating inheritance tax and stamp duty.
McWilliams said: “We have been told that they are damaging the economy but we need to investigate this properly.”
Added to this the Commission said that planning law needs to be looked at “as a priority” because it is holding Britain back in terms of building homes and infrastructure.
Mr Singham noted that this was particularly harmful in maintaining high energy prices which he insisted have to come down.
He said that under current planning rules a new nuclear power station “may take 20 or more years to come online whereas in other countries it could be done in five years”.
He pointed out that high energy bills not only hit households but also business costs.
The Commission also recommended that the minimum wage be held down “because it is destroying jobs” and that the government review sich pay “which has become a major problem” in terms of productivity.
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