Liz Truss Says She Would Still Like To Cut Tax For The Rich

The prime minister said there was "no shame" in ditching the plan to abolish the top tax rate after a Tory rebellion.
Liz Truss said she wanted to lower the top rate of tax but that she was not 'contemplating" such a move now.
Liz Truss said she wanted to lower the top rate of tax but that she was not 'contemplating" such a move now.
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Liz Truss has said she feels “absolutely no shame” in reversing her plan to ditch the 45 top rate of tax — and that she still thinks the rich are paying too much.

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng was forced to perform an embarrassing U-turn by scrapping his plan to abolish the 45p rate paid by the highest earners following a rebellion by Tory MPs.

But in an interview on the eve of her crunch speech to the Conservative conference in Birmingham, Truss said she did not regret the humiliating climbdown.

She told Sky News: “What I did is I took the decision very rapidly on the 45p rate that it was becoming a distraction from the core policies we were delivering.

“Core policies on the energy price guarantee, on keeping taxes low during the economic slow down, those were the priorities. Frankly the 45p wasn’t a priority policy and I listened to people.

“I think there’s absolutely no shame in a leader listening to people and responding and that’s the kind of person I am.

“I’ve been totally honest and upfront with people that everything I have done as prime minister is focused on helping people get through what is a very difficult winter and very difficult circumstances and putting our country on a stronger footing for the future.”

In a separate interview with the BBC, Truss said she wanted to see the “higher rate lower” because she wanted the UK to be a “competitive country”.

But she admitted she was “not contemplating that now”.

“I have listened to feedback, I want to take people with me.”

Truss is also facing a rebellion by MPs who want her to increase benefits in line with inflation — currently running at 9.9 per cent — a key promise made under her predecessor Boris Johnson.

Former leadership rival Penny Mordaunt, who is now the leader of the House of Commons, broke ranks to say benefits should rise in line with inflation and was followed by other senior Tories including Grant Shapps and Damian Green.

Mordaunt told Times Radio: “I’ve always supported — whether it’s pensions, whether it’s our welfare system — keeping pace with inflation. It makes sense to do so. That’s what I voted for before.

“We want to make sure that people are looked after and that people can pay their bills. We are not about trying to help people with one hand and take away with another.”

Truss has said the decision on benefits would be made in “due course” and denied she was “ambivalent” on the issue.

“I’m not ambivalent, I am focused on the issue at hand which has been sorting out the energy crisis, making sure we’re putting the UK on a firm footing, making sure we’re getting our economy growing, that’s what I’ve been focused on,” she told Sky News.


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