A cabinet minister and close Liz Truss ally has argued that the Conservatives have not had a “clear run” in power over the last decade.
Appearing on ITV’s Peston programme, levelling up secretary Simon Clarke, a former top Treasury minister, said that no Conservative government “has had a clear run at events over the entire course of the last decade, it has been one crisis after another”.
Critics pointed to the fall-out from the Brexit referendum – which saw off two Tory prime ministers – as at least one self-inflicted crisis, and how tackling big events is the nature of governance.
Other disruption since the Tories came to power in 2010 includes the Cameron-Osborne austerity programme, the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
His comment appeared to be a justification for moving to an “unashamedly pro-growth policy” under the Truss premiership.
Clarke added: “What Liz is saying is that we need to accept that we may not get back to normal, that if you like, that the world is in an extraordinary state of affairs at the moment and that being so, that we just need to press on and govern, frankly, as we want to be remembered – as a government that makes things better for people.
“And clearly as secretary of state for levelling up, my focus is on life chances, and on spreading opportunity. I’m delighted that we’re moving to an unashamedly pro-growth policy.”
Clarke also admitted the government’s economic policy is not “risk-free” as he said that the Tories wanted to go back to the growth rates seen before the financial crash in 2008, when Labour was in power.
At the the mini-budget on Friday, chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng is expected to put into practice many of the tax-cutting promises made by Truss during the Tory leadership campaign.
As well as reversing the hike in national insurance contributions and scrapping a planned increase in corporation tax, which Truss has promised, it has been reported he will cut stamp duty in a further attempt to drive growth.
On plans to lift the cap on bankers’ bonuses while millions feel the squeeze of the cost-of-living crisis, Clarke also said this would help level up “because there would be more revenue for the exchequer”.