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Liz Truss endures local radio blitz and defends mini-budget despite market turmoil

The Prime Minister defended Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s measures, despite admitting the Government’s decisions have been ‘controversial’.

UK Prime Minister Liz Truss
UK Prime Minister Liz Truss
Image: Kirsty Wigglesworth

Updated Sep 29th 2022, 10:32 AM

UK PRIME MINISTER Liz Truss faced a blitz of local radio stations this morning as she defended her Government’s mini-budget, which has lead to massive turmoil in markets, saying that the measures will “get our economy moving”.

The tax-slashing mini-budget, which was unveiled by new Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng last Friday, has seen the pound drop significantly and forced the Bank of England into an emergency bond-buying programme to prevent borrowing costs from spiraling out of control.

The UK’s central bank announced yesterday that it was stepping in to buy up to £65 billion worth of government bonds – known as gilts – at an “urgent pace” after fears over the Government’s economic policies sent the pound tumbling and sparked a sell-off in the gilts market, which threatened to spark the collapse of some UK pension funds.

In her first interview this morning, Truss defended the actions of the Chancellor in the mini-budget, saying that the UK Government needed urgent action to start economic growth.

“We had to take urgent action to get our economy growing, get Britain moving and also deal with inflation,” Truss told BBC Radio Leeds.

“Of course that means taking controversial decision but I am prepared to do that as Prime Minister because what is important to me is that we get our economy moving, we make sure that people are able to get through this winter and we are prepared to do what it takes to make that happen.”

However, she did say that the measures announced by Kwarteng would take time to be implemented.

“We are facing very difficult economic times. We are facing that on a global level,” she said.

Of course lots of measures we have announced won’t happen overnight. We won’t see growth come through overnight.

“What is important is that we are putting this country on a better trajectory for the long term.”

She said the mini-budget was the “right plan”, in spite of mounting calls – including from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – for a U-turn on some of the policies announced last Friday after the pound sunk to a record low against the US dollar on Monday.

When Truss was asked by BBC Radio Nottingham whether or not her mini-budget was a “reverse Robin Hood”, she said it was “simply not true”.

“The biggest part of the package we announced is the support on energy bills, making sure that people across this country are not facing energy bills of more than £2,500 and that businesses can get through this winter,” said Truss.

“We were facing a situation where pubs were going to go out of business, where shops were going to go out of business.

“People were facing unaffordable energy bills and the package we presented in the energy statement, but also on the mini-budget last week – the biggest part of that is the help on energy.”

BBC Radio Lancashire asked Truss about the UK Government’s decision to lift the moratorium on fracking for shale gas, where fracking had previously taken place.

“We will only press ahead with fracking in areas where there is local community support for that,” said Truss.

“The UK has become dependent on global energy prices. We have seen through Vladimir Putin’s appalling war in Ukraine how energy prices have shot up and Russia has used the fact that it produces gas as a way of exerting pressure on other countries.

“We simply don’t want to be in that position so what I want to see is more home-grown energy in the UK.”

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