Politics

Conservative group condemns ‘amateurism and amorality’ of Truss’s government

A leading Tory group has condemned the “amateurism and amorality” of Liz Truss’s government, in a blow to her hopes of regaining authority.

Bright Blue, a thinktank for party modernisers, hit out at the prime minister within minutes of her “growth, growth, growth” speech to close the Conservative conference.

It praised her “tenacity”, but warned the skeleton plan to kickstart the stagnant economy would “do very little” for the voters Boris Johnson promised to help.

Better education and getting more people into work – not an obsession with tax cuts – was the route to achieving the hoped-for 2.5 per cent annual growth rate, the thinktank said.

“She really must listen to her parliamentary colleagues and the wider public who are clearly telling her that the amateurism and amorality of her government in its initial weeks must stop,” said Ryan Shorthouse, Bright Blue’s chief executive.

He pointed to the “mandate from the 2019 election” to revive “people and places who have for a long time felt forgotten”, warning: “Economic growth is essential, but so is redistribution, if we are to truly level up this country.

“The focus should be on raising GDP per capita, embarrassingly lower than many other large economies, not just GDP.”

The criticism comes after Ms Truss lashed out at an alleged focus on redistribution by governments of both parties, telling the Tory faithful: “We need to grow the pie so that everyone gets a bigger slice.

“That is why I am determined to take a new approach and break us out of this high-tax, low-growth cycle. And that is what our plan is about.”

In the speech, the prime minister set out the aims of looming “supply side” reforms to deregulate planning, housebuilding, childcare, infrastructure spending and immigration, but gave no details.

She said big changes are needed because “decisions take too long”, infrastructure is “delayed for years and years” and “houses are not built”.

“We have become averse as a nation to doing things differently,” Ms Truss argued, adding: “I love business. I love enterprise.”

But Mr Shorthouse added: “She needs to move beyond first principles to detailed plans very quickly if a Conservative government is to grow the economy, level up the country and get the public finances under control. A lot of livelihoods are now at risk.”

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