Former Prime Minister Liz Truss claims she was never given a ‘realistic chance’
Liz Truss has said she was never given a “realistic chance” to implement her radical tax-cutting agenda by her party and by a “powerful economic establishment”.
In her first detailed comments since she was forced out of No 10, the former prime minister said she had not appreciated the strength of the resistance she would face to her plans.
While she acknowledged that she was not “blameless” over the way her chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s infamous mini-budget catastrophically unravelled, she still believed her approach to driving growth was the right one.
Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, she said: “I am not claiming to be blameless in what happened, but fundamentally I was not given a realistic chance to enact my policies by a very powerful economic establishment, coupled with a lack of political support.
“I assumed upon entering Downing Street that my mandate would be respected and accepted. How wrong I was. While I anticipated resistance to my programme from the system, I underestimated the extent of it.
“Similarly, I underestimated the resistance inside the Conservative parliamentary party to move to a lower-tax, less-regulated economy.”
Ms Truss’s brief premiership last just 49 days as she was forced to quit after Mr Kwarteng’s £45 billion package of unfunded tax cuts panicked the markets and tanked the pound.
Ms Truss said that while her experience last autumn was “bruising for me personally”, she believed that over the medium term her policies would have increased growth and therefore brought down debt.
However she said she had not been warned of the risks to the bond markets from liability-driven investments (LDIs) – bought up by pension funds – which forced the Bank of England to step in to prevent them collapsing as the cost of government borrowing soared.
In the wake of the mini-budget, she complained that the Government was made a “scapegoat” for developments that had been brewing for some time.
“Only now can I appreciate what a delicate tinderbox we were dealing with in respect of the LDIs,” she said.
“It rapidly became a market stability issue and we had to act to stabilise the situation. While the Government was focused on investigating what had happened and taking action to remedy the situation, political and media commentators cast an immediate verdict blaming the mini-Budget.
“Regrettably, the Government became a useful scapegoat for problems that had been brewing over a number of months.”
She said that while, with the benefit of hindsight, she would have acted differently, she said that she had had to battle against the “instinctive views of the Treasury” and “the wider orthodox economic ecosystem”.
She said that her and Mr Kwarteng’s plan for growth – with its combination of tax cuts and deregulation to kickstart the stalled economy – had represented a conscious break with the “left-wards” drift of economic thinking, which was resented by some powerful forces.
“Frankly, we were also pushing water uphill. Large parts of the media and the wider public sphere had become unfamiliar with key arguments about tax and economic policy and over time sentiment had shifted left-wards,” she said.
She said the furore over her plan to abolish the 45p top rate of income tax – not least from within her own party – was illustrative of the difficulties she faced.
“Even though the measure was economically sound, I underestimated the political backlash I would face, which focused almost entirely on the ‘optics’,” she said.
While she regretted not being able to implement her plans, she said she had learned a lot from her experience, which she will expand on in the coming months.
“I have lost track of how many people have written to me or approached me since leaving Downing Street to say that they believe my diagnosis of the problems causing our country’s economic lethargy was correct and that they shared my enthusiasm for the solutions I was proposing,” she said.
“While I regret that I wasn’t able to implement my full programme, I am still optimistic for the future, with the United Kingdom now able to steer its own course as a free nation.
“By being bold and entrepreneurial and giving people and businesses the freedom they need to succeed, I believe we can turn things around. There is hope for the future.”
The Tory peer Lord Barwell, who was Theresa May’s chief of staff, was scathing about Ms Truss’s explanation for the failure of her premiership.
“You were brought down because in a matter of weeks you lost the confidence of the financial markets, the electorate and your own MPs,” he tweeted.
“During a profound cost of living crisis, you thought it was a priority to cut tax for the richest people in the country.”
For Labour, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said: “The Conservatives crashed the economy, sank the pound, put pensions in peril and made working people pay the price through higher mortgages for years to come.
“After 13 years of low growth, squeezed wages and higher taxes under the Tories, only Labour offers the leadership and ideas to fix our economy and to get it growing.”
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If she wanted to pursue a programme that was at odds with the manifesto on which her party had won the last general election, she should have called a new election immediately and sought a fresh mandate. If she thought that she could get away with imposing upon the country a programme that hadn’t been endorsed by the electorate, she was asking for trouble.
….and the reason she wasn’t given a realistic chance is that she believes that a low-tax economy will create growth when all it does it deplete public services and causes the economy to shrink whilst the infrastructure investors rely on (you know health care for keeping their employees alive, roads so they can move goods, ports that aren’t choked up, education so the work force is intelligent and dynamic, etc etc)… Investors are were and have been withdrawing from “the UK” for many reasons, the two biggest being Brexit (the UK is no longer a main entry port to the… Read more »
They will be using that photo in the future to scare kids into compliance or have her as the centrepiece of a billboard on the prom at Calais surrounded by the rest of the cult members…
Time for a virtual curse tablet…
Go to !£$%&*(+)= Perra Loca…
Interesting that the press choose ( chose) that photo. The classic megalomaniac pose, one you’ll see in any historical footage of the likes of Hitler and Mussolini whilst in broadcast mode. Yes, that’s the image we will all remember, but scary how the press have contrived that. Oh, and she was useless, but no different to any other Tory crook.
You can’t blame the Press for that Muppet. It is rare to find such a diabolical bionic clown with amazing super duracell longevity. The eyes shut mouth opens wide model was never on sale to the general public. A marionette of the stupidly evil party…
Some people take denial to an art form but she jumps the shark. Not satisfied with crashing the stock market, driving the pound to record lows and nearly destroying the entire UK pensions system she wanted total deregulation immediately. That is a breach of the EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement signed by Boris Johnson. It would have led to an immediate trade war with out biggest food supplier and the entire world treating the UK as a trading pariah for breaking treaties. Sunak has problems with REUL and a possible failure to maintain an EU “level playing field” on trade… Read more »
She never had a mandate, so never had the right to destroy pension pots like she did.
in 49 days she and kwarteng knocked 10% off my pension.cheers liz.
That we are hearing from this morally bankrupt and deranged individual, let alone the promise that we will be hearing more in the near future, is truly blood curdling. In the tiny window of opportunity she had to destroy the dream of home ownership for millions, (encouraging home buying then creating conditions where repossessions go wild is a recurring Tory theme), she surely beats all before her to claim the title of worst Prime Minister ever. This could be debated but consider that she had only 49 days.
She must realise that the only mandate she had, was from a very small percentage of the population, Tory party members elected her. He proposals were never put to Business bosses, the banks, or most importantly, the voters of the UK. We were never given a chance, not her.
She should never have been given a chance but she was given it. One struck match and she burned the house down. Chance taken.
To get any real growth in the UK economy there needs to be demand increases from at least a fair number of potential global customers. How that is achieved without access to cheap energy she has yet to explain. That cheap energy for Europe has for many years come from Russia, a source that has effectively been cut off for good. There is a well demonstrated link between economic growth and energy consumption along with a well recorded link between energy cost and growth. There is also a well demonstrated negative link between tax cuts and business investment so Liz… Read more »
She’s a delightful combination of being as thick as mince whilst being supernaturally convinced of her own brilliance. For our benefit more than hers there’s a strong case for placing a sectioning order on this one. Under no circumstances can she be allowed a comeback, not even a junior ministerial role. She was removed in the nick of time, the ensuring fiscal destruction of UK plc had she remained would have been ruinous to the living standards of millions of us.
And what does it say about our political system that she climbed right to the top and is now being supported by Telegraph to make a comeback?
And what does it say about Cardiff business school that master of disaster Patrick Minford who’s sweaty palm is all over Trussonomic fiscal theory is their professor of applied economics? Imagine sending the kids there to be taught economic theorem by that clown shoe!
I would have given her a 100 yard head start before releasing the dogs of insolvency on her…
The Greenwitch Cuckoos of Ground Zero…
The Observatory didn’t see that coming…
The Palace of Westminster morphs into Gothic Bedlam…
She refused to allow her workings out to be seen which created panic when they lead to radical ideas in short timespan. Everyone has identified the issue (low productivity, low growth, ageing population with broken social care systems) with some even suggesting effective solutions (investment into critical services such as health, transport, education) over longer time than 2 years, but that was not what Liz Truss had in mind. Would radical ideas supporting these effective solutions be supported by financial models even if workings out were shown? Or would they have kicked away at them so to have safe management… Read more »
I would tell you a joke about trickle down economics, but most of you wouldn’t get it!
Trickle down economics will never work. Tax cuts for Personal highest earners will create stagnate wealth. Will create even greater inequality, which will reduce the size of the economy again. Corporation Tax cuts wouldn’t benefit the majority as we still do not have wide company share ownership. An issued currency (should as £ sterling are loan notes written by the B of E – They are IOU notes. Printing more bank notes without a corresponding increase in the material wealth reduces the value of the currency unit: INFLATION. The wealth of an economy is proportional to the velocity of currency… Read more »
I could have sworn you just slipped a joke by the N.C humour filter…
I wonder if this will boost Reform UK, and split the right wing vote?
Remember last summer the Tory membership voted for Liz Truss and not Rishi Sunak & they going to feel aggrieved.
In the Photo LOOK AT ME says it all arrogance ignorance crashed 40 billion pushed peoples mortgages up crashed peoples pension funds blamed everybody else no apollagy when she was campaigning for P M her swagger LOOK AT ME
She did not give my pensions a ‘realistic chance’ either.
Her terrible tenure caused them to tank.