Praise from Welsh Secretary as Truss describes opponents as an ‘anti-growth coalition’
The Welsh Secretary has praised the Prime Minister’s speech on the final day of a fractious Conservative Party conference in Birmingham.
Swindon MP Sir Robert Buckland described Liz Truss’s speech as “full of substance “and praised how she handled a small demonstration from protestors in the hall.
Unlike previous Conservative governments, the Truss Government will be “consistent” and have a benefits system that is a “hand up not a handout,” Sir Robert said..
Speaking to the PA news agency after the Prime Minister’s keynote speech, he said: “The whole point about the growth agenda is that we are growing the economy not just to allow people to keep more of their own income and be more prosperous but to pay for public services and to pay for the benefits system.
“That’s what we are focused on.”
Referring to the controversy about whether the government will break a pledge to uprate benefits in line with inflation, he said: “A lot of benefits are rising with inflation anyway. We are going to look at the figures through the autumn and see what the overall figures are.
“Unlike previous Conservative governments, we will be consistent to our mission… not just to help those who succeed but to help those who genuinely can’t help themselves and have a benefits system that is a hand up not a handout.”
Sir Robert added Liz Truss’s speech was “packed full of substance”, adding: “In that intervention we saw from some protesters, it made her point very eloquently.
“She is a growth-focused prime minister who is facing a coalition of people who are obstacles to growth, who don’t want that growth.”
Enemies of enterprise
During her first speech as Conservative Leader, Ms Truss launched a blistering attack on what she called the “anti-growth coalition”, a group of “enemies of enterprise” in which she included the protesters who disrupted her Tory conference speech.
She railed against those she accused of trying to hold back her pro-growth agenda, including Labour, “militant” unions, “Brexit deniers,” Extinction Rebellion and “some of the people we had in the hall earlier”.
Downing Street did not rule out that Jamie Oliver and independent think tanks were also part of the list of enemies.
Ms Truss was accused by some of those on the list of using her rant to obscure the real reasons for years of low growth.
She also accused her enemies of preferring to “talk on Twitter” than take tough decisions, and of taxiing “from north London townhouses to the BBC studio to dismiss anyone challenging the status quo”.
The Prime Minister told the packed hall: “I will not allow the anti-growth coalition to hold us back.
“Labour, the Lib Dems, the SNP, the militant unions, the vested interests dressed up as think tanks, the talking heads, the Brexit deniers, Extinction Rebellion and some of the people we had in the hall earlier.
“The fact is they prefer protesting to doing. They prefer talking on Twitter to taking tough decisions.
“They taxi from north London townhouses to the BBC studio to dismiss anyone challenging the status quo.
“From broadcast to podcast, they peddle the same old answers.
“It’s always more taxes, more regulation and more meddling.
“Wrong, wrong, wrong.”
Ms Truss accused Labour leader Keir Starmer of wanting to “put extra taxes on the companies we need to invest in our energy security,” Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford in Wales of cancelling road-building projects, and Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of refusing to build new nuclear power stations.
In response, Ms Sturgeon tweeted: “Ranting about an imaginary ‘anti growth coalition’ is just an attempt to obscure the hard reality that the biggest brake on UK growth is Brexit – and that’s on the Tories.”
In her speech, Ms Truss asked: “Have these people ever seen tax rises they don’t like or an industry they don’t want to control?”
“They don’t understand British people” because “they don’t face the same challenges as normal working people”, she claimed, adding that “their friends on the hard left tend to be the ones behind” strikes and protests.
The Prime Minister went on to declare that she is on the side of workers and commuters.
“The anti-growth coalition think the people who stick themselves to trains, roads and buildings are heroes.
“I say the real heroes are those who go to work, take responsibility and aspire to a better life for themselves and their families.
“And I am on their side.”
Following her speech, the under-pressure pound fell against the US dollar.
Sterling had initially hit a three-week high against the dollar in early session trading, but soon slipped back amid ongoing fears over the Government’s credibility and edged further lower, down nearly 1% at 1.136 US dollars, following the conference speech.
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