Kwasi Kwarteng dismisses row leading to 45% tax rate U-turn as ‘a little turbulence’ in Tory conference speech– UK politics live | Politics

Kwarteng dismisses row generated by 45% tax plan as ‘a little turbulence’

Kwarteng says the plan put forward 10 days ago has caused “a little turbulence”. He goes on: “I get it,” he says. The government listened.

He was probably being ironic when he talked of “a little turbulence”, but this line makes him sound like Jacob Rees-Mogg. (See 3.57pm.)

Key events

Filters BETA

Kwasi Kwarteng’s speech – snap verdict

It is hard to think of a precedent for a chancellor delivering a party conference speech with absolutely no announcement of any kind in it. That speech was a news desert, devoid of anything new in terms of policy – or even language that move the argument into new terrain. I’m guessing, but I suspect perhaps there was an announcement pencilled in – that Liz Truss has pilfered it for her own speech on Wednesday. That would, at least, be logical; collectively they may have decided that there was no point wasting an announcement today, when the news cycle is dominated by the U-turn. The alternative – that Kwarteng just turned up with nothing to say – seems less likely.

Instead, all we got was a summary of the economic approach set out by Liz Truss during the Tory leadership campaign, and by Kwarteng in his mini-budget statement. But Kwarteng did not make it sound any more credible today than it has done in the past. He claimed the Conservative party had reversed “the story of national decline” when it came into office in 2010 – while at the same time explaining how the Truss government was having to reverse misakes made by the Tories over the past 12 years.

If the content was feeble, the delivery was even worse. Kwarteng sounded nervous, and he was rushing through it as if he could not wait to be off. He did not even seem to have worked out where the applause lines were meant to come.

Earlier I said the challenge facing Kwarteng with this speech was to show that he still has authority as a chancellor. (See 3.05pm.) It didn’t. If anything, it will have made his plight even worse.

Kwarteng has now finished.

He is getting a standing ovation – more out of sympathy, perhaps, than approval.

I will post a snap verdict shortly. But if you can’t wait, the word “dire” will do for now.

Kwarteng says: “Rather than bashing business, we are backing it.”

That is why the tax system needs to be simpler.

The government will reverse the planned increase in corporation tax, he says.

The reforms to IR35 will be reversed. They added unnecessary complexity for businesses.

He says the Tories have stood up for working people. They have delivered the lowest unemployment since the 1970s.

These are great achievements, Conservative achievements.

When the Tories came in, they were met with the full force of Labour’s economic incompetence. They reversed that national decline, he says.

Labour believes you can tax your way to growth. He says his party believes in low taxes: “We are Conservatives.”

Kwarteng says the government will deregulate in a series of areas: childcare, agriculture, immigration, planning, energy, business and financial services.

And he says the government will introduce reforms to stop strike action derailing reform.

Kwarteng pledges to review, replace or repeal retained EU law ‘holding our country back’

Kwarteng says the UK will review, replace or repeal retained EU law “holding our country back”.

Kwarteng says as business secretary he saw the role business played. He also saw how government could get in the way. Now he wants to free business from regulation.

He says the government will cut regulations in investment zones.

Today they face new challenges, Kwarteng says. He says he will act in a fiscally sustainable and responsible way.

The fiscal plan will set out how debt will fall as a percentage of GDP over the medium term, he says.

He says the Tories are “serious custodians of the public purse”. This is what separates the Tories from Labour.

Kwarteng says the UK went into the Covid crisis in a much stronger position than other countries, because of actions taken by the Conservative government in advance.

The UK has the second lowest debt in the G7, he says.

Kwarteng says this was a substantial intervention.

The price of not acting would have been higher than the price of the scheme.

As well as helping people now, the government will address the energy supply problem, so the UK can never be blackmailed again.

Kwarteng says the whole of Europe is facing a problem caused by the invasion of Ukraine.

Business groups feared mass unemployment. This was a very real prospect for the country.

So, within days of taking office, they produced one of the most significant interventions by the government ever.

He says the government’s energy plan will last two years – not just six months, like Labour’s.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button