Liz Truss: Tory tax cuts would 'turbocharge' Scottish economy

Liz Truss broke her silence on Thursday following days of economic turmoil followed her Chancellor's mini budget
Liz Truss broke her silence on Thursday following days of economic turmoil followed her Chancellor's mini budget

LIZ Truss has urged the Scottish Government to replicate her government's tax-slashing mini-budget - saying it could help "turbocharge" the economy north of the Border.

The comments come despite the economic chaos following Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng's financial update.

The Prime Minister broke her silence on Thursday with a series of interviews with regional BBC radio stations after she and her Chancellor were accused of "hiding".

Later in the day, she sat down with BBC Radio Scotland where she said Tory tax should be replicated in Scotland.

READ MORE: Liz Truss breaks silence on economy chaos in painful series of BBC interviews

The BBC's Glenn Campbell asked the PM: "Why are you making Scots poorer?"

Truss said her government was "taking decisive action" to battle the cost-of-living crisis but added that the issues causing inflation are global.

She said: "What we've done through our energy price guarantee, which comes in on October 1, is make sure that the typical household isn't paying more than £2500, making sure that people aren't facing tax rises in areas like National Insurance and we are also making sure that we are doing all we can to keep the economy on track."

The PM was told the pound is falling while the cost of borrowing goes up and "people get poorer under your watch".

But the Prime Minister doubled down over her Chancellor's mini-budget which slashed taxes, with big savings for higher earners.

Liz Truss is doubling down on her Chancellor's mini-budget

"What we have done as a government is done what we can to help people in this very difficult economic time," she said.

"The majority of the package we announced on Friday was about the energy price guarantee to make sure people were not facing the huge energy bills and not facing tax rises. That's what the budget was about."

Truss dodged questions on why she had confidence in her Chancellor's mini-budget despite financial markets reacting negatively since its announcement.

Asked if there is "any good reason Nicola Sturgeon should match your tax cuts for the wealthiest in Scotland", Truss said it would help "turbocharger" the Scottish economy.

She said: "What I want to do is work with Nicola Sturgeon to deal with our energy crisis and that's about making sure we're producing more home-grown energy.

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng said he will continue his 'growth plan' despite market pushback

"I'm keen to use more resources in the North Sea. Also, I want to see more nuclear power stations built across the country, including in Scotland and I am very keen to talk to Nicola Sturgeon about that because I think it will help us make sure we have long-term energy security. That, alongside wind power in Scotland, we also have nuclear power."

Truss said internationally "interest rates are rising in response to Putin's war against Ukraine".

Asked by the BBC if she is "playing into the nationalists' hands" with her financial policies, Truss said: "I am very keen to work with Nicola Sturgeon to make sure we grow the Scottish economy.

"Scotland is a country that has fantastic entrepreneurs, fantastic experts. I believe that by improving infrastructure, by reducing taxes, we can really turbocharger the Scottish economy."

Responding to the PM's comments, the First Minister tweeted: "Hard to know what to say to the suggestion I should mirror policies (tax cuts for richest) that have sunk the £, crashed the mortgage market, pushed pensions to the brink, imperilled public services & forced a Bank of England bailout. What planet is the PM living on?"

John Swinney, who was interviewed on BBC Radio Scotland after Truss's interview, said the Prime Minister was in "great difficulty" following her mini-budget.

John Swinney said Liz Truss first weeks in office had been a 'catastrophe'

"The announcements that were made on Friday were a catastrophe. They were the wrong priorities. They involve tax cuts for the very wealthy, the lifting of the cap on bankers' bonuses.

"They are rewarding people who are really, really financially comfortable and doing nothing to help those who are struggling.

"The fact these tax cuts were unfunded and irresponsible has caused enormous market anxiety and distress, leading to the almost collapse of the pensions market.

READ MORE: Chancellor insists UK Government 'sticking to growth plan' despite market turmoil

"Now that is a catastrophe - and for a Prime Minister who has been in office for a matter of weeks, it is a terrible blow to inflict on householders the length and breadth of the United Kingdom."

The Deputy First Minister said the Scottish Government is "always happy" to work with the UK Government but said there must be respect for devolution, which he says has been "substantially eroded" under the Tories.

Swinney rejected Truss's calls for more nuclear power, adding that the SNP's long-standing policy on nuclear will not change.

Swinney said he was not aware of any meeting between the Truss and Sturgeon, despite a request from the First Minister.