Minister Infuriated After Journalist Compares Sunak's Tax Cuts To Liz Truss

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Laura Trott was cornered over Rishi Sunak's latest promises to cut taxes.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Laura Trott was cornered over Rishi Sunak's latest promises to cut taxes. Wiktor Szymanowicz via Getty Images

A minister looked shocked and offended when a journalist compared part of Rishi Sunak’s manifesto to Liz Truss’s policies on Tuesday.

Chief secretary to the Treasury Laura Trott spoke to the media shortly after the prime minister unveiled the Conservatives’ latest set of pledges ahead of the general election.

Channel 4 News’ Gary Gibbon asked her: “Basically all the heavy lifting for tax cuts comes from welfare cuts.”

“Yeah,” she confirmed.

“But that £12billion isn’t really explained,” the journalist pointed out.

The PM has promised his party would drop National Insurance altogether for the self-employed and increase the personal tax-free allowance for pensioners.

He has said that these tax cuts would be paid for by cracking down on tax avoidance and cutting welfare by £12billion a year by the end of the next parliament – but it’s not clear which areas will suffer as a result.

Trott replied: “Well, the prime minister made a speech before the election campaign setting out our clear plan to do that, and that will raise £12billion.”

“It’s not a real number,” Gibbon said.

“It is a real number!” The minister insisted.

The journalist hit back: “It’s a bit sort of... Liz Truss, maybe.”

Truss, Sunak’s predecessor, famously sent the markets into free fall when she unveiled £45billion worth of unfunded tax cuts with her mini-budget.

The move led to her resignation after just 45 days in No.10.

Trott looked furiously at him, paused, and then said: “No, it is absolutely not.”

“That’s a term of abuse now?” Gibbon asked.

She ignored that, and pressed on by saying the prime minister had set out how these cuts were going to work in the past.

Sunak has said he wants to tighten sickness benefit rules and stop the number of people dropping out of the workforce – something he described as a “moral mission”.

He has promised there would be an increase to mental health services, tougher assessments of people’s working abilities and stricter rules on those who do not want to take on appropriate jobs.

But, many are sceptical about such a plan. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) warned the Tories that “reductions in spending are often much harder to realise than is claimed”.