Liz Truss has insisted her plan to reverse the rise in national insurance is “fair” despite it directly benefitting higher earners.
The Foreign Secretary, who is tipped to become the next prime minister on Tuesday, said “growing the economy benefits everybody” and it is “wrong” to look at everything through the “lens of redistribution”.
Ms Truss has pledged to “start cutting taxes from day one” if elected. This would include setting out plans to reverse April’s rise in national insurance and next year’s corporation tax increase from 19% to 25%.
It was put to Ms Truss on BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme that reversing the national insurance rise would see the poorest stand to gain about £7 while the wealthiest people could gain nearly £2,000.
Asked if that was fair, Ms Truss said: “The people at the top of the income distribution pay more tax. So inevitably when you cut taxes you tend to benefit people who are more likely to pay tax. Of course, there are some people who don’t pay tax at all.
“But to look at everything through the lens of redistribution I believe is wrong because what I am about is about growing the economy. And growing the economy benefits everybody.”
She added: “So far the economic debate for the past 20 years has been dominated by discussions about distribution, and what’s happened is we have had relatively low growth.”
Challenged again on whether the cut would be fair, Ms Truss said: “Yes, it is fair.”
Asked if it fair to give the wealthiest more money back, she said: “It is fair. We promised in our manifesto that we would not raise national insurance. I opposed the decision to raise it in Cabinet because it was the wrong decision.”
Ms Truss said she did not resign over the initial policy to increase national insurance because she preferred to stay “and fight my corner, because I’m not somebody who quits, I’m somebody who gets the job done”.