GB-Truss admits communication errors but stays the course

(With new quotes and context)

by Elizabeth Piper and Andrew MacAskill

BIRMINGHAM, England, Oct 2 (Reuters) – Britain’s Prime Minister Liz Truss on Sunday tried to reassure her party and public opinion by admitting she should have “prepared the ground” better before unveiling the plan. economy that caused the pound sterling to fall and government bond yields to soar.

On the first day of the annual conference of the Conservative Party, from which she comes, Liz Truss, appointed head of government less than a month ago, also tried to convince the British that she would come to their aid during a winter which promises to be difficult, and beyond.

But she did not call into question the “growth plan” presented on September 23, much criticized by economists and investors alike for its lack of precision on the financing of the massive tax relief it provides.

On the contrary, she assured that this plan was the right one by suggesting that the critics had not taken the measure of the gravity of the country’s problems.

“I understand their concerns about what happened this week,” she told the BBC.

“I take responsibility for the plan we announced and I take responsibility for having announced it quickly because we had to act, but I admit that we should have prepared the ground better,” she added.

The pound has regained ground in recent days after the Bank of England (BoE) announced measures to ease financial market tensions, but yields on “gilts”, British government bonds, remain very high and some investors believe that the Truss government will have great difficulty restoring its credibility.

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The task of Liz Truss is all the more delicate as her project is also criticized within the conservative camp, in particular with regard to the abolition of the marginal rate of income tax, fixed for the moment at 45%.

Some conservatives fear being seen again as “the party of the bad guys” because they cut taxes on the wealthy while doing little to bolster the purchasing power of the most vulnerable.

An argument that Liz Truss rejected on Sunday, expressing her support for the abolition of the marginal rate even if she specified that this proposal was an initiative of her Minister of Finance, Kwasi Kwarteng.

“No, we did not, it was a decision that was taken by the Chancellor”, she answered the question of whether she had informed all members of the government on this point beforehand. clear ahead of Kwasi Kwarteng’s speech in Parliament.

The Prime Minister assured that she was not afraid to take unpopular decisions to promote economic growth.

“What concerns me is the success of our country, to allow our country to succeed,” she said. “I really believe that politics has focused too much on appearance, on how things are perceived.”

But she seemed in difficulty in the face of questions from the BBC journalist on the possible financing of the abolition of certain taxes by a reduction in credits for public services.

Asked at least four times about this, she replied: “I will make sure that the taxpayer gets his money’s worth but I am very, very determined to ensure that we have excellent first-class public services.” (Report Elizabeth Piper and Andrew MacAskill, French version Marc Angrand)

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