I’m still in favour of lower tax for high earners, says Liz Trusson October 4, 2022 at 12:38 pm

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But Liz Truss says she is not currently contemplating trying again to get rid of the 45p tax rate.

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Liz Truss has said she is still in favour of lowering tax for the highest earners although it is not something she is currently contemplating.

It comes after the PM was forced to U-turn on her plan to scrap the 45p tax rate for those paid over £150,000.

Speaking to the BBC’s Chris Mason, Ms Truss said her priority was making sure people could “get through the winter”.

She also denied her first weeks in office had been a disaster, saying she had “acted decisively” on energy bills.

Ms Truss also pointed to her decisions to reverse a rise in National Insurance and scrap a planned increase to corporation tax.

Overall her tax cuts are estimated to cost £43bn, and the government is under pressure to show how it will pay for the changes.

There have been suggestions that the government would increase benefits in line with earnings, which are rising by around 5%, rather than inflation which is at around 10%.

One of her cabinet ministers Penny Mordaunt has argued it “makes sense” to increase benefits in line with inflation because it would ensure people could pay their bills – however, Ms Truss said she had “not yet taken a decision”.

The prime minister had also hoped to lower taxes for the highest earners in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but a backlash from her own MPs forced her and her chancellor into a U-turn.

Despite having to ditch the policy, Ms Truss told the BBC she still believes in the principle, saying: “I would like to see the higher rate lower, I want us to be a competitive country.”

Explaining her U-turn, she said she had “listened to feedback”.

“Fundamentally if people are concern about something that was a distraction from the major policies – like the energy price guarantee, like keeping taxes low, like getting the economy moving – I felt it was wrong to allow that distraction to continue.”

Asked if she might in the future try again to scrap the 45p tax rate, Ms Truss said: “I’m not contemplating that now.”

The interview comes the day before the prime minister is due to make her big speech to the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham.

Asked if she was concerned about opinion polls which have shown a slump in popularity for the Conservatives, Ms Truss said: “What I care about is doing the right thing by the British people.”

She said she was “taking the right short-term decisions to help struggling families get through this winter, but also the right long-term decisions to put Britain on track to success to make sure that we’ve got that low-tax high-wage economy”.

“I never pretended this would be easy,” she said, adding that the country was facing “very difficult global headwinds” citing the war in Ukraine.

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