Transcript of Prime Minister Liz Truss U-turn press conference
Liz Truss delivered an emergency press conference on Friday 14th October 2022, less than hours after dismissing her chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng because of the market fallout over the mini budget. At just over 8 minutes, it was one of shortest prime ministerial press conferences on record. Truss took only four questions from the media. She started unconventionally with the usually sympathetic Telegraph and Sun, and left out Beth Rigby from Sky News.
Here’s the transcript.
My conviction that this country needs to go for growth is rooted in my personal experience.
I know what it’s like to grow up somewhere that isn’t feeling the benefits of growth.
I saw what that meant, and I’m not prepared to accept that for our country.
I want a country where people can get good jobs, new businesses can set up and families can afford an even better life.
That’s why, from day one, I’ve been ambitious for growth.
Since the 2008 financial crisis, the potential of this great country has been held back by persistently weak growth.
I want to deliver a low tax, high wage, high growth economy.
It’s what I was elected by my party to do.
That mission remains. People across this country rightly want stability.
That’s why we acted to support businesses and households with their energy costs this winter.
It’s also the case that global economic conditions are worsening due to the continuation of Putin’s appalling war in Ukraine, and on top of this debt was amassed helping people through the Covid pandemic.
But it is clear that parts of our mini budget went further and faster than markets were expecting.
So the way we are delivering our mission right now has to change.
We need to act now to reassure the markets of our fiscal discipline.
I have therefore decided to keep the increase in corporation tax that was planned by the previous government.
This will raise £18 billion per year.
It will act as a down payment on our full medium term fiscal plan, which will be accompanied by a forecast from the independent OBR.
We will do whatever is necessary to ensure debt is falling as a share of the economy.
In the medium term, we will control the size of the state to ensure that taxpayers money is always well spent.
Our public sector will become more efficient to deliver world class services for the British people, and spending will grow less rapidly than previously planned.
I met the former chancellor earlier today.
I was incredibly sorry to lose him. He is a great friend and he shares my vision to set this country on the path to growth.
Today I have asked Jeremy Hunt to become the new chancellor.
He’s one of the most experienced and widely respected government ministers and parliamentarians and he shares my convictions and ambitions for our country.
He will deliver the medium term fiscal plan at the end of this month.
He will see through the support we are providing to help families and businesses, including our energy price guarantee that’s protecting people from higher energy bills this winter and he will drive our mission to go for growth, including taking forward the supply side reforms that our country needs.
We owe it to the next generation to improve our economic performance, to deliver higher wages, new jobs and better public services and to ease the burden of debt.
I have acted decisively today because my priority is ensuring our country’s economic stability.
As prime minister, I will always act in the natural interest.
This is always my first consideration.
I want to be honest.
This is difficult, but we will get through this storm and we will deliver the strong and sustained growth that can transform the prosperity of our country for generations to come.
I’ll now take questions.
Can I start with Ben Riley Smith from The Telegraph?”
Ben Riley Smith (The Telegraph) [00:04:17]
“Thank you Prime Minister. Clearly a difficult day.
Can you explain to the public why you think you should remain as prime minister, given you junked a key tax cut that led you to be elected and got rid of your chancellor.”
Liz Truss [00:04:29]
“I’m absolutely determined to see through what I’ve promised.
To deliver a higher growth, more prosperous United Kingdom.
To see us through the storm we face.
We’ve already delivered the energy price guarantee, making sure people aren’t facing huge bills this winter.
But it was right, in the face of the issues that we had, that I acted decisively to ensure that we have economic stability.
Because that is vitally important to people and businesses right across our country.
Harry Cole (The Sun) [00:05:13]
“Thank you Prime Minister.
Harry Cole for The Sun.
You’re the one that wanted to cut 45p rate.
You stood on a platform to win the leadership of the Conservative Party on a platform to cut corporation tax.
You and the Chancellor, the ex Chancellor, designed this budget together, in lockstep we’re told, at times in secret the two of you.
He has to go because of the fallout from it.
How come you get to stay?”
Liz Truss [00:05:37]
“Well my priority is making sure we deliver the economic stability that our country needs.
That’s why I had to take the difficult decisions I’ve taken today.
The mission remains the same.
We do need to raise our country’s economic growth levels.
We do need to deliver for people across the country.
We’re committed to delivering on the energy price guarantee which people are already seeing in their bills.
But ultimately we also need to make sure that we have economic stability and I have to act in the national interest as Prime Minister.
Chris Mason, the BBC?”
Chris Mason (The BBC) [00:06:25]
“Excuse the bluntness Prime Minister.
But given everything that has happened, what credibility do you have to continue governing?”
Liz Truss [00:06:34]
“What I have done today is made sure that we have economic stability in this country.
Jeremy Hunt as chancellor is somebody who shares my desire for a high growth, low tax economy.
But we recognise because of current market issues, we have to deliver the mission in a different way, and that’s what we are absolutely committed to do.
Achieving that stability at what is a very difficult time globally.
Robert Peston (ITV) [00:07:16]
“Prime Minister, sorry, the former Tory chancellor Philip Hammond, has just said that you have totally trashed the Tory party’s election winning reputation for economic competence.
Will you apologise to your party?”
Liz Truss [00:07:34]
“Well I am determined to deliver on what I set out when I campaigned to be party leader.
We need to have a high growth economy.
But we have to recognise that we are facing very difficult issues as a country.
And it was right, in the national interest, that I made the decisions I’ve made today to restore that economic stability so we can deliver, first of all, helping people through this winter and next winter with their energy bills, but also making sure that our country is on the long term footing for sustainable economic growth.
Thank you very much everybody.”