Pound – live: Liz Truss blames communication problems for market turmoil after ‘clear’ economic plan

Liz Truss admitted she should have “laid the ground” better about the government’s mini-budget which triggered dramatic market turmoil.

She told the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg: “I’m afraid there is an issue that interest rates are going up around the world and we do have to face that.”

“But I do want to say to people I understand their worries about what has happened this week.”

She added that she does “stand by the package” as well as how quickly it was announced, saying, “we had to act”.

Acknowledging her mistakes, she said: “But I do accept we should have laid the ground better… I have learnt from that and I will make sure that in future we do a better job of laying the ground.”

The prime minister also refused to commit to increasing welfare benefits in line with inflation, but said she is “absolutely committed” to pressing ahead with the abolition of the top rate of income tax for the rich.

Key Points

  • Kwasi Kwarteng ‘met hedge fund managers for champagne reception hours after mini-Budget’

  • Truss tells Tory rebels ‘there is no option but to change’ and rejects calls to sack chancellor

  • Liz Truss blames poor communication for market chaos after mini-Budget

  • Truss dodges repeated question about cuts to public spending

  • Liz Truss refuses to commit to benefits hike but stands by tax cut for rich

Hackers listing ‘ministers’ phone numbers for sale on website'

16:45 , Lamiat Sabin

The prime minister’s mobile phone number and those of 25 other Cabinet ministers are reportedly on sale on the internet.

The contact details of Liz Truss, chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, defence secretary Ben Wallace, foreign secretary James Cleverly and home secretary Suella Braverman were stolen by hackers, according to the Mail on Sunday.

Also, the numbers of seven members of the Labour shadow cabinet, including party leader Sir Keir Starmer, are also said to be available to buy on a US website which charges just £6.49 for a week’s access to its database, the report adds.

The disclosure is expected to raise concerns that the security of ministers may be compromised.

A government spokesman said: “We take cyber security extremely seriously and we have agencies like the National Cyber Security Centre to help businesses and individuals protect their personal information from cyber threats.

“While we don’t comment on specific incidents, the Government is aware that websites exist that aggregate details from historical data breaches, therefore much of the data on these websites is old and incorrect.

“Ministers receive regular security briefings and advice, including advice on protecting their personal data and mitigating cyber threats.”

Mordaunt says Queen’s pledge was ‘shining gift to the world’

16:31 , Lamiat Sabin

Penny Mordaunt has paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II at the start of the Conservative Party conference before attendees stood to sing the national anthem in praise of King Charles III.

Party members in Birmingham’s International Convention Centre (ICC) stood for a minute’s silence in memory of the late monarch.

In paying tribute on stage, Ms Mordaunt described the pledge of the monarch – who died last month aged 96 – as a “shining gift to the world”.

Penny Mordaunt at the Tory conference in Birmingham (Sky News)
Penny Mordaunt at the Tory conference in Birmingham (Sky News)

Ms Mordaunt, the leader of the House of Commons, said: “It was said in the King’s death that Britain had lost its balance wheel ... the world witnessed a young woman pale with grief pledge her whole life to her nation’s service.

“Her pledge turned out to be a shining gift to the world ... her gift was calmness, confidence, courage.

“She enabled us to stay the course and she gave us a common bond and a common bond between us all, between nations, beyond politics, for prosperity, for security, for unity, for a United Kingdom.

“No words of mine can do justice to the depth of devotion to us.”

Jacob Rees-Mogg in cronyism row after business partner made peer and minister

16:15 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Jacob Rees-Mogg is caught up in a cronyism row after the partner in his investment firm was suddenly handed a peerage and made a government minister.

Dominic Johnson co-founded Somerset Capital Management with the business secretary – both making many millions from the firm, including from the pound’s plunge after the Brexit vote.

Now Mr Johnson has been appointed a minister in both the Cabinet Office and the Department for International Trade, an announcement slipped out on the government’s website revealed.

Our deputy political editor Rob Merrick has more:

Jacob Rees-Mogg in cronyism row after business partner made peer and minister

Gove says governments needs to stay true to ‘one nation’ message

15:45 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Mr Gove said that the government needed to stay true to the “one nation” message which won Boris Johnson a majority in 2019.

“The majority that Boris won in 2019 was a one-nation majority,” said Mr Gove. “People wanted Brexit but they also wanted levelling up, they wanted a Conservative government that was dedicated to improving the lives of those who aren’t necessarily traditional Conservative voters and certainly aren’t the wealthiest in society.

“We have got to stay true to that tradition and recognise that those who voted for us in 2019 wanted a compassionate one-nation government.”

Mr Gove said that Ms Truss had made the case for reversing rises for National Insurance and corporation tax during the Tory leadership contest but had made no mention of cuts to income tax.

And he added: “It is going to be very, very, very difficult to persuade people it is right to reduce welfare when we are also reducing taxes for the wealthiest.

“We need to make sure that the changes we make are in tune with the values that won the 2019 election, about looking after the most vulnerable in society.”

Mick Lynch tells Birmingham rally ‘we are in the middle of a class struggle'

15:20 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch told a rally in Birmingham that “we are in the middle of a class struggle”.

“We pay tax to support our people not to subsidise the rich. The rich should be subsidising us,” he told protesters gathered in the city centre, where the Tory conference was getting under way.

“Ordinary men and women have got to understand we are in the middle of a class struggle now.”

He also said the last six months had shown “the decadence and corruption of the ruling class” and that the Government was “acting in the interests of their people”.

To loud cheers, he said: “We’re going to change this country, we’re going to change society.”

 (PA)
(PA)

Jacob Rees-Mogg booed loudly by protestors in Birmingham

14:50 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Jacob Rees-Mogg was booed loudly by hundreds of protesters in Birmingham.

The business secretary was escorted by several police officers as he walked across Victoria Square, where demonstrators had gathered to vent their anger at the government as the Tory conference gets under way in the city.

The crowd pursued him, jeering and booing, with some shouting “Tory scum”.

Demonstrators furious at Liz Truss’s economic plan are carrying signs reading “unelected, unaccountable, unhinged” and “wages up, bills down, Tories out”.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Tory MPs told they will lose whip if they vote against Budget – as Gove refuses to say he’ll back it

14:20 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Conservative MPs who vote against the Liz Truss government’s plan for tax cuts will lose the whip, the party chairman Jake Berry has said.

Some Tory MPs are considering whether to vote with Labour to stop mini-Budget measures announced by chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, particularly the axing of the 45p top rate of income tax.

Asked on Sky News whether this would result in them losing the party whip and being suspended, Mr Berry said, “Yes” – before urging despairing MPs to unite behind Ms Truss.

Adam Forrest reports:

Tory MPs told they will lose whip if they vote against Budget

Gove says chancellor’s tax cuts is ‘worrying’ as he insists he’s not a ‘rebel leader'

13:53 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Former cabinet minister Michael Gove told the Chopper’s Politics podcast that Kwasi Kwarteng’s package of unfunded tax cuts was “worrying”.

Speaking at a live recording of the podcast at the Conservative conference in Birmingham, Mr Gove said that the scale of the £45bn giveaway was a “contributory factor” in the market chaos which followed.

“The conservative approach is to make sure we have tax cuts that can be paid for,” he said.

“My worry is that we are betting too much on tax cuts when we are borrowing to pay for them. That is not conservative in my view. My other worry is if you are going to make tax changes, a 45p cut that will benefit millionaires but not ordinary people is not the right priority at this point.”

Asked if he was now a “rebel leader”, Mr Gove replied: “No. I’m just a backbencher.”

He refused to say whether he would vote with the government on the 45p tax cut.

But asked if Ms Truss should U-turn on the measure, he replied: “Yes. I think the 40 to 45p tax cut is wrong.”

The measure was “neither the right economic nor political response to the situation we face at the moment”, he said. “If a mistake has been made the right thing to do is to acknowledge that and to correct course.”

Minister claims upside from weak pound for shops serving high-spending US tourists

13:20 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

A senior member of Liz Truss’s government has said that the fall in the value of the pound is “not all bad”, claiming it has led to a surge in US tourists coming to Britain and spending on luxury goods.

Sterling plummeted to an all-time low of $1.03 against the US dollar in the wake of last week’s poorly-received, though it has since rallied to $1.12 after the Bank of England poured £65bn in to stabilise markets.

But it remains almost 30 per cent down on its value of $1.42 in the spring of 2021 and around 35 per cent down on its pre-Brexit peak of $1.71 in 2014.

Our political editor Andrew Woodcock has more:

Minister claims upside from weak pound as US tourists spend more

Senior Tory MP says Truss needs to quickly regain public’s confidence

12:50 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Senior Conservative MP Mel Stride has said Liz Truss needs to quickly regain the confidence of the public and of the markets if she is to lead the party into the next general election.

Mr Stride, the chairman of the Commons Treasury Committee, said the party will be in “hugely difficult waters” if that does not happen.

Asked on Sky News’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme about Ms Truss’s prospects of leading the party into the election, he said: “For that to happen I think it is fair to say that we have to fairly quickly move to a place where the polls are beginning to turn around, where the markets are feeling the Government is behaving fiscally responsibly and they are gaining in confidence, the pressure on the pound is being released somewhat and bond yields are not soaring off.”

Mr Stride criticised Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget, saying: “I do think there are some very difficult optics, at the very least, around having the 45p rate (of tax) abolished and then seeking reductions, for example, in the welfare.”

Nadine Dorries accuses Liz Truss of ‘throwing Kwasi Kwarteng under bus’ over tax cuts

12:20 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Liz Truss has been accused of throwing chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng “under a bus” by saying the decision to cut income tax for the richest was made by him and not Cabinet.

Nadine Dorries, the former culture secretary who backed Ms Truss to be prime minister, criticised her remarks made on the first day of the Tory conference in Birmingham.

The plans to abolish the 45 per cent tax rate on incomes above £150,000 a year has caused anger during the cost-of-living crisis, even among some Conservative MPs.

Nadine Dorries accuses Liz Truss of ‘throwing Kwasi Kwarteng under bus’ over tax cuts

On Laura Kuenssberg’s show, Liz Truss gave a Johnsonian masterclass in the unbelievable

11:50 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

“There is just one overriding reason why the Conservative Party begins its 2022 conference with a different leader from the year before.

“And that reason is because its previous leader publicly claimed on many occasions not to have been aware of the existence of a cheese and wine party he personally attended,” Tom Peck writes.

“It’s not merely that similar behaviour adjacent to this was deemed by the Metropolitan Police to have been a criminal offence. That sort of thing you can probably ride out. The problem was that his own MPs calculated that the public had concluded that they could no longer believe a single word that exited the man’s lips, and that therefore it would be impossible for him to win a general election.”

Opinion: On Kuenssberg’s show, Truss gave a masterclass in the unbelievable

Tory party chairman says champagne reception was ‘not a get together of hedge fund managers'

11:25 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Conservative party chairman Jake Berry was questioned on the champagne reception attended by the chancellor and hedge fund managers following the announcement of the mini-budget.

Jake Berry told Sky News: “It wasn’t a get together of hedge fund managers it was Britain’s leading entrepreneurs, yes I was there.”

Polls will look ‘very different’ closer to election, says Tory chair

10:55 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Tory chair Jake Berry shrugged off huge Labour leads in recent polls, saying they would look “very different” closer to the election, most likely in 2024.

The Tory chairman also claimed it was “nonsense” to say the tax cuts are helping the rich most. Shown a Resolution Foundation graph making clear that higher earners benefitted most from the government’s plans, Mr Berry said he could not see the image .

“I would go back and say what we are doing for every household in this country is ensuring that they get a cut in their tax bill next month,” Mr Berry added.

Mr Berry did not rule out significant spending cuts on Sunday, but refused to be drawn on specific policies. “I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that the public sector should look at its expenses in the same way that every single household is doing in this country.”

Tory MPs told they will lose whip if they vote against Budget – as Gove refuses to say he’ll back it

10:35 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Conservative MPs who vote against the Liz Truss government’s plan for tax cuts will lose the whip, the party chairman Jake Berry has said.

Some Tory MPs are considering whether to vote with Labour to stop mini-Budget measures announced by chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, particularly the axing of the 45p top rate of income tax.

Asked on Sky News whether this would result in them losing the party whip and being suspended, Mr Berry said, “Yes” – before urging despairing MPs to unite behind Ms Truss.

Politics writer Adam Forrest reports:

Tory MPs told they will lose whip if they vote against Budget

Truss shifts the blame to Kwarteng for 45p top tax rate

10:15 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Liz Truss pointed the blame to her chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng when questioned about the 45p top tax rate, saying it was a “decision the chancellor made”.

Pippa Crerar, political editor of the Guardian, later commented that the awkward shift of blame to Mr Kwarteng raises questions about the relationship between the prime minister and the chancellor.

Labour’s shadow chancellor says PM fails to understand the ‘anxiety and fear’ people face

09:55 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has said the prime minister failed to understand the “anxiety and fear” felt by people facing huge increases in their mortgage repayments as a result of the government’s mini-budget.

Ms Reeves dismissed claims that the growth plan would deliver the annual 2.5% trend rate of growth chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng is aiming for.

“The prime minister just doesn’t seem to understand the anxiety and fear. This is a crisis made in Downing Street but it is ordinary working people who are paying the price,” she told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme.

“The idea that trickle-down economics is somehow going to deliver the 2.5% growth we all want to see is for the birds.

“The prime minister and the chancellor are doing some sort of mad experiment with the UK economy and trickle down economics. It has failed before and it will fail again.”

Truss must 'correct' mini-Budget mistakes, says Michael Gove

09:35 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Former cabinet minister Michael Gove told the BBC on Sunday that Ms Truss must “correct” mistakes made in the mini-Budget, saying the public were desparate for “reassurance” from the government.

Mr Gove said he was “profoundly” worried about the huge amount of borrowing to pay for tax cuts – arguing that it was “not Conservative”. He also said the abolition of the 45p tax rate was “a display of the wrong values”.

Ms Truss’s former colleague – who would not say whether he rebel over tax cuts in the Commons – added: “There was a number of mistakes made … but there is room and time to address them and correct them.”

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Truss says pensions will rise in line with inflation, but refuses to say the same for benefits

09:18 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Liz Truss said she would ensure pensions rise in line with inflation, but refused to make the same commitment for benefits and government departmental spending.

Not ruling out departmental real-term cuts, the Prime Minister told Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg on BBC One: “I’m not going to write future budgets on your show.

“I believe in outcomes rather than inputs, so I believe in what people see and what people feel.”

Not ruling out rowing back on Boris Johnson’s promise to raise benefit payments in line with inflation, she said: “This is something the Department of Work and Pensions Secretary is looking at at the moment. She will make a determination on that and we will announce that this morning.”

But she was clear pensions would rise in line with inflation, saying: “I’ve committed to the triple lock. Yes.”

Liz Truss refuses to commit to benefits hike but stands by tax cut for rich

09:05 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Prime minister Liz Truss has refused to commit to increasing welfare benefits in line with inflation, but said she is “absolutely committed” to pressing ahead with the abolition of the top rate of income tax for the rich.

Keep up with this breaking news story here:

Liz Truss refuses to commit to benefits hike but stands by tax cut for rich

Truss admits she did not check her mini-budget with the whole of her cabinet

09:04 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Liz Truss said scrapping the top rate of income tax for the nation’s highest earners was a decision made by Kwasi Kwarteng rather than being agreed by the wider cabinet.

Asked if she discussed the controversial move with the whole Cabinet, the prime minister told Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg on BBC One: “No, no we didn’t. It was a decision the chancellor made.”

Liz Truss blames poor communication for market chaos after mini-Budget

08:59 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Liz Truss has blamed poor communication for some of the market chaos which followed her chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-Budget.

But the prime minister vowed to stick by her £45bn tax cut plan, insisting she had made “the right decision” to expand government borrowing.

“I understand their worries about what has happened this week, but I stand by the package we announced and I stand by the fact that we announced it quickly,” she told BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg.

The prime minister said: “But I do accept that we should have laid the ground better. I’ve learned from that and I will make sure that in future we do a better job of laying the ground.”

Adam Forrest has more:

Liz Truss blames poor communication for market chaos after mini-Budget

Truss dodges repeated question about cuts to public spending

08:50 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Liz Truss has avoided the question posed many times by Laura Kuenssberg on BBC about whether she will cut spending on public services.

She diverted the question, saying: “I am going to make sure we get value for money for the tax-payer. I’m going to make sure we get excellent front-line services.

“My approach is to help people get through a very difficult winter.”

Truss continues to defend her financial strategy

08:48 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The prime minister continued to defend her fiscal actions, as she told BBC: “The alternative was people would be paying up to £6,500 on energy bills.

“We’re not living in a perfect world.

“Of course, we need to bring down borrowing as a proportion of GDP over a long-term plan.

“What would have been wrong is for us not to have acted.

“I’ve been honest that we should have laid the ground down better, but we have been living in a set of extreme circumstances here in the UK.”

 (PA)
(PA)

Truss says she accepts they ‘should have laid the ground out better’ on mini-budget

08:44 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Speaking on interest rates and her mini-budget on BBC this morning, the prime minister has said: “We had to act on taxation to make sure the economy didn’t slow down any further, and this is important.

“We’re trying to avoid a serious economic slowdown.

“I do want to say to people, I understand their worries about what has happened this week, I do stand by the package we announced, I stand by the fact that we announced it quickly, but I do accept that we should have laid the ground out better, and I will learn from that.”

Truss says they are preventing ‘extraordinary bills’ people were expecting

08:40 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

On the issue of household bills being supposedly capped at £2,500- a figure which experts have said the prime minister has miscalculated- Liz Truss has said “this is the bill for an average family, but what we are preventing is those extraordinary bills people were expecting.”

Speaking on BBC this morning, she said: “It was important that the government stepped in to deal with this.

“We’re not just dealing with it for six months. We’re dealing with it for two years to make sure people have that reassurance.”

Michael Gove says ‘mistakes’ were made in chancellor’s mini-budget

08:37 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Michael Gove has said there were “mistakes made” in the mini-budget announced by chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng last Friday.

Speaking to Laura Kuenssberg on BBC this morning, Mr Gove said that despite the mistakes, there is “room” for improvement to be made.

Liz Truss ‘could be gone by Christmas’ unless she backs down to ‘livid’ Tory MPs

08:30 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Liz Truss has a matter of days to row back on controversial tax and welfare cuts or face a parliamentary rebellion which could see her removed from Downing Street by Christmas, Conservative MPs have warned.

As the prime minister arrived in Birmingham for her first annual conference as leader, senior backbenchers told The Independent that MPs across the party are “livid” at suggestions she plans to renege on a promised benefit uprating to pay for tax cuts for the rich in chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-Budget.

One described the combination of austerity for the poor and giveaways for the wealthy as “electoral suicide” and confirmed Tory MPs were talking to Labour on parliamentary means of stopping it.

Andrew Woodcock and Adam Forrest report:

Truss ‘could be gone by Christmas’ unless she backs down to ‘livid’ Tory MPs

What’s coming up this Sunday

08:16 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

8.30am: Liz Truss and Rachel Reeves to appear on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg.

The Prime Minister will appear on the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg show after 8.30am on Sunday.

Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves will also appear, following a week that saw the markets react badly to the chancellor’s mini-budget.

The rest of the day has the following conferences with ministers planned:

1300: Jake Berry at Telegraph event

1345: Ben Wallace in conversation at Onward event

1500: Michael Gove at Onward event

1530: Vadym Prystaiko, James Cleverly and Ben Wallace among speakers at Conservative Friends of Ukraine event

1530: Tory Reform Group and One Nation Caucus event, speakers include Damian Green

1800: Ben Wallace at Royal British Legion reception

1800: Tom Tugendhat in conversation at Onward event

1930: Therese Coffey at Health and Care Forum reception

2030: Nadhim Zahawi at Bright Blue event

Liz Truss ‘advised King Charles to not give speech at upcoming climate summit’

07:57 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Liz Truss reportedly told King Charles to abandon his plans to attend the Cop27 climate summit next month.

Charles wanted to give a speech at the conference in Egypt but has had to put to the plans on ice after Ms Truss intervened, The Sunday Times has reported.

Ms Truss apparently put a stop to the speech during a personal audience with the King last month.

My colleague Holly Bancroft has more:

Liz Truss ‘advised King Charles to not go to upcoming climate summit’

Truss tells Tory rebels ‘there is no option but to change’ and rejects calls to sack chancellor

07:52 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Liz Truss has warned Tory rebels urging her to abandon her controversial tax cutting agenda that she will not change course, telling them “the status quo isn’t an option”.

The Prime Minister rejected calls to sack Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng after the chaos caused by his mini-budget, insisting he was doing an “excellent job” despite the turmoil on the financial markets caused by his mini-budget.

She arrived in Birmingham for the start of the annual Conservative Party conference as another opinion poll showed Labour with a big lead over the Tories.

Read more here:

Truss tells Tory rebels ‘there is no option but to change’

Kwasi Kwarteng ‘met hedge fund managers for champagne reception hours after mini-Budget’

07:50 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng reportedly met with hedge fund managers for a champagne reception just hours after his mini-Budget.

The financiers apparently egged on Mr Kwarteng to go further with his ambitious tax cutting plans at the event - sparking fears that those present could have made money from the resulting crash in the value of the pound.

Following his mini-Budget on Friday, Mr Kwarteng said there was “more to come” in an interview on a Sunday morning politics show. This hint at more cuts spooked the markets and likely contributed to the fall in the value of the pound when Asia trading opened on Monday.

My colleague Holly Bancroft has more:

Kwasi Kwarteng ‘met with hedge fund managers hours after mini-Budget’

07:43 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Good morning, welcome to our live blog where we will be following the latest updates on politics today.