Tory MPs urge PM to explain policies on benefits and social care amid ongoing uncertainty
Liz Truss has faced pleas from the Tory benches to explain her policies on benefits and social care amid ongoing uncertainty.
Concerns were raised about the lack of confidence in the Prime Minister (pictured) during a debate on the economy taking place days after Chancellor Jeremy Hunt reversed almost all the tax cuts announced by his predecessor in last month’s mini-budget.
Conservative MP William Wragg (Hazel Grove) confirmed he has submitted a letter of no confidence in Ms Truss, adding he was “personally ashamed” by what occurred after the mini-budget and he could not tell his constituents that “they should support our great party”.
He told the Commons: “The lack of foresight by senior members of the Government, I cannot easily forgive.”
Mr Wragg also said he found the “trashing” of the reputations of the Bank of England and the Office for Budget Responsibility during the Tory leadership contest to be “near Maoist in its nature”.
Conservative MP Steve Double (St Austell and Newquay) also told the debate: “We really do need to know what the Prime Minister’s policies are.”
He said: “I think the one thing we should all be able to depend on is no matter how difficult times are, that the Government won’t make those decisions even harder and sadly that is what has happened as a result of the rushed mini-budget. The fallout from that has been a loss of confidence.”
Mr Double went on: “Growth is a hard-won thing, you do not achieve growth simply by saying we’re going to get growth as loudly and passionately as possible. It needs to be nurtured with the right policies that actually instil confidence in the business community.”
Mr Double welcomed the commitment to the triple-lock on pensions, adding “we must do a similar thing for benefits now, it’s absolutely vital, I believe”.
The Government has yet to confirm if benefits will increase in line with inflation rather than earnings.
Conservative former minister James Cartlidge said “we should all be very concerned” after reports that a cap on social care costs could be delayed.
He said: “Last week we had the repeal of the Health and Social Care Levy Bill… and I said that I hoped that that repeal would not lead to the cap on social care being watered down.
“As I understand, the cap may now be delayed or even not come into force at all. I think we should all be very concerned about that.”
He added: “When we repealed the Bill it’d have been better to know then that that repeal would have a material impact on social care policy?”
Opening the Labour-led debate, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said: “The Conservative mini-budget of September 23 will go down in history as the day that the British Government chose to sabotage its own economy.
“We saw the Conservatives hurl unfunded tax cuts towards the wealthiest with excessive borrowing and yet more Government debt.
“This Government set our economy ablaze and as a direct result in the last four weeks we have experienced chaos in financial markets, repeated emergency interventions from the Bank of England, warnings from the ratings agencies, and rebukes from the International Monetary Fund.”
Labour’s motion calls for the Government to publish the Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts immediately alongside Government estimates of windfall profits for the next two years from UK energy producers.
For the Government, Treasury minister Andrew Griffith said: “Our constituents are worried about what the current global turbulence in the economy means for their jobs, their prospects and their families. They want to know they can afford to get by and once the economic storm clouds have passed, which they will, that they can thrive.
“And it’s these concerns, those of our constituents, that we’re thinking about rather than – and I say this in all due seriousness to (Ms Reeves) – misrepresenting, because I think she knows better, global trends; we’re focused on protecting the most vulnerable and looking after our economy.”
Conservative MP Richard Holden (North West Durham) said Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine was driving energy prices, inflation and interest rates, adding: “And no mention of that from the Opposition, whose side are they on when it comes to these situations?”
Mr Holden was heckled by Labour MPs and Mr Griffith later acknowledged “mistakes have been made” by the Government.
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