Liz Truss has defended Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget saying “urgent action” was needed to protect the country from rising energy bills and to get the economy growing.
In her first public comments since Mr Kwarteng’s statement plunged the financial markets into turmoil, the Prime Minister told BBC Radio Leeds: “We had to take urgent action to get our economy growing, get Britain moving and also deal with inflation.
“Of course that means taking controversial decision but I am prepared to do that as Prime Minister because what is important to me is that we get our economy moving, we make sure that people are able to get through this winter and we are prepared to do what it takes to make that happen.”
Ms Truss, who succeeded Boris Johnson after a bruising Tory leadership race, broke her silence on the economy after days of Mr Kwarteng fronting the UK Government’s response.
Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng
During a series of interviews with provincial radio stations in England, the Prime Minister stressed that the measures announced in the Chancellor’s mini-budget last week would take time to have an effect.
She said that the Chancellor was working “very, very closely” with the Governor of the Bank of England.
“We are facing very difficult economic times. We are facing that on a global level,” she said.
“Of course lots of measures we have announced won’t happen overnight. We won’t see growth come through overnight.
“What is important is that we are putting this country on a better trajectory for the long term.”
Ms Truss later said it was “really important” the Government “took action quickly” to “reduce the tax burden and get the economy going”.
The Prime Minister told BBC Radio Norfolk: “Of course there are elements of controversy as there always are, but my priority was making sure that we were supporting the British people in what is going to be a very difficult winter and a difficult time.”
Asked about the criticism of the mini-budget, Liz Truss told BBC Radio Norfolk: “As Prime Minister I have to do what I believe is right for the country and what’s going to help move our country forward, and of course there are many people with many different opinions, but what I think nobody is arguing with is that we had to take action to deal with what is a very, very difficult economic situation and this situation has been caused by Putin’s appalling war in Ukraine.
“That has pushed up energy prices , we are still facing the aftermath of the Covid crisis, it’s important that the UK is on the front foot, that we are pulling all the levers we can to drive economic growth.”