Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng to meet OBR chief after week of turmoil – UK politics live | Politics

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The “detail” of the growth plan made it impossible for an independent watchdog to assess it before the government published it, a minister has suggested.

Asked by BBC Breakfast why the OBR was not given the opportunity to make an assessment of the plan, Treasury minister Andrew Griffith said there was a “lot of detail” in the document.

He added:

This growth plan is full of detail about how this government is going to grow the economy. 40 pages.

Details of infrastructure plans that have been long held up that we are going to crack through, detail about how we are going to bring forward the new clean energy revolution.

It is for the OBR to ultimately decide how they reflect that in their plans.

Pressed about how many pages were in a normal budget document and how quickly the OBR could turn around an analysis of those plans, Griffith said:

To be honest, I am not going to answer that, I just don’t know. It is quite chunky.

The prime minister and chancellor have lost the faith of the markets and the public and will never get it back, Labor has said.

Asked whether Liz Truss’s meeting with the Office for Budget Responsibility will reassure markets, shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds told Sky News:

It’s a bit late for that now, isn’t it?

He added:

I cannot stress how angry people should be at this government for what is without question one of the biggest unforced errors in policy-making in this country’s history.

Reynolds claimed that people and businesses are looking at the “entire approach” of the government and “saying we have no faith in these institutions”. “I will be frank,” he said. “I don’t think either the Prime Minister or the Chancellor will ever get that back.”

Early Truss comments on scrapping benefits stoke fears of further cuts

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Pippa Believe

Liz Truss has previously suggested universal benefits such as the state pension should be scrapped because of the “huge expense” to taxpayers of “recycling” their money through the system – prompting fears she could go further still with her plans to cut back the benefits bill .

The proposal, included in her motion to the Liberal Democrat Youth conference in spring 1995, highlighted the “enormous – and rising – cost of pensions and child benefit”, calling for a “search for realistic alternatives to universal benefits”.

Truss, who left the party the next year to join the Conservatives, had added that it was not “socially desirable to pay out universal benefits in the current fashion”, given the “huge expense to the taxpayers of recycling money through the tax system” .

Child benefit was removed for higher-rate taxpayers in 2013 but remains universal for some families earning below the £50,000 threshold who do not qualify for universal credit. All older people qualify for a state pension and winter fuel benefits.

There is no suggestion Truss plans to scrap either benefit, but her earlier views may raise concerns, as she promised to clamp down on the benefits system during her leadership campaign and has already announced plans to cut working age benefits and for “efficiency savings” across all government departments.

The Lib Dem pensions spokesperson, Wendy Chamberlain, said:

We are seeing this government’s true colours. It’s little surprise Liz Truss is refusing to provide help to those who need it most given she has long wanted to scrap the state pension and child benefits.

The Conservative government could not be more out of touch with the British people. As inflation sky-rockets, interest rates spiral and borrowing surges, they’d rather give tax cuts to banks, massive corporations and billionaires than guarantee support for struggling families and pensioners.

A No 10 spokesperson said:

The prime minister’s views are not the same as they were 27 years ago.

However, Truss continues to argue that taxpayers’ money should not “recycled” – or collected by the state only to be redistributed back to them.

Meanwhile, Liz Truss faces urgent calls from the Treasury select committee to bring forward the government’s financial statement, which is not due until 23 November, by at least a month – and to publish growth forecasts as soon as possible to help calm jitters.

The Treasury select committee’s chair, Mel Stride, told the Guardian there was a path out of the current economic situation for the government, but added:

It’s not a very broad path. There is a lot of work to be done. This is a huge challenge.

The Guardian understands Truss will use the meeting to discuss the dramatic economic and fiscal developments since March, the last time the OBR published growth forecasts.

Kwarteng will continue liaising with the body over the forecast process ahead of the release of the next figures.

In other news from Westminster:

  • Liz Truss will attend a meeting of the European Political Community (EPC) meeting in Prague in October, according to PA Media. It is understood the prime minister wanted to attend because energy and migration, both items on the agenda of the meeting, are two of her priorities and that she sees the need to work with other European leaders to resolve the issues.

  • A YouGov poll for the Times gives Labor a 33-point lead over the Conservatives, understood to be the biggest gap recorded since the late 1990s.

  • The NASUWT has given a formal dispute notice to the Department for Education and other employers over its demand for a 12% pay rise for teachers, with the threat of a strike ballot if that is not met.

  • Liz Truss repeatedly suggested that the “international situation” was primarily responsible for the economic turmoil in the UK markets. But in a speech, Huw Pill, chief economist at the Bank of England, will stress that the mini-budget is a factor, too.

  • Kwasi Kwarteng heightened speculation that benefits won’t be uprated in line with inflation. Asked if he would honor the commitment of the previous government, he said: “We are talking about helping people in the round. It is premature for me to come to a decision on that. But we are absolutely focused on making sure that the most vulnerable in our society are protected through what could be a challenging time.”

Liz Truss to hold emergency talks with OBR after failing to calm markets

Good morning and welcome to the UK politics live blog on the day that prime minister Liz Truss is to hold talks with the head of Britain’s independent fiscal watchdog.

The emergency meeting comes as she has so far failed to dampen panic in the financial markets or shore up support from Tory MPs on her radical economic plan.

In a highly unusual move, the prime minister will meet the Office for Budget Responsibility’s (OBR) Richard Hughes on Friday, along with her chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, before being presented with the first draft of its full fiscal forecasts next week.

It adds further details to ongoing objections that the chancellor’s move, which included £45bn of tax cuts, without a clear economic forecast to back it up.

One government insider said the OBR meeting was “like trying to read the manual after you’ve broken the thing” after last week’s announcement of sweeping tax cuts triggered investor panic over the future health of the UK economy, prompting a sharp fall in the value of the pound and driving up government borrowing costs.

For more on that emergency meeting, see here.

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