Tory conference

Truss launches attack on ‘anti-growth coalition’

Upwards and onwards: Liz Truss addresses delegates

Liz Truss today launched a vociferous attack on the “anti-growth coalition” whom she described as the “enemies of enterprise” holding back Britain.

In a clear attempt to stamp her identity on the party, she used her first speech to the party’s conference as Prime Minister to set out her plan to invest in growth and release business from the burden of regulation.

Her address was interrupted by Greenpeace protestors who managed to get into the auditorium and she included them in a broad condemnation of those who stood in the way of her ambitions to reverse the high tax, low growth agenda.

She said: “Labour, the LibDems, the SNP, the militant unions, the vested interests dressed up as think tanks, the talking heads, Brexit deniers, Extinction Rebellion and some of the people we had in the hall earlier. The fact is, they prefer protesting to doing.”

The Prime Minister said she would “not allow the anti-growth coalition to hold us back” that included Labour – who’s leader she accused of having no long-term vision – and attacked Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for refusing to build nuclear power plants.

She said her plan would mean “challenging those who try to stop growth.”

Protestors managed to get into the auditorium

They were the “enemies of enterprise” who did not understand the “heroes of Britain” – the commuters, white van drivers and “millions of others” who keep Britain working.

She said she would keep an “iron grip on the nation’s finances”. She believed in “being careful with taxpayers’ money” and being “fiscally responsible”, and in harnessing the power of enterprise to drive economic reform for a new era.

She stuck to her low tax, high growth agenda as she told party delegates that she was determined to prevent Britain being consigned to decline. She admitted there would be hard choices, a hint of cuts to public spending, but made no reference to the benefits issue.

She arrived on stage to Moving On Up by 1990s pop group M People whose lyrics were considered a bad choice by the Prime Minister as it is about ordering someone to “pack your bags.”

M People founder Mike Pickering, a persistent critic of the Conservatives and Brexit on social media, attacked Ms Truss for choosing the song. Full story here

Undeterred, Ms Truss outlined a package of reforms that would emerge to tackle red tape, encourage enterprise through new investment zones and continue the levelling up agenda created by her predecessor.

Echoing Tony Blair’s ‘education, education and education’ slogan, she declared that she had three priorities for the economy: “growth, growth and growth’.

She gave examples of the United Kingdom “at its best”, working together to get the economy growing.

“We will face down the separatists who threaten to pull apart our precious union, our family,” she said in a specific challenge to those campaigning for Scottish independence.

She said the government would build an economy built on the opportunities offered by Brexit and pledged that by the end of the year “all EU red tape will be consigned to history”.

She added that “Leaving the EU gives us the opportunity to do things differently,” and said ministers would unveil a range of issues to be tackled such as house building, child care and broadband.

Her speech, like that of Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer last week, drew on her humble background and she reminded delegates that she is the first Prime Minister to have attended a comprehensive school.

She said the country had become too dependent on cheap goods from overseas.

More gas fields would be opened in the North Sea to help secure energy security and defence spending will be increased as a proportion of GDP.

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