Liz Truss has insisted there is “absolutely no shame” in a leader listening to people after a major tax U-turn.
Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng on Monday announced the Government would ditch its plan to abolish the 45p tax rate for higher earners, set out in the mini budget.
The Prime Minister and Kwarteng have claimed that the plans to axe the rate had become a “distraction” from other policies being delivered.
In an interview with Sky News on Tuesday, Truss stated that the 45p rate was not a “priority people”, as she claimed she “listened to people” on the decision to drop the plan.
“I took the decision very rapidly on the 45p rate that it was becoming a distraction from the core policies we were delivering,” she said.
“Core policies on the energy price guarantee, on keeping taxes low during the economic slow down, those were the priorities.
“Frankly, the 45p wasn’t a priority policy and I listened to people.”
Truss added: “I think there’s absolutely no shame in a leader listening to people and responding.
“And that’s the kind of person I am and I’ve been totally honest and upfront with people that everything I have done as Prime Minister is focused on helping people get through what is a very difficult winter and very difficult circumstances and putting our country on a stronger footing for the future.”
The Prime Minister suggested that she would still be in favour of a reduction in the tax rate.
However, she indicated that she would seek stronger public support for such a measure.
“I would like to see the higher rate lower,” she told the BBC.
“I want us to be a competitive country but I have listened to feedback, I want to take people with me.”
Truss has also been urged to commit to an increase in benefits in line with inflation.
The Prime Minister has so far refused to doing so, while stating the Government must be “fiscally responsible” and to bring down debt.
She said: “Of course, how we uprate benefits is an important issue but that is a decision to be made later this year.
“My priority was dealing with the immediate issues that families face this winter and I’m sure people can understand why we had to act on that first.”