Kwarteng acknowledges ‘tough’ day after U-turn over 45p tax rate plans

Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng faced criticism for their plans to abolish the 45p rate of income tax.

Kwasi Kwarteng acknowledges ‘tough’ day after U-turn over 45p tax rate plans STV News

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng urged Conservatives to “focus on the task in hand” following a dramatic U-turn over tax cuts for the rich.

Addressing the audience in Birmingham he acknowledged it had been a “tough” day but promised there would be no more distractions.

The Chancellor told the conference: “To grow the economy we really do need to do things differently.”

He said “business investment, skills, science and technology, infrastructure, housing, energy supply, strong financial services” are “the key ingredients for higher economic growth and well-funded public services”.

“While we all believe in growth, we as Conservatives also believe that it is an important principle that people should keep more of the money they earn”, he added.

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“I don’t need to tell you that. That isn’t radical, that isn’t irresponsible. It is a deeply held belief that we all share as Conservatives.

“We were faced with a 70-year high tax burden. We were confronted with low growth and the path we were on was clearly unsustainable. So that’s why we’re cutting taxes for working people.”

It comes after Kwarteng announced on Monday that the Government would be ditching its plan to abolish the 45p rate of income tax for higher earners, just hours before his set piece speech at the Conservative Party conference.

The Chancellor and Prime Minister Liz Truss faced pressure to reverse the decision after a backlash from several Conservative MPs.

Downing Street said the Prime Minister – who was in the audience for the speech – continues to have confidence in Kwarteng, despite the decision to drop the tax cut.