Liz Truss refuses to commit to raising benefits in line with inflation – UK politics live

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Liz Truss refuses to say whether benefits will rise in line with inflation

Good morning from the Conservative Party conference on the day the spotlight is falling on a fresh battle between Liz Truss and Tory rebels – this time over the level of benefits.

It’s only day after the government was forced into a humiliating U-turn on plans to abolish the top rate of income tax and the date of a new mini-budget.

This morning Truss is doing a broadcast round where he has refused to rule out real-terms benefit cuts to help pay for her government’s plans

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that there is a need to be “fiscally responsible” amid suggestions benefits will not rise in line with inflation.

She said:

We are going to have to make decisions about how we bring down debt as a proportion of GDP in the medium term.

I am very committed to supporting the most vulnerable, in fact in addition to the energy price guarantee we’re also providing an extra 1,200 to the poorest households. So we have to look at these issues in the round, we have to be fiscally responsible.

Asked by the Today programme’s Nick Robinson about how she can guarantee that pensions will rise with inflation and not benefit payments, Truss replied the government is looking “at all of these issues very carefully” and an announcement “will be made in due course”.

But with Tory MPs plotting, the Guardian understands Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng will speed up plans for a new fiscal statement, expected to focus on spending and deregulation.

It will now take place later this month, rather than on 23 November as previously scheduled, accompanied by new forecasts from the Office of Budget Responsibility, in another move designed to restore market stability.

Senior MPs warned of further rebellions over reductions in public spending, especially on benefits, which the chancellor has declined to rule out.

Key events

Here are some of the key events as well as interesting-looking fringe events scheduled for today at the Tory conference in Birmingham.

Headline speakers later include the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, who will use her conference speech to set out her intention to bring in new laws to make it easier to deport people who come to the UK illegally.

The Home Secretary will promise to allow “the kind of immigration that grows our economy” but “end abuse of the rules” as she addresses activists at the Conservative Party conference.

930am: Andrew Griffith, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, will speak alongside Lord Frost at an even on domestic investment.

10.30am: An event entitled “After the Johnson era, how can the government rebuild trust?” Speakers will include Tory MP Jeremy Wright.

1pm: Michael Gove will speak at an event called ‘How can health revitalise the economy?’

4pm: Main speakers in a session entitled: Delivering Better Public Services | Foreign Affairs

Speakers include the Health Secretary, Thérèse Coffey, home secretary, Suella Braverman, Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Education Secretary Kit Malthousem Justice Secretary Brandon Lewis.

The foreign secretary, James Cleverly, will also set out foreign policy priorities.

Penny Mordaunt says benefits should rise with inflation

Cabinet minister Penny Mordaunt has told Times Radio that benefits should rise with inflation:

Mordaunt, one of Truss’s vanquished rivals during the Tory leadership race, said:

I’ve always supported - whether it’s pensions, whether it’s our welfare system - keeping pace with inflation. It makes sense to do so. That’s what I voted for before.

In a potentially key intervention that will be picked over for itss contrast to the carefully chosen words this mornin from the Prime Minister, Mordaunt added:

We want to make sure that people are looked after and that people can pay their bills. We are not about trying to help people with one hand and take away with another.

Senior Conservative officials have accused West Midlands police of failing to do enough to keep protesters away from delegates at the party conference, a leaked letter reveals.

The disclosure comes just hours after the police were forced to lock down the conference in central Birmingham for several hours after a security scare. Police say they have been shortchanged by over £500,000 on the costs of keeping the conference in Birmingham secure.

Jake Berry, the Conservative party chair, and Darren Mott, party chief executive, sent a letter on Sunday evening to the police and crime commissioner for the West Midlands raising “serious concerns” over security around the conference.

 Ian Forsyth/Getty Images
The Conservatives’ chair and chief executive wrote to West Midlands police to express ‘serious concerns’ over security around their conference in Birmingham. Photograph: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images Photograph: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

The Guardian’s Political Editor, Pippa Crerar, has written a piece which delves in to the behind-the-scenes events which led to the government’s u-turn on the 45 pence tax rate.

As early as Friday, Truss and her No 10 team were calling round Tory MPs.

She spoke to one former cabinet minister just as they were door-knocking constituents.

I told her I’d just been told how unfair it was that we were protecting the rich while my constituent was worried about paying their mortgage.

Some MPs suspected something was up when the Tory whips failed to do their regular weekend ring-round to test the mood.

“It seemed odd, especially after such a turbulent week,” said one. “But it also meant that they didn’t know if they had the numbers to get the policy through the Commons.”

Liz Truss refuses to say whether benefits will rise in line with inflation

Good morning from the Conservative Party conference on the day the spotlight is falling on a fresh battle between Liz Truss and Tory rebels – this time over the level of benefits.

It’s only day after the government was forced into a humiliating U-turn on plans to abolish the top rate of income tax and the date of a new mini-budget.

This morning Truss is doing a broadcast round where he has refused to rule out real-terms benefit cuts to help pay for her government’s plans

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that there is a need to be “fiscally responsible” amid suggestions benefits will not rise in line with inflation.

She said:

We are going to have to make decisions about how we bring down debt as a proportion of GDP in the medium term.

I am very committed to supporting the most vulnerable, in fact in addition to the energy price guarantee we’re also providing an extra 1,200 to the poorest households. So we have to look at these issues in the round, we have to be fiscally responsible.

Asked by the Today programme’s Nick Robinson about how she can guarantee that pensions will rise with inflation and not benefit payments, Truss replied the government is looking “at all of these issues very carefully” and an announcement “will be made in due course”.

But with Tory MPs plotting, the Guardian understands Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng will speed up plans for a new fiscal statement, expected to focus on spending and deregulation.

It will now take place later this month, rather than on 23 November as previously scheduled, accompanied by new forecasts from the Office of Budget Responsibility, in another move designed to restore market stability.

Senior MPs warned of further rebellions over reductions in public spending, especially on benefits, which the chancellor has declined to rule out.

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