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Saturday, March 2, 2024
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HomeLaura PerrinsTruss is already shaking the magic money tree with abandon

Truss is already shaking the magic money tree with abandon

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ANDREW Cadman’s excellent piece in TCW on Thursday explained why our readers should expect the ‘same old, same old’ from Prime Minister Truss. 

‘There seems precious little comfort for cultural or social conservatives in Liz Truss’s premiership. Two of the great hopes of the conservative Right, Lord Frost and Kemi Badenoch, have been side-lined, with Frost absent from the Cabinet altogether and Badenoch given the relatively obscure job of International Trade where she will find it difficult to shine.’ Truss does not seem eager to fight for that most conservative of institutions – the family, or against the woke-stapo in defence of common sense. At best, there will be a few tax cuts. 

I also, surprisingly, found myself agreeing with David Aaronovitch in the Times who notes that ‘at the centre of the Trussian flight-from-reality is her failure to explain how her commitment to lower taxes as the engine of growth can possibly co-exist with the demands that will almost inevitably be made on the state’. As he explains, Truss Tories are a new ideological phenomenon: ‘don’t tax but still spend’.

Indeed, there is a lot of cakeism in the Truss administration. On Thursday, having waved the possibility of tax cuts around during the election, Truss announced a plan to freeze energy bills that will cost a gargantuan £150billion. This is even bigger than the lockdown furlough give-away, and it will not be funded by a windfall tax on energy firms as per Labour, but by increased borrowing. 

This is alarming, dear reader, because you might remember that soaring inflation has already pushed interest payments on UK debt to record highs in June.

The Guardian said: ‘Debt interest payments hit £19.4bn last month alone, the highest since monthly records began in April 1997, according to the Office for National Statistics. A quarter of the UK’s £2.5tn government debt is index-linked, making the cost of servicing it vulnerable to rising inflation.’ But sure, when you are already £2.5trillion in the hole, £150billion must look like small change. 

No doubt Truss will make big promises on tax cuts, yet also promising to fund the all-consuming unreformed NHS, protect triple lock pensions, and just generally continue giving out goodies to the electorate. The truth is that no government of recent times, least of all the Tories, likes to tell the electorate that they cannot have it both ways – both a massive state, but small taxes. It is cake for everyone it seems, all year round. 

The reality is that the British public have got used to a huge State. This is why they were so willing to go along with the bonkers and very destructive lockdown. In fact, all the polling at the time found that much of the public wanted to be locked down for longer and harder. They could not get enough of it, the old lockdown. 

There is a gross lack of honesty when it comes to public tax and spending. It should be obvious that it is not possible to have low taxes and at the same time have a socialised health system (especially with an ageing population), public services that the public desire, and of course welfare-transfer payments that are necessary to compensate for the disastrous impact on children that the ultra-liberal sexual social order has created. 

My guess is that Aaronovitch would like a big State and big taxes. I prefer small taxes and a small State as a big State funded by an increased tax burden is a poor substitute for the family and communities. In fact the State often competes with families and communities that it eventually seeks to crush. Families are much better at looking after the most vulnerable. The State should be the last call when no one else, family, extended family, community or faith groups, can step in and protect their own.

 Predictably Liz Truss has not even gone two days without doing exactly what Boris Johnson did and what most Tory prime ministers have done since Thatcher. She has found the magic money tree – and is shaking it with abandon. 

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