Tory backbenchers despair over ‘toxic’ mini-budget

Quasi Quarteng’s mini-budget would prove “politically toxic and financially dubious”, with Conservative MPs saying they have borrowed the extra £72bn needed to pay for tax cuts that disproportionately hit the very wealthy. will benefit.

Divisions of the Tory leadership campaign surfaced after Quarteng’s statement, with critics claiming that the chancellor was trying to evade scrutiny from the independent budget regulator by refusing to publish economic forecasts.

Quarteng’s “plan for development” was compared by a senior party figure to the unfortunate “Barber Budget” of 1972, which pursued a similar objective, but ended in boom, rising inflation and eventually the demise of Ted Heath’s premiership. .

One MP said, “I have never known a government that has got so little support from its back, sitting for just four days.”

The generally weak bench, which roared behind the chancellor as he delivered financial statements to the Commons, became more calm on Friday. Several attendees said some order sheets were waved and there was a spate of “listen, listen” comments allegedly made by party whips.

“I am completely disappointed, because I am a member of a party which does not stand for the very rich but for the downtrodden. It would be politically toxic and financially questionable,” said another MP present for the statement.

In an indication of the level of dissatisfaction, many traditionalists Rising in the Chamber of Commons to target thorny and hostile interventions in Quarteng. Mel Stride, chairman of the Treasury selection committee and former campaign manager for Rishi Sunak’s leadership bid, said there was a “huge void” in the mini budget.

Stride criticized the Treasury’s refusal to publish the latest economic forecast from the Office for Budget Responsibility based on measures unveiled this week, saying markets “twitch” and “now is the time for transparency” to “give peace”. Had been.

In form of pound fell further Against the dollar, former Attorney General Jeremy Wright said growth depends on trust, and will “evaporate” if the benefits of tax cuts are outweighed by increased mortgage repayments due to higher interest rates.

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Others were gloomy about how eliminating the highest tax rate and removing the limit on bankers’ bonuses would play out in poor constituencies, especially the so-called Red Wall. “It is the richest we are helping while the poorest suffer the most,” was the harsh assessment of a northern MP.

Liz Truss’s ruthless reshuffle that ousted most Sunak supporters also hung like a dark cloud over the statement.

“Everyone is upset with the reshuffle and the way it has been handled,” said a person recently expelled from the government. “Looking forward, you’re going to have a situation where, unless some goodwill is extended, people will look for a reason to put up a marker to make their unhappiness clear.”

Sunak’s supporters said he was more likely to boycott the Conservative Party convention and discuss it with other frustrated allies on WhatsApp during the coming weeks of recess.

A seasoned thorn in the side of Boris Johnson’s administration, Roger Gale said: “Fortune favors the brave, but not the fools,” and added that Quarteng’s “not-so-mini-budget is certainly the brave, but in fact I also have a very high risk.”

However, some Tories were willing to give the “gamble” of the truss a chance. “It is certainly driven by ideology, and politics is supposed to be – to some extent – ​​about ideology,” said one. “She has clearly considered that she doesn’t win from the center, but has a clear specific position.”

Ardent truss supporters said it would force Labor into a difficult position to oppose tax cuts and face uncomfortable questions about whether it will reverse them. He also said that it would strengthen support among voters who had previously agreed to support Ukip. Nigel Farage declared it “the best conservative budget since 1986”.

David Jones, a former cabinet minister who backed the truce for leadership, said: “It was very necessary to cut taxes because we were taxed more than before. Quarteng apparently made a clear break with the Sage regime. And I personally think they had no choice but to do so. Had it been stable, our growth next year according to the OECD would be zero.

Opposition parties sought to portray the mini-budget as a gift to the ultra-rich, one that would provide little support for those in a sharp end-of-life crisis.

Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, attacked Quarteng’s “casino economics”, which she said were “gambling off the mortgage and finances of every family in the country”.

Liberal Democrats leader Ed Davey called it a “billionaires’ budget”, which showed the Conservatives “completely out of touch with families struggling to pay the bills”.

Read full story at the guardian.com

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