Liz Truss admits she didn’t discuss scrapping top rate with cabinet
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Liz Truss sacked a top official at the Treasury after he “froze her out” with former Chancellor Philip Hammond, an insider has claimed. Tom Scholar previously served as the permanent secretary at the Treasury. He was removed from the position when Liz Truss became Prime Minister in September 2022.
Speaking about the reasoning for his departure, a Number 10 insider told the Times: “When Liz was No 2 in the Treasury she opposed Philip Hammond’s tax hikes and he and Scholar effectively froze her out. She was cut out of the loop on budget decisions.”
They also said that he faced criticism for not focussing on policy.
The insider said: “Tom’s big focus wasn’t actually policy, it was liaising with the Bank and external markets and making sure the subterranean pipework of the system was working
“That is precisely what has gone wrong this week.”
The final reason, they said, was that “Kwasi couldn’t handle how the rules were bent to help Scholar work from home.”
The revelations about the Treasury’s private secretary come as the department faces criticism over its latest policy announcements.
The Government announced a swathe of tax cuts last week, including cutting the basic rate of income tax from 20 to 19 percent and abolishing the 45 percent top rate of tax.
The planned corporation tax increase, which was set to rise from 19 percent to 25 percent, will also be axed.
Meanwhile, stamp duty will be cut for homebuyers.
In the wake of the announcement, the pound fell to a record low against the dollar. And on Monday morning, borrowing costs reached their highest levels since August 2008.
Earlier this week, the Bank of England was forced to intervene over a “material risk” to the UK economy and it announced it will start buying bonds in order to stabilise what it described as “dysfunctional markets”.
The Labour Party held a record lead in the polls earlier this week.
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The YouGov poll, based on a survey of 1,712 voters on 28 and 29 September, presented a damning picture for the Conservatives, with Labour taking a 33-point lead.
According to the Times, Treasury insiders warned Ms Truss that her announcements would bring a “big risk”.
They said: “Senior Treasury officials made clear there was a big risk. The cabinet secretary [Simon Case] made it clear that there was a huge risk.
“You can do what you said in the leadership election — reverse the national insurance rise and stop the corporation tax rise — but once you get into further tax cuts you have to have someone mark your homework.”
An insider added: “She was told, ‘Don’t do this, no one will like it.’ And her attitude was basically, ‘I don’t care’.”
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