Kwasi Kwarteng has insisted he is not ditching his mini-Budget as he said the Government will be “sticking to the growth plan”.
The Chancellor said focusing on increasing economic growth is one of this two top priorities, along with helping people with rising energy bills.
Asked if he had a message for the financial markets as he prepared to visit a local business in Darlington this afternoon, Mr Kwarteng said: “Absolutely. We are sticking to the growth plan and we are going to help people with energy bills. That’s my two top priorities.”
Mr Kwarteng’s comments came after Liz Truss said she is prepared to make "controversial and difficult decisions" as she defended the mini-Budget after it triggered economic turmoil.
The Prime Minister said she believed the proposed tax cuts and increased government borrowing represented the "right plan" for the nation.
That is all for today...
Thank you for joining me for today's politics live blog.
My colleague Dominic Penna will be in the hot seat tomorrow to bring you all of the developments ahead of Conservative Party conference in Birmingham which gets underway on Sunday.
'It is critical that we stick to budgets'
Ministers will be asked to “take a responsible and disciplined approach to spending focused on the things that matter most”, a Treasury spokesman has said.
In response to media reports that the Treasury will be writing to Cabinet ministers asking them to make efficiency savings after the mini-Budget, a spokesman said: “The British taxpayer expects government to run as efficiently and effectively as possible.
“As usual, it is critical that we stick to budgets which is why we’re asking departments to take a responsible and disciplined approach to spending focused on the things that matter most, including driving growth.”
Further details are expected to be set out by government departments in coming weeks.
'We are sticking to the growth plan'
Kwasi Kwarteng has insisted that the Government is “sticking to the growth plan” and that it is “going to help people with energy bills”.
Asked if he had a message for the financial markets as he prepared to visit a local business in Darlington, the Chancellor told the PA news agency: “Absolutely. We are sticking to the growth plan and we are going to help people with energy bills. That’s my two top priorities.”
'Governments that preside over a financial crisis rarely survive at the ballot box'
Sir John Curtice, Professor of Politics at the University of Strathclyde, has given his assessment in a piece for The Telegraph of where things stand currently in terms of political polling.
He argued that much could still change between now and the general election but warned that "governments that preside over a financial crisis rarely survive at the ballot box". He wrote:
There is, of course, no guarantee that voters’ immediate reaction to Friday’s statement will prevail in the longer term. Many of those who have fallen out of love with the Conservatives are saying they do not know how they will vote next time and not saying they would back Labour.
They might be won over if economic growth is eventually delivered. But, equally, most of the polling to date has been conducted before the adverse market reaction – and the threat posed to interest rates - became clear. This may have reinforced voters’ initial doubts. And governments that preside over a financial crisis rarely survive at the ballot box – just ask John Major.
You can read the full piece here.
'Perhaps we were better off when PM was missing in action'
Nicola Sturgeon has said the UK economy was “better off” when Liz Truss was “missing in action” following the Prime Minister's defence of her mini-Budget this morning.
Ms Sturgeon launched a scathing attack on Ms Truss’s interviews when asked at First Minister’s Questions (FMQs) whether she believed the proposals would exacerbate the cost-of-living pressures.
She said: “I was, as many, many people were yesterday, critical of the fact that the Prime Minister was missing in action.
“But having heard her this morning and watched the market reaction as she spoke, perhaps we were all better off when the Prime Minister was missing in action than when she was actually out talking about the disaster she has inflicted on this country.”
Liz Truss urged to correct record over energy bill freeze
Liz Truss has been urged to publicly correct her statements that “nobody” will pay more than £2,500 for their annual energy bill.
During her round of radio interviews this morning, the Prime Minister repeatedly raised her recently announced energy price guarantee which limits the average bill to £2,500. However, the Government’s plan only caps the cost per unit that households pay, with actual bills still determined by how much energy is consumed.
Although she initially described the figure as being for a “typical” bill during an interview with BBC Radio Nottingham, she went on to say: “The biggest part of the package we announced is the support on energy bills, making sure that people across this country are not facing energy bills of more than £2,500 and that businesses can get through this winter.”
Fact checking charity Full Fact chief executive Will Moy said: “We wrote to the Prime Minister about getting this wrong only yesterday. The Government’s energy plans will affect every household in Britain this winter. And yet Liz Truss has repeatedly misled listeners this morning. She must now publicly correct her mistake to make sure people are not misled about their energy prices and hit with unexpected and unaffordable energy bills this winter.”
Chopper's Politics Live is coming to Tory conference
This year's Conservative Party conference in Birmingham promises to be a box office event given the circumstances in which it is taking place.
If you are attending, make sure to make your way to the Chopper's Politics Live events which are happening on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
Christopher Hope, The Telegraph's associate editor, will be speaking to a series of Cabinet and Tory heavyweights in what will almost certainly be incredibly newsy interviews. Full details here:
* Chopper's Politics Live is coming from the Conservative Party conference *
1pm Sunday @michaelgove and @JakeBerry
1pm Monday @Jacob_Rees_Mogg
1pm Tuesday @SuellaBraverman
Bring your best questions! Each episode will be available as a podcast and to watch on YouTube that day. pic.twitter.com/IDwsLIN10J
— Christopher Hope📝 (@christopherhope) September 29, 2022
'This is a serious situation made in Downing Street'
Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, has criticised Liz Truss and claimed that the nation is facing a "serious situation made in Downing Street".
She said: “The Prime Minister’s interviews this morning have made this disastrous situation even worse. Her failure to answer questions about what will happen with people’s pensions and mortgages will leave families across the country facing huge worry.
“It is disgraceful that the family finances of people across the country are being put on the line simply so the Government can give huge unfunded tax cuts to the richest companies and those earning hundreds of thousands of pounds a year.
“This is a serious situation made in Downing Street and is the direct result of the Conservative Government's reckless actions."
Liz Truss: 'Plenty of areas where the government can become more efficient'
Liz Truss has said she believes there are "plenty of areas where the government can become more efficient" after reports that Whitehall departments have been told to draw up plans for fresh efficiency savings aimed at reducing future borrowing.
Asked where savings could be found, the Prime Minister told Sky News: “It is absolutely right that we always need to get value for taxpayers’ money. Every pound that we take from somebody is a pound they could be spending on their future, on what they need to support themselves. So it is right that we get value for money and I am always making surethat we deliver that.”
Asked specifically where efficiencies could be found, Ms Truss said: “Well, there are always ways that we can organise things more efficiently but what I want to make sure is taxpayer money is focused on frontline services, on getting our GP appointments, making sure people can get to see a doctor, making sure we deliver on our road projects, all of those things that people rely on us for. There are plenty of areas where the government can become more efficient.”
Asked if she could provide an example, Ms Truss said: "Well not at the moment. We are continually reviewing to make sure we are getting good value for money and I think that is what taxpayers expect.”
Liz Truss challenged over 'credibility'
Liz Truss was asked if it is "credible" for her to argue that the mini-Budget has not had any impact on domestic economic stability.
The Prime Minister told Sky News: “The biggest measure in the mini-Budget was the support we have given to people on their energy bills and it was absolutely right that we gave that support because without that support people would be facing high fuel bills this winter.
“I was worried about people struggling to heat their homes. But also we would have seen businesses like pubs go out of business.
“So it was the right decision to take and we need to continue to make sure we deliver the economic growth, that we deliver the jobs and opportunities. That is the long term future that we have set out.”
PM: 'It is a difficult time'
Liz Truss has warned the UK and the wider world is facing a "difficult time" as she again defended her mini-Budget tax and borrowing plans.
Speaking to Sky News, the Prime Minister said: "It is a difficult time. We are facing a global economic crisis, brought about by Putin’s war in Ukraine.
"What was right is that Britain took decisive action to help people get through what is going to be a difficult winter.”
SNP accuses PM of taking 'wrecking ball to UK economy'
Ian Blackford, the SNP's leader in Westminster, has accused Liz Truss of having taken a "wrecking ball to the UK economy".
Responding to the Prime Minister's morning media round, Mr Blackford said: "The Tory government has taken a wrecking ball to the UK economy - and put beyond doubt that independence is the only way to keep Scotland safe from the damage of Westminster control and get rid of the Tories for good.
"Liz Truss has shown she is reckless, clueless and completely out of touch with people in Scotland - who are increasingly worried about the impact of the disastrous Tory budget on their mortgages, pensions, and household budgets."
Mr Blackford said Parliament "must be recalled immediately".
Will benefits rise in line with inflation?
Ministers have suggested that benefits may not be increased in line with spiralling inflation. A final decision is yet to be announced.
The Resolution Foundation think tank has taken a look at the impact this could have on Universal Credit claimants.
It said that if the Chancellor opted to increase benefits in line with wage growth - so about five per cent - instead of in line with inflation - about 10 per cent - then a typical working couple with two children on UC would be more than £1,000 worse off.
The switch would save about £20 billion over a two year period.
The Chancellor may choose to uprate benefits by earnings rather than inflation. This saves £11bn in one year, and £20bn across two years.
This would leave a typical working couple with two children on Universal Credit over £1,000 worse off (when incomes are already falling). pic.twitter.com/45qFqbXTUW
— Resolution Foundation (@resfoundation) September 29, 2022
'Global context not a reason for current financial instability'
The Government has argued that the mini-Budget is not responsible for economic instability in the UK, claiming there are global pressures which the whole world is having to wrestle with.
Labour has rejected that argument, claiming the mini-Budget did trigger problems which were then "compounded" by the "global context".
Pat McFadden, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, told Sky News: “The global context was precisely the reason why this shouldn't have been done. It is true that this was done at a time when inflation was already high, when there was some pressure on the Bank to increase rates.
“That was precisely what compounded the mistake of last Friday. We said last Friday they are doing this at this moment and it is running a huge risk with the public finances.
“So the global context is not a reason for the current financial instability we have seen since Friday. The global context meant they shouldn't have announced the package that lead to it.”
Economic instability 'direct result' of mini-Budget
Pat McFadden, Labour's shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said economic instability in the UK is the "direct result" of Kwasi Kwarteng's mini-Budget.
He told Sky News: “It has been an extraordinary period of instability, stemming directly from the Chancellor’s announcements on Friday and it started of course with a drop in the value of the pound, it then spread to banks and building societies withdrawing hundreds of mortgage products, it has placed extreme pressure on the Bank of England to raise interest rates and hence mortgage rates more than they were planning and yesterday we had a situation where a number of major pension funds were in danger of going off a cliff.
“So this has been an extraordinary rippling consequence of financial instability as a direct result of what the Government announced last Friday.”
Mark Carney criticises Liz Truss over mini-Budget
Sterling has fallen sharply again as former Bank of England governor Mark Carney accused Liz Truss of “undercutting” the central bank.
The pound tumbled as much as one per cent to below $1.08 in Asia trading as jitters about the Government’s tax-cutting plans resurfaced.
It came as Mr Carney took aim at the new Prime Minister for a mini-Budget that had led to “dramatic” shifts in the financial markets.
He said there was an “undercutting” of key City institutions, pointing to the lack of an OBR forecast, a lack of detail about costing and working at “cross-purposes” with the Bank of England.
'I don't accept the word crisis at all'
Chris Philp, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, has rejected the suggestion that the UK is now in the middle of a financial "crisis".
Asked if he accepted it is a "crisis", Mr Philp told LBC Radio: "Look, I don't accept the word crisis at all. Look, in the last six to nine months… the financial markets have been in some volatility around the world."
Minister: Bank of England bailout 'very-limited'
The Bank of England's £65 billion intervention in the UK economy yesterday is a "very targeted, time-limited intervention", according to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury. (You can read the full story on the bailout here).
Chris Philp was asked during an interview on LBC Radio this morning if that bailout indicated the economy is experiencing "serious problems".
He said: "Look, they were making a very targeted, time-limited intervention. There was a particular idiosyncrasy to do with the way that particular pension vehicles used long-dated gilts.
"It was a very targeted, very specific intervention to address that issue, which they've successfully done – independently, of course, the Bank of England act independently.
"And they're not the only central bank to have had to make an intervention. Like I said, the Bank of Japan intervened in the Yen dollar market just a few days ago."
Chris Philp rejects calls to change mini-Budget
Chris Philp, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, was told this morning that the mini-Budget needs to be changed.
Speaking to LBC Radio, he said: "No, well, if you listen to the reaction of British business organisations to Kwasi Kwarteng’s growth plan on Friday, like, for example, the Confederation of British Industry, the CBI, the Federation of Small Businesses, the British Chambers of Commerce, they all strongly welcomed the growth plan, and they are the organisations that represent British business…"
Lib Dems tells Tories to scrap party conference
The Conservative Party is due to meet in Birmingham from Sunday this weekend for its annual conference.
Sir Ed Davey, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, has called on the Tories to scrap the event.
He said: “There is no way the Conservative Party can hold their conference whilst the British economy nosedives. The arrogance of Liz Truss and Conservative ministers is frankly an insult to millions who now face higher bills as a direct result of last week’s budget.
"From this weekend they will abandon their posts in Downing Street, leaving a mess behind them and heading for the cocktail parties and mutual back-patting of the classic conference season."
Sir Ed said repeated his call for Parliament to be recalled.
Pictured: James Cleverly visits Singapore
Lib Dems: 'PM in complete denial'
Daisy Cooper, the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, has claimed Liz Truss is in "complete denial" following the Prime Minister's morning media round.
She said: "Liz Truss is in complete denial about the damage caused by her reckless and out of touch budget.
“She failed to offer any reassurance to people who are worried sick about the impact on their mortgages, pensions and bills. Instead the Prime Minister is digging in with this totally disastrous approach that only benefits the very wealthiest while the vast majority suffer."
Three main takeaways from the PM's media round
The mini-Budget stays: The Government has no intention of backtracking on its mini-Budget. Liz Truss was clear that she believes it was the right thing to do and as such the measures will not be watered down.
Problems are 'global': Liz Truss is adamant that economic chaos is a “global” problem and not just something confined to the UK. Essentially, she rejected the idea that the mini-Budget was in any way responsible for the domestic instability seen in recent days.
45p tax rate stumbling block: The Prime Minister was perhaps on the most difficult terrain this morning when she was asked to defend the decision to scrap the 45p income tax rate. She argued that tax cuts across the board will help everyone but there was a noticeable lack of explicit backing for that specific move.
PM challenged over 'global' problems claim
BBC Radio Bristol presenter James Hanson challenged Liz Truss over her repeated claim that financial markets around the world have been facing turmoil.
He told the Prime Minister: “This isn't just about Putin. Your Chancellor on Friday opened up the stable door and spooked the horses so much you could almost see the economy being dragged behind them.”
Ms Truss replied: “This is about Putin and the war in Ukraine. That is why we are facing such high energy prices.”
Mr Hanson said: “So the Bank of England’s intervention yesterday was the fault of Vladimir Putin, was it?”
The Prime Minister said: “What I am saying is it is very difficult and stormy times in the international markets and of course the Bank of England is independent, it takes the action it needs to take and it is responsible for interest rates and it is responsible for financial stability.
“But it is right that the Government took action to deal with people’s fuel bills…”
'It is not fair to have a recession'
Liz Truss was asked about the "fairness" of the mini-Budget, specifically about the decision to axe the 45p top rate of income tax.
She told BBC Radio Nottingham: "It is not fair to have a recession. It is not fair to have a town where you are not getting the investment. It is not fair if we don't get high paying jobs in the future because we have the highest tax burden in 70 years.
"That is what is not fair."
'Lower taxes across the board help everybody'
Liz Truss has defended the decision to scrap the 45p top rate of income tax as she argued that lower taxes "help everybody".
She told BBC Radio Nottingham: "Having lower taxes across the board... helps everybody because it helps grow the economy.
"For too long the debate in this country has been about distribution rather than how we grow our economy."
Liz Truss denies mini-Budget is 'reverse Robin Hood'
Liz Truss has denied that her decision to scrap the 45p top rate of income tax amounts to a "reverse Robin Hood".
Speaking to BBC Radio Nottingham, the Prime Minister said: "That simply isn't true... the entirety of what you just said. The biggest part of the package that we announced is the support on energy bills."
Told that people are worried about keeping their homes because of rising interest rates, Ms Truss said : "It is an important principle that interest rates are set by the independent Bank of England and that has been the case since 1997.
"What we are seeing around the world is we are seeing great pressure on the international markets. Because of Putin's war in Ukraine, it has pushed up energy prices, it has created inflation and it has created an economic slowdown."
'This is why we took action'
Liz Truss was asked during an interview with BBC Radio Nottingham why she does not hold her hands up and say "we got it wrong" over the mini-Budget.
The Prime Minister said: "We have got to look at the situation this country would be facing if the Government had not acted.
"People were facing fuel bills of up to £6,000 this winter and people and families were worried about that. We were facing very, very high inflation and also a slowing economy and this is why we took action."
Ms Truss was told that the mini-Budget had "made things worse" but she rejected the claim as she said the Government's plans will curb inflation by "up to five per cent" this winter while also boosting growth.
She also repeated that there economic "problems around the world".
'This is a global problem'
Liz Truss has rejected the suggestion that the mini-Budget had made a time of crisis "worse".
Asked if she intended to reverse any of her tax measures, the Prime Minister told BBC Radio Kent: "I don't accept the premise of the question. The action we have taken has been helping people with their fuel bills... it has been helping people with their tax bills, people are going to pay less National Insurance.
"But we are facing difficult economic times. I don't deny this. This is a global problem. But what is absolutely right is the UK Government has stepped in and acted at this difficult time."
'The Government has done the right thing'
Liz Truss said that "we have seen difficult markets around the world because of the very difficult international situation we face".
She said the Government has taken "decisive action" on energy bills and it would have been "unconscionable" not to take action on those bills.
Told that the Government's mini-Budget had "undermined" the stability of the UK economy, Ms Truss told BBC Radio Kent: "As I say, we are working very closely with the Bank of England. We face a difficult international situation. I am very clear the Government has done the right thing by taking action urgently to deal with inflation, to deal with the economic slowdown, and to deal with high energy bills.
"Of course, that involves taking difficult decisions and as Prime Minister I am prepared to take difficult decisions and do the right thing."
'We have taken action'
Liz Truss was confronted with numerous listener questions during an interview with BBC Radio Kent. The Prime Minister was asked "what were you thinking" and "how can we ever trust the Tories again".
Asked if she was "ashamed" over her mini-Budget, Ms Truss said: "I think we have to remember what situation this country was facing. We were going into the winter with people expected to face fuel bills of up to £6,000, huge rates of inflation but also slowing economic growth.
"What we have done is we have taken action to make sure that from this weekend people won't be paying a typical fuel bill of more than £2,500, not just this year but also next year."
Told that the Government's plans may have made inflation worse, Ms Truss countered: "This will curb inflation by up to five per cent."
PM insists 'difficult economic times' are 'global'
Liz Truss has said the world is facing "very, very difficult economic times" as she also insisted Kwasi Kwarteng is working "very, very closely" with the Bank of England.
She told BBC Radio Leeds: “We are working very, very closely with the Bank of England and it is important that we have an independent Bank of England, they are responsible for setting interest rates. Of course the Chancellor and the Bank of England work closely together.
“We are facing very, very difficult economic times. We are facing that on a global level.”
'It has made sure that people and businesses will be paying lower taxes'
Liz Truss was asked for her assessment of how her mini-Budget has landed.
The Prime Minister told BBC Radio Leeds: "What it has done is it has made sure that people and businesses will be paying lower taxes. It has opened up new road projects, new infrastructure projects, which will mean that we can get on with doing the things that will help people, whether it is getting to work, setting up their own business and growing the economy.
"What it has done is made sure that businesses and people are protected from these very high fuel bills this winter."
Liz Truss defends mini-Budget plans
Liz Truss has defended her mini-Budget plans as she said as Prime Minister she is prepared to take "controversial and difficult decisions".
Speaking to BBC Radio Leeds, Ms Truss said that "we had to take urgent action to get our economy growing" and "of course that means taking controversial and difficult decisions".
"I am prepared to do that as Prime Minister," she said.
Minister dismisses calls for Chancellor to quit
Chris Philp, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, has dismissed suggestions that Kwasi Kwarteng should resign as Chancellor over his handling of the mini-Budget.
He told Sky News: “I don’t think he should. The Chancellor has set out very clearly a vision for growth, to get our economy growing. That is what we need.”
'I am certainly not going to apologise'
Chris Philp, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, has refused to apologise for the financial turmoil caused by Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-Budget.
After the Bank of England was forced to step in to calm the markets, Mr Philp told Sky News: “No one’s perfect but I’m not going to apologise for having a plan to grow the economy.
“I am certainly not going to apologise for having an energy intervention which is protecting every single household in this country. I’m not going to get into this post-facto raking over."
'We have what can only be described as a crisis'
A former Tory Treasury minister has said the Government has caused a “crisis” but “the pain is still to come”.
David Gauke told the BBC: “Now we have what can only be described as a crisis, and it is directly as a consequence of decisions made by the Conservative Government."
“The pain is still to come, in truth. The pain of higher interest rates, of tougher decisions on public spending is yet to be felt,” added the 50-year-old, who was the Conservative MP for South West Hertfordshire from 2005 to 2019.
Minister admits cutting top rate of income tax only benefits wealthy
Chris Philp, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, has defended the Government's decision to scrap the 45p top rate of income tax.
Asked why it was necessary to make the move now, he told Sky News: "The top rate of now 40 per cent, reducing from 45, makes us internationally competitive, it puts us on a par with a number of other economies."
Told that the 45p decision only benefits the wealthy, he conceded that is the case: "Well, that is true, it benefits people who earn more than £150,000 but very often those are people who are internationally mobile, they can choose where to locate.
"I talk to people who have got a choice about whether they work and live in London or Edinburgh or Birmingham or whether they go and live in Singapore or New York or somewhere. We want those people to locate here in the UK.
"One other point, in terms of the size of that measure, it amounted to less than 1/20th, less than five per cent of the total fiscal measures. It was a very small part of the package."
Government must make statement 'in next two or three days'
The Treasury has said Kwasi Kwarteng will deliver a follow up statement to the mini-Budget in November in which he will set out the Government's medium-term economic plans.
But the Chancellor is under mounting pressure to deliver a statement to reassure the markets and the nation much sooner than that.
Lord Clarke, the Tory former chancellor, said a statement should be made within days.
He told Times Radio: "Ideally, that statement should come in the next two or three days. But we don't want them rushing into something else more stupid.
“We can't have both the government and the Bank saying that they're not able to do anything more till November, that would be very, very worrying indeed.”
Government could be forced to 'retract' mini-Budget measures
The Government will have no choice but to "retract" some of its mini-Budget measures if the pound falls any further, Lord Clarke has said.
The Tory former chancellor told Times Radio: "If the pound sinks any further, then they will have to perhaps retract some of the measures because the more the pound goes down, the more inflation goes up."
Lord Clarke: No other Tory government would have made mini-Budget 'mistake'
Lord Clarke, the Tory former chancellor, has argued this morning that no other Conservative government would have made a "mistake" like Kwasi Kwarteng's mini-Budget.
He told Times Radio: "I still hope in two years' time, they might look like a normal, competent, Conservative government because no Conservative government in my lifetime would ever have made a mistake of this kind.
“Fiscal discipline or good housekeeping, as Margaret always used to say, was one of the very strong cards that the government had because it was regarded as good at running the economy by the public."
Good morning and welcome to today's politics live blog.
It is a big day in Westminster as Liz Truss is expected to face public questioning for the first time since the new Government unveiled its mini-Budget last week.
The Prime Minister is due to undertake a tour of regional BBC radio stations this morning when she will be grilled on her tax cuts and spending plans after they sparked economic turmoil.
I will guide you through the key developments.