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Liz Truss Could Face "Resistance" To Changes To Environmental Or Planning Protections

Liz Truss discussed the "anti-growth coalition" during her conference speech in Birmingham this week (Alamy)

4 min read

Liz Truss could face "resistance" if she tries to bring sweeping changes to environmental or planning legislation, one of her MPs has suggested, after she doubled down on her plans for growth in her conference speech.

One backbencher has said that deregulation will be looked at on a “case by case basis” by MPs,  after the Prime Minister sought to hammer home her pro-growth message in Birmingham, suggesting that “everyone will benefit” from her plans for tax cuts and regulation reforms. 

In her keynote to the party faithful, Truss also accused opposition parties, trade unions, and environmental groups, among others, of being part of an "anti-growth coalition".

“The fact is they prefer protesting to doing,” she said. “It’s always more taxes, more regulation and more meddling”. 

Some Tory MPs praised the address after a rocky first few weeks in No.10 for Truss. One backbencher told PoliticsHome the way to resolve issues such as climate change “is not to return to the Dark Ages”, and instead develop technologies that enable sustainable living, which they believe requires dereulation. 

But there is also suggestion that any wide ranging reforms to planning or environmental legislation could come up against some resistance in Parliament.

Conservative MP Kevin Hollinrake told PoliticsHome that he didn't think Truss's speech contained anything "that was a surprise,” but said that MPs would “look very carefully” at any attempts to change planning regulation as they “want to make sure a balance is observed”. 

“Most of what she said, she’d talked about before in the leadership campaign, so I didn't pick up anything that I was particularly concerned about,” the Thirsk and Malton MP said. 

“I think it's fair to say there will be some resistance to some measures if you're talking about deregulation, and we’ve got to look at every measure on a case-by-case basis. 

“If you're looking to reduce environmental regulations or requirements, for example, or if you're looking to loosen planning restrictions, I can see that how that might benefit economic growth."

But he insisted there needed to be a cost-balance consideration when considering the removal of regulations, that could ultimately aid growth in the long term. 

"Those regulations are there for a reason: to protect the environment, protect the countryside, protect greenbelt land all these things," he continued. 

“We have to tread carefully, and I think all members of parliament will look at these measures very carefully.

“It's absolutely true that our current planning system is an inhibitor of growth but also it's a defender of some of our most precious open spaces."

MP Steve Double said he thought Truss's “point about the anti-growth coalition was a very good one” and pointed to organisations that have “refused to acknowledge the fact that the UK actually leads the world in many environmental things”. 

“We still live in a free society, people are entitled to their views and to express those views within the law however they choose,” the St Austell and Newquay MP said. 

He argued that he believed the UK was already leading the way with environmental protections and tackling climate change, so it was fair to prioritise ways to grow the economy more directly. 

"We've got to make the case more and more that the answer to addressing these issues is not to return us to the Dark Ages, but actually it is through economic growth," he explained. 

"Using our economic power to develop new technologies and to find more sustainable ways of living is actually the key."

Earlier this morning, Labour leader Keir Starmer called Truss “the destroyer of growth” and said her recent plans had amounted to “the absolute opposite of a plan for growth”. 

"She has just passed a kamikaze mini-Budget which has lost control of the economy,” he told BBC Radio Sheffield.

“It’s putting hundreds of pounds on people’s mortgage bills. That is the absolute opposite of a plan for growth. She’s not just anti-growth, she’s the destroyer of growth.”

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