Top Tory Liz Truss blasts Cabinet ministers over 'un-Conservative' tax and spend demands
A top Tory minister is set to blast Cabinet colleagues who are demanding more cash for their departments - arguing tax hikes would be a “contradiction of the Brexit vote”.
Liz Truss will argue fresh spending sprees would be “un-Conservative” and will urge ministers to wring every penny out of existing public spending.
Allies of the Chief Secretary to the Treasury meanwhile said a boost in tax and spend would see the Tories “crushed” at the next general election.
The attack is thought to be aimed at the likes of Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, who warned he could “crush” the Prime Minister unless she hikes funds for the military.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid is also thought to be on the lookout for more cash for police after the Government announced a £20bn annual boost for the NHS - paid for in part by tax rises.
Chancellor Philip Hammond has warned Cabinet members there will be no more money for other departments.
The intervention by Ms Truss - who according to the Telegraph sees the NHS boost as fulfilling a longstanding commitment - will be seen as the first public shot in that battle.
Writing for the paper ahead of a speech in London tonight, Ms Truss said: “My instinct is we can get better value for money for [existing] spending, rather than just upping the budget of every department.
“Government has a responsibility to its people to balance the books and keep taxes as low as we possibly can. We have a responsibility to make sure every pound pulls its weight.”
'BETRAYAL OF BREXIT'
In the speech at the London School of Economics, she is expected to say that colleagues have “not been clear with the public about the tax implications of their proposed higher spending”.
She will brand the demands “unsustainable, unaffordable and un-Conservative”, adding: “It’s not macho to demand more money.
“It’s much tougher - and fairer to people - to demand better value for money”.
And she will argue: “We know that people voted for Brexit because they wanted to take back control of their lives.
“And the public will find it unforgivable and a betrayal of Brexit if, just as we embark on a bright future outside of the European Union, we impose higher and higher taxes on them taking away the control they have over their money.
“This is a complete contradiction of the Brexit vote... the more government spends, the higher taxes have to be.
“And that means businesses and people have less freedom to spend on their own priorities. And that in turn will hamper the success of post-Brexit Britain.”
An ally told the paper: “Liz knows she has a fight on her hands. But she thinks the party will be crushed at the polls if millions of younger people have to cough up more cash in taxes for services they don’t use. She's staggered that others don't see this."
Elsewhere, Ms Truss will fire a shot at Environment Secretary Michael Gove, who has made headlines with promises to ban pollutants such as single-use plastics and wood-burning stoves.
She will say: “Instead of just constantly talking about banning things, like wood-burning stoves, we need to appeal to younger people who have already enjoyed unprecedented freedom and want even more.”
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe