OBR: we offered to update forecasts in time for ‘mini-budget’ – as it happened

Last modified: 08: 41 PM GMT+0

Watchdog said it was ready to supply information, but was not asked to do so by Kwasi Kwarteng

A summary of today's developments

  • The Office of Budget Responsibility has confirmed it could have produced an economic forecast in time for the “mini-budget”, but was not asked to do so by Kwasi Kwarteng. It adds further details to ongoing objections that the chancellor’s move, which included £45bn of tax cuts, without a clear economic forecast to back it up.

  • Liz Truss will now attend a meeting of the European Political Community (EPC) meeting in Prague in October, according to PA Media. It is understood the prime minister wanted to attend because energy and migration, both items on the agenda of the meeting, are two of her priorities and that she sees the need to work with other European leaders to resolve the issues. The move to attend the meeting of the group – French president Emmanuel Macron’s scheme to bring together EU nations and countries outside the bloc – will raise eyebrows given Truss’s explicit scepticism about the project only a few months ago as foreign secretary.

  • A YouGov poll for the Times gives Labour a 33-point lead over the Conservatives, understood to be the biggest gap recorded since the late 1990s.

  • Mel Stride, the Conservative chair of the Commons, has written an open letter to the chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng. Stride asks Kwarteng to bring forward the publication of the medium-term fiscal plan, and the OBR’s new forecast, which are both due on 23 November. Stride says the chancellor contributed to the recent turmoil in the markets by refusing to publish an OBR forecast alongside his mini-budget.

  • The NASUWT has given a formal dispute notice to the Department for Education and other employers over its demand for a 12% pay rise for teachers, with the threat of a strike ballot if that is not met.

  • Liz Truss repeatedly suggested that the “international situation” was primarily responsible for the economic turmoil in the UK markets. But in a speech tonight, Huw Pill, chief economist at the Bank of England, will stress that the mini-budget is a factor, too.

  • Kwasi Kwarteng heightened speculation that benefits won’t be uprated in line with inflation. Asked if he would honour the commitment of the previous government, he said: “We are talking about helping people in the round. It is premature for me to come to a decision on that. But we are absolutely focused on making sure that the most vulnerable in our society are protected through what could be a challenging time.”

  • Labour claimed that Liz Truss “made this disastrous situation even worse” with her BBC local radio interview round this morning. Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, also urged Tory MPs to join Labour and other opposition parties in calling for parliament to be recalled

  • Ed Davey, the Lib Dem leader, renewed his call for the Conservative party conference to be cancelled so that parliament can be recalled.

Ian Blackford MP, the SNP’s Westminster leader, called it “utterly damning” that the government failed to commission a forecast from the OBR.

He said: “The revelation that the OBR offered to provide a forecast to the Chancellor to go alongside his fiscal statement last week, but that it was not commissioned by the Tory government is utterly damning.

“This is in spite of the OBR confirming that it was in a position to produce an updated forecast that satisfied the legal requirements of the Charter for Budget Responsibility.

“Over the past week we have witnessed the devastating impact of the Tory budget, hitting people’s mortgages, putting pensions at risk, and hammering household budgets.

“The Prime Minister and Chancellor cannot keep ducking accountability. They must set out why they did not commission economic forecasts from the OBR to accompany their disastrous budget, and they must recall Parliament urgently and reverse their reckless plans.”


OBR: we offered to update forecasts in time for 'mini-budget'

The Office of Budget Responsibility has confirmed that it could have produced an economic forecast in time for the “mini-budget”, but was not asked to do so by Kwasi Kwarteng.

It adds further details to ongoing objections that the chancellor’s move, which included £45bn of tax cuts, without a clear economic forecast to back it up.

In a letter to the Scottish National Party’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford and the party’s shadow chancellor Alison Thewliss, the chair of the OBR confirmed that the body sent “a draft economic and fiscal forecast to the new chancellor on 6 September, his first day in office”.

Richard Hughes wrote: “We offered, at the time, to update that forecast to take account of subsequent data and to reflect the economic and fiscal impact of any policies the government announced in time for it to be published alongside the ‘fiscal event’.”

“In the event, we were not commissioned to produce an updated forecast alongside the Chancellor’s Growth Plan on 23 September, although we would have been in a position to do so to a standard that satisfied the legal requirements of the Charter for Budget Responsibility.”

Truss 'will attend Macron's European Political Community meeting next month'

Liz Truss will now attend a meeting of the European Political Community (EPC) meeting in Prague in October, according to PA Media.

It is understood that the prime minister wanted to attend because energy and migration, both items on the agenda of the meeting, are two of her priorities and that she sees the need to work with other European leaders to resolve the issues.

The move to attend the meeting of the group – French president Emmanuel Macron’s scheme to bring together EU nations and countries outside the bloc – will raise eyebrows given Truss’s explicit scepticism about the project only a few months ago as foreign secretary.

The decision to attend comes with the EU and the UK still deadlocked over the Northern Ireland protocol, with the government’s plan to rip up the post-Brexit arrangements in the region causing major ill feeling between London and Brussels.

Truss is seeking to strike a rapport with European leaders including European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and Macron after meeting the pair at a UN summit in New York.

It comes after Truss courted controversy during the Tory leadership contest by answering “the jury’s out” on whether Macron was “friend or foe”.

As foreign secretary in June, she also said she did not “buy into” a Europe-wide political community.


Thérèse Coffey is ditching the government’s long-promised white paper on health inequalities, despite the 19-year gap in life expectancy between rich and poor, the Guardian has been told.

The health secretary has decided to not publish a document that was due to set out plans to address the stark inequalities in health that the Covid-19 pandemic exposed.

It was meant to appear by last spring and be a key part of then prime minister Boris Johnson’s declared mission to level up Britain.

It was due to set out “bold action” to narrow the wide inequalities in health outcomes that exist between deprived and well-off areas, between white and BAME populations, and between the north and south of England.


Sir Craig Oliver, David Cameron’s former director of politics and communications, told The News Agents podcast the government was under “enormous pressure” ahead of the Conservative party conference.

“I think the fewer MPs you have at conference, probably the better for her [Truss] because they’re not going to find their way in front of microphones.”


Sir Charles Walker, a Conservative MP, ruled out any immediate leadership challenge to Liz Truss but was highly critical of the approach taken by the government in recent days.

Appearing on Channel 4 News, he admitted that his party would likely lose an election if it was called.

“We’ve made our bed, we’ve got to lie in it,” he said.

“Overall, the statement doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense both to markets and members of parliament. The government needs to recognise that.

“It can’t go blaming journalists for not understanding it, it can’t go blaming what’s going on in the world for the way it has been received.

“It has been received in the way it has been received, because people just didn’t think it added up.”


Polling expert and former strategy director to former prime minister David Cameron, Andrew Cooper, gave his reaction to Liz Truss’s local radio interviews in this evening’s episode of The News Agents podcast.

Lord Cooper told presenters Emily Maitlis and Jon Sopel: “If your starting position is basically to tell a lie, to pretend that something which clearly happened and has clearly gone wrong and clearly wasn’t part of the plan, and to say that hasn’t happened, you know, you’re on incredibly thin ice.

“That’s a terrible strategy for managing a difficult situation.”


Ed Vaizey has been on LBC’s Tonight with Andrew Marr.

Marr asked: You [Tories] are deep, deep in the doo-dah, aren’t you?

Lord Vaizey replied: “I think that’s fair to say. I think the situation is suboptimal, I think is probably the phrase that I’m searching for.

“It has been obviously a disastrous few days for the government.

“I mean, I was pleased, obviously, see the dollar-pound ratio changing, so the pound is now strengthening again.

“And we’re in an appalling position. There are no good choices here.

“It’s quite clear that Liz Truss and Kwazi Kwarteng cannot back down, so a U-turn now will be for them politically disastrous and effectively signing a death warrant for them. But at the same time, what else do they do?”


Liz Truss is continuing to stand by last week’s mini-budget but says she understands that people are facing “difficult times” and the UK is in a “very serious situation.”

In a series of TV interviews with political editors from the BBC’s nations and regions, the prime minister repeatedly blamed the recent turmoil in the financial markets on “global” factors caused by the war in Ukraine.

Tim Iredale, political editor for Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, put it to her that she seemed to be saying, “crisis, what crisis?”.

“I’m not saying that at all”, she replied. “I think we’re in a very serious situation. It’s a global crisis which has been brought about by the aftermath of Covid, and Putin’s war in Ukraine.”

Asked by the Midlands political editor, Elizabeth Glinka, about interest rate rises affecting mortgages, Truss said, “Look, I understand. It’s difficult times for people and we’re facing a difficult winter.”

“We’re working very closely with the Bank of England to deal with the situation”, she told Points West’s David Garmston.


Liz Truss has said she has encouraged all parties in Northern Ireland to get back into devolved government.

“I’m very clear that I want to see all parties part of the assembly and the executive,” she told BBC Northern Ireland.

“I have made it clear to everybody I’ve spoken to that I want to see the executive and the assembly operating. The people of Northern Ireland need a government.

“What I’m about is making sure we restore the primacy of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, that’s what’s important – that we are treating both communities in Northern Ireland fairly.

“So that means having free flowing east west trade, as well as free-flowing north-south trade. It means making sure that the people of Northern Ireland can benefit from the same tax benefits as the people of Great Britain. So, these are fundamental principles that we need to fix in order to resolve the situation in Northern Ireland.

“I’m determined to fix those. We put through the Northern Ireland protocol bill to fix those problems. I’m very clear that I’m open to negotiate a solution, provided it fixes the problems that we’ve identified.”


Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget has gone down badly in the financial markets. Mortgage rates have risen and the Bank of England has been forced to step in to halt a run on pension funds since the chancellor announced his policies on Friday.

The picture is complex and fast-moving, and the jargon used to explain it leaves much of the public feeling more confused. Here we examine 10 of those frequently bandied-around financial terms and concepts and explain what they actually mean.

Following Liz Truss’s comments to BBC Scotland about Scotland’s economic plans, the first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has responded on Twitter.

Hard to know what to say to the suggestion I should mirror policies (tax cuts for richest) that have sunk the £, crashed the mortgage market, pushed pensions to the brink, imperilled public services & forced a Bank of England bailout. What planet is the PM living on? https://t.co/jx91IIJz4R

— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) September 29, 2022


Liz Truss has said she will not allow the impasse over the Northern Ireland protocol to “drift”.

The prime minister reiterated that the UK remained open to a negotiated solution with the EU but again stressed that she would act unilaterally to address issues with the trading arrangements, by way of domestic legislation at Westminster, if a deal with Brussels proved elusive.

She said there was a need to sort the problem one way or the other, as she made clear the ongoing absence of devolved government at Stormont was not sustainable.

In an interview with BBC Northern Ireland, Truss said: “We’ve always been clear that we want to resolve the issues with the Northern Ireland protocol, ideally with a negotiated settlement but we have put through the Northern Ireland protocol bill because we hadn’t been able to achieve a negotiated settlement.

“We will remain open to a negotiated settlement. But there are some fundamental principles that we have to achieve.”

She added: “We are open to a negotiated solution, but we are progressing with the Northern Ireland protocol bill as we stand, because what we can’t allow is this situation to drift.”


Liz Truss has said she wants to work with Scotland’s first minister, despite saying on the campaign trail that she should be ignored.

The prime minister said she would be keen to cooperate with Nicola Sturgeon on growing the Scottish economy and energy generation like nuclear power.

But just minutes later Sturgeon’s deputy, John Swinney, said the SNP had a longstanding aversion to nuclear power that would not be changing.

Truss told BBC Scotland: “What I want to do is work with Nicola Sturgeon to deal with our energy crisis and that’s about making sure we’re producing more homegrown energy - I’m keen to use more of the resources in the North Sea and also see more nuclear power stations built across the country, including in Scotland.

“I’m very keen to talk to Nicola Sturgeon about that because I think that will help us make sure we have long-term energy security that, alongside wind power in Scotland, we also have nuclear power in Scotland.”

When asked if she was playing into the hands of supporters of Scottish independence, the prime minister didn’t answer the question, saying instead: “I am very keen to work with Nicola Sturgeon to make sure we grow the Scottish economy.

“Scotland is a country that has fantastic entrepreneurs, fantastic exports, I believe that by improving infrastructure, by reducing taxes, we can really turbocharge the Scottish economy.”

Truss’s entreaties towards Sturgeon come after she said during a Tory hustings event as she ran for leader of the party Sturgeon was an “attention seeker” who should be ignored.


The former cabinet minister Julian Smith called on the government to “take responsibility” for the market chaos of recent days.

The Government must scrap 45p, take responsibility for the link between last Friday & the impact on peoples mortgages & make clear that it will do everything possible to stabilise markets & protect public services

— Julian Smith MP (@JulianSmithUK) September 29, 2022


The Conservative MP Sir Roger Gale has called for the chancellor to “put flesh on the bones” of his economic policies as he urged that the planned November budget be held next week.

On the Treasury select committee writing to the chancellor urging him to bring his 23 November statement forward to “as early a date as possible”, Gale told Sky News: “Actually, I would prefer to see it sooner than the end of October.

“If the OBR (Office for Budget Responsibility) is going to produce its report by the 7 October, then, frankly, the sooner, the better.

“The problem we’ve got is that the markets have been destabilised because of the mini-budget, which was a broad-brush outline of what the government wanted to do with very little detail.

“The chancellor has got to put the flesh on the bones, has got to spell out his business plan, has got to indicate now very clearly how all of this largesse is going to be paid for and over what period of time.”


Labour party has 33-point lead over Tories in new YouGov poll

A YouGov poll for the Times gives Labour a 33-point lead over the Conservatives, understood to be the biggest gap recorded since the late 1990s.

The polling, carried out on Wednesday and Thursday, recorded 54% saying they would vote Labour and 21% saying they would back Truss’s Tories.

Labour’s lead is fuelled by voters switching directly from the Tories, with 17% of those who backed Boris Johnson in 2019 saying they would vote Labour.

Only 37% of 2019 Conservative voters said they were planning to stick with the party.


Kwarteng criticised for refusing request to give evidence to Commons Treasury committee about mini-budget

Mel Stride, the Conservative chair of the Commons, has written an open letter to the chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng. The main point of the letter is to ask Kwarteng to bring forward the publication of the medium-term fiscal plan, and the OBR’s new forecast, which are both due on 23 November. (A Treasury minister has already implied this will not happen – see 11.36am.) But some of the other points in the letter are more critical.

  • Stride says that Kwarteng contributed to the recent turmoil in the markets by refusing to publish an OBR forecast alongside his mini-budget. He says:

The fiscal impact of your growth plan significantly exceeds that of a typical budget and yet there was no OBR forecast to accompany it. It is hard to conclude other than that an absence of a forecast has in some part driven the lack of confidence in the markets. Some have formed the unfortunate impression that the government may be seeking to avoid scrutiny, possibly on account of expecting the OBR forecast to be unsupportive of the achievement of the economic outcomes the government expects from the growth plan, including 2.5% trend growth in the medium term.

There is nothing surprising about this analysis; it is what anybody trying to explain the fall in the value of sterling and the rise in government borrowing costs has been saying (with some eccentric exceptions). But few Tory MPs have been saying this out loud.

  • Stride reveals that Kwarteng is refusing to appear before the Treasury select committee to give evidence about his mini-budget. The mini-budget was described as the biggest tax announcement for 50 years, and normally a chancellor would come to the committee soon afterwards to take questions on an announcement like this. But Stride says Kwarteng has refused an invitation to appear, and wants to delay giving evidence until after he has delivered the medium-term fiscal plan in late November. Stride called this “disappointing” and said previous chancellors had not acted like this.

  • Stride says that Kwarteng has already received an “initial baseline” forecast from the OBR and he challenges him to publish it immediately.

That’s all from me for today.

My colleague Nadeem Badshah is taking over now.


The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the anti-poverty charity, has said it would be “morally indefensible” for the government to not uprate benefits in line with inflation (see 4.29pm) while giving tax cuts to the rich. Iain Porter, senior policy adviser at the JRF, said:

It is shocking to hear the government suggesting that they may not do what Rishi Sunak promised and uprate benefits by inflation next April as usual. This will mean yet another devastating blow to the finances of people on the lowest incomes and will cause fear for millions who have spent the past months struggling to feed their families, cook hot food and heat their homes.

Many people across the UK will agree it is morally indefensible that the prime minister would choose to give tax cuts to the richest funded on the backs of the poorest in our society. Those who will lose out if the government continues down this track include people with low earnings, families with children, carers and people who are sick or disabled.


NASUWT issues strike threat to Department of Education over pay

The NASUWT has today given a formal dispute notice to the Department for Education and other employers over its demand for a 12% pay rise for teachers, with the threat of a strike ballot if that is not met.

Patrick Roach, general secretary of the NASUWT, said:

A 5% pay award for 2022-23 is an insult with inflation running in the double digits and following a decade of real-terms pay cuts to teachers’ salaries.

The failure to invest in teachers will only further undermine the recruitment and retention of teachers and the continued provision of high-quality education for children and young people.

Ministers have failed to respond to our calls for negotiations and, once again, we are calling on them to get around the table to find a solution in order to avert potential industrial action.

Responsibility for any future industrial action now rests firmly and squarely with government and employers.

The NASUWT is traditionally the more moderate of England’s two main teaching unions but this year’s annual conference revealed pent-up anger over a string of low pay rises. The National Education Union has also said it will ballot its members over industrial action unless an “inflation-plus” pay offer is made.

Patrick Roach.
Patrick Roach, NASUWT general secretary. Photograph: Simon Boothe/NASUWT/PA


Bank of England economist defends BoE waiting until November for next interest rate decision

Liz Truss, in her interviews this morning, repeatedly suggested that the “international situation” was primarily responsible for the economic turmoil in the UK markets. But in a speech tonight, Huw Pill, chief economist at the Bank of England, will stress that the mini-budget is a factor, too.

According to the text, released in advance, Pill will say:

Over the course of the past week, there has be a significant repricing of financial assets. Part of that repricing reflects broader global developments. Part of it reflects the ongoing normalisation of macroeconomic policy after the pandemic-induced episode of exceptional ease. But there is undoubtedly a UK-specific component.

The Bank of England’s monetary policy committee is not due to make another decision about interest rates until its meeting in November and, in his speech, Pill will defend not acting earlier. He will say:

I recognise that, as of today, November might seem a long time away.

For algorithmic traders, even nanoseconds can represent a long time. The media or political cycle operates over a matter of hours. And, as we saw yesterday, acting to sustain orderly markets may also require action at short order.

But monetary policy needs to be framed on a more considered or lower frequency basis, reflecting both the famously ‘long and variable lags’ in the transmission of monetary policy to price developments, as well as the need to distinguish signal from noise in the flow of incoming data and analysis.

And, repeating a line already used by the Bank, Pill will say “it is hard to avoid the conclusion” the tax cuts announced last week “will prompt a significant and necessary monetary policy response in November”. He is referring to a rate rise.

Huw Pill.
Huw Pill. Photograph: Bloomberg/Getty Images


Kwarteng says it would be 'premature' to decide if benefits will, as normal, rise in line with inflation

In May, when the then chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced a £15bn package of measures to help people with rising energy costs, he said that he expected benefits for next year to be uprated in line with the inflation figure for September, as usual. That would mean “a very significant increase in benefits next year, in excess of the rate of inflation, which will be very positive for those in receipt of them”, he told MPs.

But that no longer applies. Last night, on ITV’s Peston, Chris Philp, the chief secretary to the Treasury, refused to commit to uprating benefits in line with inflation. And on his visit to Darlington Kwasi Kwarteng heightened speculation that benefits won’t be uprated in line with inflation. Asked if he would honour the commitment of the previous government, he said:

We are talking about helping people in the round. It is premature for me to come to a decision on that. But we are absolutely focused on making sure that the most vulnerable in our society are protected through what could be a challenging time.

The next question was about whether Kwarteng was committed to maintaining the triple lock, which ensures that the state pension rises in line with earnings, or inflation, or 2.5%, whichever is higher, and this time his answer was very different. He said:

The prime minister has been absolutely committed to the triple lock and we are absolutely committed to maintaining it.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Kwasi Kwarteng. Photograph: BBC News


Union leaders say they fear 'new era of austerity'

Ministers “need to be honest with the public” that services will stop or be scaled back, the head of the union representing senior civil servants has said, amid fears a “new era of austerity” is about to be unleashed.

Concern was expressed by trade unions representing public sector workers today in response to reports that departments are being asked to draw up plans for cuts as a result of the crisis sparked by the mini-budget.

Civil service departments were already delivering an average of 5% efficiency savings agreed as part of a review last year, yet it now appeared the government was asking for those plans to be ripped up “in a state of panic”, said Dave Penman, the general secretary of the FDA union, which represents senior civil servants. He went on:

If the government refuses to compensate public services for soaring inflation, or even cut their budgets back further, they need to be honest with the public. Services are going to stop or be scaled back and the government needs to be accountable for those decisions.

Calling for a general election, Unison’s general secretary, Christina McAnea, said:

Ministers must listen to the world’s economic experts urging them to junk this disastrous financial experiment. Suggestions that benefits won’t rise with soaring inflation and beleaguered public services are to be squeezed is a terrifying prospect. The government seems to have no idea of the damage its foolhardy approach is wreaking.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the ASCL was extremely concerned about the “bleak prospects” for the UK economy after the mini-budget. “There are many implications but one of the most worrying is that this will lead to a new era of austerity for public services, including education,” he said.


Mini-budget will have 'almost negligible' impact on growth, creating extra tax revenue of just £6bn, says thinktank

The note for Tory MPs about the mini-budget obtained by Adam Payne (see 2.10pm) says it will “put the UK on a path to higher growth”. It even quotes figures from the growth plan document suggesting the measures could increase tax revenues by £47bn a year after five years (although it does not quote the small print in the document saying the £47bn figure is “purely illustrative” and does “not provide an assessment of what effect the policy package will have”.)

But today the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change has published a report saying that the impact of the measures in the mini-budget on growth will be “almost negligible”. It is based on an analysis of the proposal carried out by the thinktank in conjunction with Oxford Economics, economic forecasting specialists. The report says:

While support for household and business energy bills makes a material difference to economic growth in the short term, we find that the growth plan tax cuts have an almost negligible impact on the size of the economy by the end of the forecast period, with output only around 0.4 per cent higher by 2027–28 than it would have been without the tax cuts. The growth plan’s tax measures therefore look set to fall well short of the chancellor’s stated aim of boosting GDP growth back to 2.5 per cent from the OBR’s previous assessment of trend growth settling at around 1.7 per cent per year.

The report also says that the extra tax revenue generated by this extra growth will be just £6bn – a fraction the amount being spent by the government on the tax cuts. It says:

With the economy ending the forecast period 0.4 per cent bigger than it would be without the growth plan, additional tax revenue from this higher economic output pushes in the other direction. However, we estimate that this revenue boost is likely to be only around £6 billion by 2027–28 – a small fraction of the fiscal cost of the measures themselves.


Kwarteng rejects calls for mini-budget to be shelved, saying 'we're sticking to growth plan'

Kwasi Kwarteng, the chancellor, has rejected calls from the opposition for the mini-budget to be shelved. Speaking on a visit in Darlington, asked if he had message for the financial markets, he replied:

Absolutely. We are sticking to the growth plan and we are going to help people with energy bills. That’s my two top priorities.

The growth plan was the Treasury title for the mini-budget.

Kwasi Kwarteng arriving at Darlington station.
Kwasi Kwarteng arriving at Darlington station. Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA


Unite and Unison accept improved pay deal for council workers in Scotland

Scotland’s public sector unions have accepted an increased pay offer brokered by Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister, which led them to suspend strikes in schools and refuse collections next week.

In an escalating protest against a 3.5% national pay offer that saw mountains of refuse in Edinburgh last month, Unison, Unite and the GMB were due to strike for three days in schools in 11 council areas, with refuse workers following suit. That action was suspended after the offer was tabled earlier this month.

Unite and Unison said today its members have accepted a deal equivalent to a 10% pay increase for the lowest paid. The GMB had already backed it. Those under £20,500 will get a flat rate rise of £2,000; those earning up to £39,000 a rise of £1,925, with a 5% increase for those earning up to £60,000, with a maximum of £3,000 for those over £60,000.

Other public services under Scottish government control, including the nationalised rail operator ScotRail, midwives, schools and universities, still face industrial action as unions battle against low pay offers from employers, putting Sturgeon under even greater pressure over public spending.

The EIS, Scotland’s largest teachers’ union, has recommended strike action in schools over a 5% pay offer. It announced today it has started balloting for strike action by its university members, urging them to reject a 3% offer. Unite began balloting members at 11 universities on Tuesday.

Non-teaching staff at Dundee university have been striking over pension cuts for up to four weeks. RMT members in ScotRail will strike on 1, 8 and 10 October – the last day of this year’s Scottish National party annual conference in Aberdeen. The Royal College of Midwives opened a ballot on industrial action on Thursday.


41% of mortgage products taken off market since mini-budget, latest figures show

And here is more from Julia Kollewe on the business blog on mortgage products being taken off the market since Friday. She says:

Forty-one per cent of mortgage products have been taken off the market since Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget last Friday, which sparked panic in financial markets, and expectations of a jump in the Bank of England’s base rate to 6% by next summer.

A further 321 products were withdrawn overnight, on top of the record 935 pulled the day before, according to Moneyfacts.

Between Friday and today a total of 1,621 residential mortgage products have been withdrawn leaving 2,340 on sale today.

According to Defaqto, more than 20 providers have withdrawn their entire fixed rate mortgage range.

Katie Brain of Defaqto says: “What products are left are changing at a rapid pace, lenders seem to be really unsure of what to offer and what price with so many changes in the money markets at the moment.”

There is more on the business live blog here.


Adam Payne from Politics Home has obtained a copy of the briefing note prepared by CCHQ for Tory MPs with lines to take that defend the government’s handling of the economy.

Like the comments made by Liz Truss in her morning interviews (see 9.26am), the notes do not address the point that it was the nature of the mini-budget on Friday that triggered the current shock to borrowing. As Julia Kollewe reports on her business live blog, 41% of mortgage products now have been taken off the market since the mini-budget was delivered.

The CCHQ document also has nothing to say that might help Tory MPs asked to explain why it was justified introducing tax cuts that predominantly benefit the richest 5%.

Exc: Here are the CCHQ lines for Tory MPs amid ongoing financial turmoil

They’re told to insist government plans are “responsible” and stress that other counties face disruption

One subheading says gov is “committed to responsible economic management” https://t.co/EFHyBoxI80 pic.twitter.com/C8N1P3n2CP

— Adam Payne (@adampayne26) September 29, 2022

Union leaders demand 'cast-iron assurance' from Truss that she rule out real-terms cuts to public services

Union leaders are demanding a “cast-iron assurance” from Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng, the chancellor, that there will be no real-terms cuts to public services.

They have asked for a meeting with Truss and Kwarteng in an open letter, prompted by reports saying cabinet ministers are being told that they must manage within existing budgets, even though inflation means they may be going down in real terms. As Chris Philp, chief secretary to the Treasury, confirmed this morning (see 8am), ministers are also being asked to make “efficiency savings”.

In the letter, Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, and the leaders of 18 individuals unions say:

Strong public services are vital to this nation’s health and the economy.

But since 2010 our hospitals, schools, councils, care homes, prisons and other essential services have been forced to absorb savage spending cuts. And every month the bills they face are rising, leaving much less for actual services …

Prime Minister – you promised in your leadership election campaign that there would be no reduction in public spending.

But according to reports, another wave of crippling austerity could be on its way in November in order to fund tax cuts for the super-rich.

This would be an act of national vandalism and a huge betrayal of the British people.

We therefore seek an urgent meeting with you and the chancellor, and a cast-iron assurance that you will not make further real-terms cuts to public services – now or in the future.

Frontline services are already at breaking point. They must not be sacrificed to make the top 1% even richer.

Unions will not sit by and allow the government to impoverish public services and the amazing staff who deliver them.

We won’t allow the social fabric of this country to be destroyed.

Apart from O’Grady, the other signatories are: Christina McAnea (Unison), Sharon Graham (Unite), Gary Smith (GMB), Kevin Courtney and Mary Bousted (NEU), Patrick Roach (NASUWT), Paul Whiteman (NAHT), Gill Walton (RCM), Matt Wrack (FBU), Mark Serwotka (PCS), Mike Clancy (Prospect), Dave Penman (FDA), Steve Gillan (POA), Iain Lawrence (NAPO), Roy Rickhuss (Community), Karen Middleton (CSP), Mark Sargeant (RCP), Annette Mansell-Green (BDA) and Paul Donaldson (HCSA).

Frances O’Grady.
Frances O’Grady. Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters


SNP says 'reckless, clueless' Truss failed to provide reassurance with 'car crash interviews'

The SNP also says Liz Truss’s morning interviews have made the case for a recall of parliament even stronger. In a statement Ian Blackford, the SNP leader at Westminster, said:

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.

Parliament must be recalled immediately and an emergency statement must be brought forward to reverse the damage of the Tory budget and prevent a catastrophic economic crash.

If this tin-eared prime minister refuses to act - then she should step aside and let someone else do the right thing before millions of people suffer.

No one will feel reassured after the prime minister’s car crash radio interviews this morning - and the longer she refuses to act the more damage she will do.

Ian Blackford
Ian Blackford. Photograph: James Manning/PA


Labour urges Tory MPs to join calls for recall of parliament, saying Truss's interviews 'made disastrous situation worse'

Labour has claimed that Liz Truss “made this disastrous situation even worse” with her BBC local radio interview round this morning.

In a statement Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, also urged Tory MPs to join Labour and other opposition parties in calling for parliament to be recalled. 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.

If the prime minister continues to prioritise saving her face over saving people’s homes, Tory MPs must join Labour in calling for parliament to be recalled so this kamikaze budget can be reversed.

Failure to do so will make them complicit in this reckless bout of economic self-harm.

Rachel Reeves.
Rachel Reeves. Photograph: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images


Here is a clip from Liz Truss’s interview with Radio Norfolk earlier.

Lib Dem leader Ed Davey renews call for parliament to be recalled

Ed Davey, the Lib Dem leader, has renewed his call for the Conservative party conference to be cancelled so that parliament can be recalled. 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.

In one fell swoop, Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng crashed the economy, trashed the pound and paved the way for record interest rate rises.

Innocent mortgage borrowers will be left to pick up the bill of this gross incompetence. It is time parliament is recalled and new measures passed to save families and pensioners unable to cope with this mortgage crisis. This botched budget cannot survive any longer.


Ken Clarke urges government to make statement soon to reassure markets

Ken Clarke, the former Conservative chancellor, has told Times Radio that the government needs to make a statement soon to calm the markets in the light of the crisis generated by the mini-budget. He said:

Ideally, that statement should come in the next two or three days. But we don’t want [to rush] into something else more stupid.

Basically, we can’t have both the government and the Bank [of England] saying that they’re not able to do anything more till November, that would be very, very worrying.

If the pound sinks any further, then they will have to perhaps retract some of the measures.

This morning Chris Philp, the chief secretary to the Treasury, seemed to rule out the publication of the medium-term fiscal plan being brought forward to provide early reassurance. (See 11.36am.)

Clarke, who has been caustic in his criticism of the mini-budget in recent days, also said no other Conservative government in his lifetime would have made a mistake like this. He said:

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 [Thatcher] 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.


Scotland's deputy first minister says Truss's stance on mini-budget unsustainable

John Swinney, Scotland’s deputy first minister and a former finance secretary, told MSPs this morning that he thought the UK’s defence of the mini-budget was unsustainable. Giving evidence to the Covid-19 committee at Holyrood, he said:

If the UK financial system is going to collapse, they will have to change it. It is a mess this morning, an absolute mess, a total mess. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.

So how that will prevail I have no idea.

Why is that happening? It’s because the markets don’t believe the UK any longer believes in fiscal sustainability.

If the UK government wants to prove to the markets that the UK government still believes in fiscal sustainability, and it wants to protect that tax position it set out last Friday, it’s only got one place to go - reducing spending.

Swinney also said he did not see the mini-budget as Conservative. He told another committee of MSPs:

I actually wouldn’t accuse [the plans] of being Conservative, there’s certain protections of core values that are associated with Conservatism and I don’t recognise that in the financial statement from last Friday.

John Swinney.
John Swinney. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images


Treasury minister seems to rule out bringing forward publication of medium-term fiscal plan

Kwasi Kwarteng, the chancellor, is under pressure to bring forward the publication of his medium-term fiscal plan. This week he said the plan, which will explain how the government intends to meet its fiscal rules, and bring debt down in the medium term, and which will coincide with the publication of an economic forecast from the Office for Budget Responsibility, would be set out on 23 November. Some Tories say that is too long to wait for an announcement that could settle the market.

But in his interview with the Today programme this morning Chris Philp, the chief secretary to the Treasury, appeared to rule out the date changing. Asked if there were any circumstances in which it might be brought forward, he replied: “The statement is fixed for 23rd.”


Labour has restated its call for the government to reconsider its mini-budget. Pat McFadden, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, told BBC News:

This was a reckless act of choice which has wreaked havoc in financial markets. We had the extraordinary intervention by the Bank of England to stop major pension funds going off a cliff.

It is really important now that we try to get some stability back into those markets and in the longer term restore the economic credibility of the country.


This is from Sky’s Scott Beasley, underline why Liz Truss’s refusal to accept that the mini-budget was linked to turmoil in the mortgage market was misguided.

🏡 Mortgage market - fully 40% of products now taken off the market since the ‘mini budget’

📉 Further 321 products withdrawn overnight

📉 On top of a record 935 withdrawn day before

So in just 6 days since Chancellor spoke:

📉 1,621 products withdrawn-leaving 2,340 on sale

— Scott Beasley (@SkyScottBeasley) September 29, 2022

Truss criticised for wrongly saying no household will pay more than £2,500 under energy price guarantee

In her interview round this morning Liz Truss sometimes gave the impression that her energy price guarantee will mean that no household will face a fuel bill of more than £2,500 a year.

That is not correct. Under the plan, unit prices are capped at a rate that means that the average household will pay no more than £2,500. But if you use more gas and electricity than average homes do, you will pay more. By the laws of maths, half of people will pay more than the average. [See footnote for update]

Some of the reporting on this probably has not been as clear as it should have been because headlines resist subtlety and making the point that average bills are notionally capped at £2,500 a year probably means more to people than explaining that unit prices are actually capped at 34.0p/kWh for electricity and 10.3p/kWh for gas.

In her interviews, when talking about the £2,500 figures, Truss mostly said it applied to a “typical” bill. (Typical is not the same as average, but never mind.)

But sometimes she said all bills would be capped at £2,500. She told Radio Leeds that people in West Yorkshire would not face energy bills of £6,000. She went on: “Through the energy price guarantee, the maximum will be £2,500.” And she told Radio Lancashire: “This is why we’ve taken action to make sure people’s bills are no more than £2,500.”

The fact checking organisation Full Fact has criticised Truss for misleading voters. Will Moy, the organisation’s chief executive, 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.

£2500 is *not* the maximum any family will pay on their energy bills this year.
We wrote to the PM about getting this wrong yesterday.

This morning, she’s repeated the false claim again in local BBC interviews.

The public deserves better.https://t.co/zphIoe0PwL

— Full Fact (@FullFact) September 29, 2022

UPDATE: Thank you to all the readers who queried the statement: “By the laws of maths, half of people will pay more than the average.” You are right to say that that is not accurate if you take average to mean mean (the total of all payments, divided by the number of people who pay). It is only technically accurate if you take average to mean median (the payment exactly at mid point between the highest and the lowest). I’m afraid I was using the word in a general sense, to try to make a point with some force and clarity.


Truss's interview round - verdict from Twitter commentariat

And this is what journalists and commentators are saying on Twitter about Liz Truss’s morning interview round. The verdict is harsh.

From the Observer’s Toby Helm

Hearing Liz Truss speaking on local radio saying the mini budget is going according to plan in the face of terrifying evidence is unsustainable. Blind to reality, which was the problem in the first place

— Toby Helm (@tobyhelm) September 29, 2022

From the Mail on Sunday’s Dan Hodges

Liz Truss currently sounds like a pre-recorded message telling you she's sorry the Government is out, but please call back later.

— (((Dan Hodges))) (@DPJHodges) September 29, 2022

This is a terrible media round from Liz Truss. Robotic. Totally lacking in empathy. But it's also revealing the fundamental problem. The policy itself is utterly, completely and totally indefensible.

— (((Dan Hodges))) (@DPJHodges) September 29, 2022

If you're just waking up, Liz Truss is a doing her regional broadcast round, and that sound you can hear is the Red Wall collapsing...

— (((Dan Hodges))) (@DPJHodges) September 29, 2022

That was an utter disaster for Liz Truss. But there was no way it couldn't have been a disaster. There is nothing left to debate now. She either reverses course, or she gets wiped out politically. Those are the choices she faces.

— (((Dan Hodges))) (@DPJHodges) September 29, 2022

From my colleague Pippa Crerar

Tough time on @BBCBristol - Truss asked about making bad situation worse & BoE stepping in to “clear up the mess”.

PM blames Putin & says it’s “right that govt takes action” but @jhansonradio points out market jitters were result of mini budget.

She even laughs at one point.

— Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) September 29, 2022

From Politics Home’s Alan White

Truss really needs to spell out the long-term benefits of her plans in detail and show how people will be protected from e.g. home repossessions. She did neither this morning and the markets reacted accordingly

— Alan White (@aljwhite) September 29, 2022

From the Telegraph’s Jack Maidment

Liz Truss insisted economic chaos is not confined to the UK and there are "stormy times" across the world.

She refused to accept the mini-Budget had played any sort of role in the instability we have seen domestically since last Friday.

Safe to say a lot of people disagree.

— Jack Maidment (@jrmaidment) September 29, 2022

Not sure why No 10 thought a regional radio round was a good idea.

It was eight five-minute interviews in a row of Liz Truss being asked the same bruising questions over and over again.

One of the more brutal morning rounds I can remember.

— Jack Maidment (@jrmaidment) September 29, 2022

From ITV’s Paul Brand

I had the great job of doing these regional interviews with PMs ahead of conferences for years and I can’t remember a more brutal round for a Prime Minister. But Liz Truss is utterly doubling down.

— Paul Brand (@PaulBrandITV) September 29, 2022

From the Observer’s Sonia Sodha

My god this is gaslighting on a humongous scale.

— Sonia Sodha (@soniasodha) September 29, 2022

Her strategy just seems to be to pretend she’s living in an alternate reality. And to blame it all on the international situation.

— Sonia Sodha (@soniasodha) September 29, 2022

From the Times’ Steven Swinford

Liz Truss broadcast round:

* £45bn tax-cutting budget was 'right thing to do'

* Hits back at unfairness criticism. 'It's not fair to have a recession'

* Pitch based on counterfactual - bills would be higher, growth would be worse

* Says you can't rule out fracking in Lancs

— Steven Swinford (@Steven_Swinford) September 29, 2022

From the i’s Paul Waugh

This silence spoke volumes.
Truss: "Too often, tax policy has just been seen as being about redistribution. It's not. It's also about how we grow the size of the pie so that everyone can benefit "@johnacres48: "By borrowing more and putting our mortgages up."
Truss:..long pause

— Paul Waugh (@paulwaugh) September 29, 2022

From my colleague John Crace

There's a job waiting for Liz Truss in an automated call centre

— John Crace (@JohnJCrace) September 29, 2022

From City AM’s Jack Mendel

It's actually astonishing that Liz Truss is trying to claim this is a 'global problem', when her party spent five years of coalition blaming an actual global financial crash on the Labour Party [when Gordon Brown actually *saved* banks by bringing them into public ownership]

— Jack Mendel 🗞️ (@Mendelpol) September 29, 2022

From Byline Times’ Adam Bienkov

That has to be the most brutal round of local radio interviews I've ever heard a Prime Minister face.

Not a single note of contrition from Liz Truss, or even the slightest indication she plans to change course in any way.

— Adam Bienkov (@AdamBienkov) September 29, 2022

From the New Statesman’s Adrian Bradley

genuinely believe Liz Truss would have been smarter to have done the Today programme this morning. It's much easier to waffle one 15 minute interview than 10 individually specialist ones with presenters that know their area way better than you do.

— Adrian Bradley (@adebradley) September 29, 2022


This is from Bloomberg’s Kitty Donaldson. (In simple terms, yields going up is bad.)

As Liz Truss was speaking the yield on the U.K. 10-year gilt rose as much as 21 basis points to 4.22% undoing some of the rally the Bank of England provided yesterday by its action pic.twitter.com/uRy8tuaIrQ

— Kitty Donaldson (@kitty_donaldson) September 29, 2022

My colleague Julia Kollewe has more on the business live blog. She says Truss and Chris Philp, the chief secretary to the Treasury, who was also giving interviews this morning, appear to have done little to reassure markets.

Liz Truss's local radio interview round - snap verdict

Liz Truss is in denial. That is the primary takeaway from this morning’s BBC local radio interview round. She was asked repeatedly about the economic turmoil unleashed by the mini-budget last Friday, which has pushed up government borrowing costs, and which is set to push up mortgage rates more sharply than was expected because it included unfunded tax cuts and traders do not believe the government’s claim that they will eventually pay for themselves through higher growth. But instead she would not address this point at all, and instead she insisted on regurgitating a series of red herring talking points.

She claimed that the “vast majority” of what was announced on Friday related to the energy bills package. This is true in the sense that, for the first time on Friday, Kwasi Kwarteng, the chancellor, put a price tag on the energy bills measures already announced and that, at £60bn for six months, this cost more than the tax cuts. But these measures had already been announced, and the price was no surprise. It was not that that spooked the markets. It was the unfunded tax cuts, the spurious claims about the impact they might have on growth (not backed by an OBR analysis), and the hint on Sunday from Kwarteng that the government would go further.

Truss claimed that this was a global crisis, caused by Vladimir Putin. In terms of energy prices, she is absolutely right. But the energy bills package did not cause the current turmoil. And it was not Putin’s decision to abolish the 45% highest rate of tax in the UK, to ban the OBR from producing a new economic forecast, or accelerate a programme of unfunded tax cuts.

And, when asked about interest rates, Truss tried to imply that was nothing to do with her, because they are set by the independent Bank of England. They are. But the Bank responds to decisions taken by the government. Her answers on this were not quite dishonest, but they were certainly disingenuous.

Truss is not daft and she must know that the ‘lines to take’ she is relying upon do not address the questions she needs to answer. The BBC radio presenters who were interviewing her could tell she was flannelling, and Tory MPs who were listening will have thought the same. It is hard to see her getting through Conservative party conference without better answers than these.


Q: What are you doing to help people who need real help?

Truss says the energy bills package will reduce prices overall. It will cut the costs of food production.

Q: Why won’t you put a windfall tax on energy companies?

Truss says that will put off people investing in the UK.

Over the past decade high taxes have not encouraged investment.

Q: Stoke needs private investment. Where will that come from?

Truss says this is her point. She wants to deliver an environment where investment is attractive.

And that is it. The PM’s BBC local radio interview round is over. I’ll sum it up shortly.

Q: The average salary in Stoke is £25,000. The lowest paid will gain just £22 from your tax cuts. But the highest earners will gain £10,000.

Truss says she wants wages in Stoke to go up.

She says she is surprised that it is being suggested that the government should not have acted on energy bills.

(That is not being suggested by anyone.)


And now the final interview of the local radio round. It is BBC Radio Stoke. John Acres is presenting.

Q: People are worried about their mortages. Higher mortgage costs will dwarf what savings you have offered. And this is caused by your mini-budget.

Truss says interest rates are a matter for the independent Bank of England. She says they are going up around the world.

She repeats her claim that the “vast majority” of what was announced on Friday was about energy bills.

(That’s not correct. The energy bills package had already been announced, and did not feature much in Kwasi Kwarteng’s speech. The package did not spook the markets. It was the funded tax cuts that did, and Kwarteng’s comment at the weekend about how they might go further.)


Hanson says people are not objecting to the PM’s energy support package. They are objecting to the tax cuts, that were unfair and unfunded, and spooked the markets. You used to believe in sound money. Have you changed your mind?

Truss says she still does believe in sound money.

It is important to have low taxes, she says.

Truss suggests Putin primarily to blame for UK's economic crisis

Next we go to BBC Radio Bristol, where James Hanson is presenting.

Liz Truss is delivering the spiel about cutting energy bills.

Q: The Bank of England has had to step in to clean up the mess you caused. This has never happened.

Truss says we are facing a difficult global situation.

Q: But this is not about Putin?

Truss says this is about Putin and the war in Ukraine.

She claims the “vast majority” of the package announced on Friday was about energy support.

Q: You did not have to make it worse. You spooked the markets. Can you guarantee that pensions are safe?

Truss says the Bank of England does a very good job delivering financial stability.

She says:

This is a global financial situation. Currencies are under pressure around the world.


Q: Final question. What is your message for people?

Truss says this is a difficult time, but the government is determined to help people through the winter, deliver jobs and boost growth.

Q: Child poverty has increased in the north-east in the 12 years the Tories have been in power. What are you doing about it?

Truss says she wants to get more people into work and high-paid jobs. That is what the mini-budget is doing.

Liz Truss is now on Radio Tees, where Amy Oakden is interviewing her.

Q: How will tax cuts for the wealthiest help people who are not wealthy?

Truss says she is cutting taxes across the board.

The basic rate of tax is being cut, and national insurance.

Q: People are scared their pensions will be worthless.

Truss says the government has taken decisive action to cut energy bills, and get the economy moving.

Q: You have knocked 40% off people’s pensions.

Truss says we are facing a global economic crisis because of the war in Ukraine. Higher taxes would lead to a recession. She wants people to stay in jobs. That is why she cut taxes.

The government is also building things like roads, and broadband infrastructure.

Q: You won’t answer the questions about fairness.

Truss says it is not fair to have a recession, or to have towns without investment, or to have the highest tax burden for 70 years.

Q: Is there any evidence cutting taxes for the wealthy will reduce inequality?

Truss replies:

There is is plenty of evidence that if you have very high taxes, they lead to lower economic growth. There is plenty of evidence of that.

Truss refuses to acknowledge that mini-budget has made higher interest rates more likely

Q: People are worried about being able to keep their homes?

Truss says it is an important principle that interest rates are set by the Bank of England.

She has used this line several times now. She is refusing to accept the mini-budget has made higher interest rates more likely.

It is BBC Radio Nottingham next, and Sarah Julian is interviewing Liz Truss.

Q: Your mini-budget has made the situation worse?

Truss says the energy package will reduce inflation by up to 5%, as well as increasing growth. This is a global situation.

Q: But the mini-budget will benefit the rich much more than anyone else. It is like a reverse Robin Hood, isn’t it?

Truss says that is not true.

She says the biggest part of the package she announced was the support on energy bills. Pubs were at risk of going out of business.

Q: You have given a huge tax cut to the highest earners. Will your red wall supporters still back you? Is that fair?

Truss says she acted to protect people from high energy bills. It is the biggest thing in the mini-budget just announced.

Q: Interest rates are going sky high.

Truss says interest rates are a matter for the Bank of England. She says they are going up around the world.

She repeats the point about this being a global situation.


Q: Why can’t you tell us there will be no fracking in Lancashire. People do not want it?

Truss says the government is still exploring where there might be consent for fracking.

Liver asks about a fracking site in Lancashire. Truss says she has not visited it. He suggests she should.

Truss does not back Rees-Mogg calling opponents of fracking 'luddites'

Graham Liver on BBC Radio Lancashire is now getting his slot with Liz Truss.

Q: Do you agree with Jacob Rees-Mogg that people opposed to fracking are luddites?

Truss says: “I would not have put it like that.”


Q: What will you do about small boats crossing the Channel?

Truss says she will stick to the Rwanda plan. She goes on:

What we will make sure is that UK courts can’t be overruled by the European court of human rights.

So we are able to deal with a small boats crisis and the home secretary is determined to get on with that.

That is the BBC Radio Kent interview over.


Truss says 'difficult international situation' contributes to UK's problems

Q: Are you ashamed of what you have done?

Truss says we have to remember what people were facing – fuel bills going up to £6,000, rising inflation and slow growth.

Now people are not facing those fuel bill rises.

Q: But people are worried about their mortgages and their pensions.

Truss says her measures will reduce inflation.

(She is talking about the energy price guarantee, which will reduce inflation. But the min-budget will put it up.)

She repeats the point about taking decisive action. It would have been “unconscionable” to allow people to go into the winter facing high energy bills.

Q: We saw the pound dive. We cannot have our economic system undermined like this.

Truss says the government is working with the Bank of England. She goes on: “We face a difficult international situation.”


Liz Truss is due on Radio Kent next. You can listen here.

Truss indicates she won't change course, saying she set out 'right plan' in mini-budget

Q: Does a strong leader plough on, or does a strong leader change course when necessary?

Truss replies:

This is the right plan that we have set out.

This is about making sure people are going into the winter not worried about high fuel bills, which is what we were looking at.

It was simply unconscionable that we could have allowed that to happen.


Truss says she has to do 'what I believe is right' when asked about criticism of mini-budget

Q: Can you reassure listeners that your judgment is better than that of people like the IMF and the Bank of England, who have criticised the mini-budget?

Truss says:

I have to do what I believe is right for the country and what is going to help move our country forward.


Liz Truss is on Radio Norfolk now, being interviewed by Chris Goreham.

She is talking about the energy package again.

(The announcement of the energy price guarantee did not crash the pound. So far, what she has said has been completely missing the point.)

Truss says the government is getting things done to get the economy moving.

Ahmed plays a clip from someone talking about how they are struggling with bills. She says the clip is heartbreaking to listen to.

Truss says it is clearly “very, very difficult” for people like Lee (who was quoted). The package on energy bills will stop people facing energy bills of £6,000. The maximum will be £2,500.

She says the government is trying to help people like Lee.

That’s it. Next it’s Radio Norfolk.


Truss says the government is working closely with the Bank of England.

We are facing very difficult economic times, she says.

But the government has acted on fuel bills, she says.

She says those measures will take effect this weekend.

Truss defends mini-budget, says she is prepared to take 'controversial and difficult decisions'

Liz Truss is on the show.

She says she has slept well, and “it’s great to be here”.

Rima Ahmed points out that the pound has hit a record low, the IMF has called for a rethink and the Bank of England has spent £65bn propping up the markets. “Where have you been?”

Truss says people were facing energy bills of up to £6,000 this winter. The government had to take decisive action.

Q: But that was before the mini-budget. We have not heard from you for four days.

Truss says she is here today.

She says the government had to take urgent action, on fuel bills, and to get the economy moving.]

That means taking controversial and difficult decisions.

She wants to get the economy moving.

Q: How has your risk gone?

Truss says it means people and businesses will be paying lower taxes. It has meant infrastructure projects will go ahead. And it has protected people from rising fuel bills.


On BBC Radio Leeds Rima Ahmed is presenting, and she says she is expecting a lot of people to be listening when she interviews Liz Truss any minute now. You can listen here.

Treasury minister confirms government department being asked to make 'efficiency savings'

Chris Philp, chief secretary to the Treasury, has been doing the national broadcast round on behalf of No 10 this morning. He confirmed that government departments are being asked to make “efficiency savings” and that they will have to stick to existing spending limits, despite inflation. He told Sky News:

The efficiency and prioritisation exercise is designed to firstly make absolutely sure we stick to those spending limits and secondly make sure that we are prioritising expenditure, not on anything that is wasteful, but on things that really deliver frontline public services and drive economic growth.

We are going to stick rigidly to those spending limits because it is important to be financially responsible.

He also said the government would not be apologising for the turmoil caused by the mini-budget. He said:

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.


Forrmer Bank of England governor Mark Carney criticises mini-budget

Sir Mark Carney, the former governor of the Bank of England, has criticised last week’s mini-budget, saying it undermined financial institutions.

In an interview with the BBC’s Today programme, Carney said:

There was an undercutting of some of the institutions the underpin the overall approach - so not having an OBR forecast is much-commented upon and the government, I think, has accepted the need for that but that was important …

Unfortunately having a partial budget, in these circumstances - tough global economy, tough financial market position, working at cross-purposes with the Bank - has led to quite dramatic moves in financial markets.

Referring to the inflationary measures in the mini-budget, which has led to expectations that the Bank will have to increase interest rates by more than it otherwise would have done to curb the inflation created as a result, Carney said that in the mini-budget the government was “working at some cross-purposes with the Bank in terms of short-term support for the economy”.

Mark Carney.
Mark Carney. Photograph: Reuters


Here is the list of timings for Liz Truss’s BBC local radio interviews this morning.

8am: Radio Leeds

8.08am: Radio Norfolk

8.15am: Radio Kent

8.22am: Radio Lancashire

8.30: Radio Nottingham

8.38am: Radio Tees

8.45am: Radio Bristol

8.52am: Radio Stoke

Some stations are expected to run their Truss interview live, while others may record it and broadcast it after the time shown above.

Later Truss is recording TV interviews with all 16 of the BBC’s regional and national political editors. These will be embargoed until 5pm.


Liz Truss to be interviewed about sterling crisis in first appearance in days

Good morning. Four years ago, when she was chief secretary to the Treasury, Liz Truss was overheard by a Green party activist gossiping about her colleagues in a restaurant. He kindly posted all her comments on Twitter and, among the personal gossip, he recorded Truss setting out her approach to risk. Theresa May was too “pacifist”, she said. “Whereas I embrace the chaos. I’m a thrill-seeker.”

No one ever expected Truss to “embrace the chaos” quite as recklessly as she has done in her first few weeks as prime minister. As we report in our overnight story, the Bank of England is having to spend £65bn repairing the damage done to financial markets by last week’s disastrous mini-budget. As Pippa Crerar and Jessica Elgot report in their story on the political fallout, some Tories think this is an “extinction-level” moment for the party.

One factor that has made the situation worse is that Liz Truss has been silent since the mini-budget, apart from an interview with CNN shown in the US on Sunday. But this morning she is giving interviews – to BBC local radio stations. The Conservative leader normally does a round of local radio interviews at this point ahead of the party conference, and that apparently is why they are in the diary. She is up first on Radio Leeds at 8am. What she says is likely to attract a lot more attention than a normal interview on the station. We will be covering all the interviews here.

I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

Alternatively, you can email me at andrew.sparrow@theguardian.com



Nadeem Badshah (now) and Andrew Sparrow (earlier)

The GuardianTramp

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