Liz Truss has defended her government’s controversial announcement of tax cuts for citizens and businesses in an exclusive interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Truss told Tapper that by cutting taxes, his government was “encouraging businesses to invest and we’re also helping people with their taxes.”
While the cuts were expected, critics have warned that they will benefit the wealthy more than the majority of British society. Shortly after Truss Finance Minister Kwasi Kwarteng announced the cuts on Friday, the pound sank almost 2.6% against the US dollar since 1985.
The UK Treasury said the cuts, which include a cut in the top rate of income tax from 45% to 40%, cuts in rates paid on house purchases and the scrapping of a planned rise in business taxes, will remove £45 trillion ($50). billion) from government revenue over the next five years.
Pressed on the responsibility of his economic plan, Truss told Tapper: “I do not accept the premise of the question at all. The UK has one of the lowest debt levels in the G7, but we have one of the highest tax levels. Today, we have a 70-year high tax rate.”
Despite the public revenue cuts, Truss confirmed in the interview that his government would still help people with their energy bills this winter.
“We’ve also put in place a package of measures to help consumers with energy prices to make sure no one has to pay more than £2,500 on their bills.”
The pledge to help Britons pay their energy bills comes ahead of what is expected to be a brutal winter. Inflation rose above 10% in July for the first time in 40 years, driven by rising energy and food costs. Home energy bills have already risen by 54% this year and could rise further.
Truss has also criticized making this commitment while refusing to tax energy companies on their profit gains. The government will rely on loans to cover the cost, and the opposition has described it as putting the cost on the nation’s credit card.