Liz Truss news – latest: Kwasi Kwarteng tax cuts risk ‘unsustainable’ public debt, IFS warns

Liz Truss thanks Joe Biden for support during death of Queen Elizabeth

The government’s plan to offer tax cuts while increasing public spending risks creating “unsustainable” public debt, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has said.

The respected think tank made the comment ahead of chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s “mini budget” on Friday, in which he is due to lay out details of £30bn in tax cuts and £100bn in support for household energy bills.

As it is not a full budget, the government’s plans will not be accompanied by a new economic forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility, a decision the IFS has called “disappointing”.

With debt potentially set on an “ever-rising path”, the IFS said the government’s claim that reducing tax rates would lead to sustained economic growth was “a gamble at best”.

“Under the new prime minister’s plans, the fiscal targets legislated in January would be missed and while we would get to enjoy lower taxes now, ever-increasing debt would eventually prove unsustainable,” IFS deputy director Carl Emmerson said.

The government has also been criticised for not considering a windfall tax on the excess profits made by energy companies during the Ukraine war.

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Coffey denies being ‘part-time’ health secretary

Liz Truss’ closest ally Therese Coffey has denied that she is only a part-time health secretary because of her role as deputy prime minister.

“I don’t think it will be a case of being part-time… We don’t have fixed working hours,” she told ITV.

“We continue to do what we do right across government in order to make sure we function effectively as a government and I’m looking forward to being part of that,” she said.

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Inside Politics

My colleague Matt Mathers has a round-up of today’s major political stories:

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Government lifts moratorium on fracking

The government has lifted its moratorium on fracking in England, saying the move will increase the country’s energy security.

The new licensing round is expected to lead to over 100 new licences, the business department announced on Thursday

Business and energy secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said: “In light of Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and weaponisation of energy, strengthening our energy security is an absolute priority, and – as the prime minister said – we are going to ensure the UK is a net energy exporter by 2040.

“To get there we will need to explore all avenues available to us through solar, wind, oil and gas production – so it’s right that we’ve lifted the pause to realise any potential sources of domestic gas.”

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Some Britons doing ‘very limited amount of work’, says deputy PM

Deputy prime minister Therese Coffey has defended the move to cut benefits to part-time workers if they fail to look to do more hours.

She said the government wanted to get more claimants into work – as well as addressing “people doing a very limited amount of work”. The approach would help drive economic growth, the Tory frontbencher claimed.

She told LBC: “That is why we continue to extend the number of people who are currently on benefits about how we can help them find perhaps higher-paid work or about taking up more hours.”

“This is a combined approach in order to recognise that we want to improve the lives and prosperity of people in this country,” she added.

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Government could allow higher ‘seismic limits’ at fracking sites, Jacob Rees-Mogg suggests

Energy secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg has suggested that ministers could allow higher “seismic limits” at fracking sites.

Earlier this week, Chris Cornelius, the founder of Cuadrilla, a fracking company, said the government’s support for it was a “political gesture”.

“I don’t think there is any chance of fracking in the UK in the near term,” he told The Guardian.

Government could allow higher ‘seismic limits’ at fracking sites, Jacob Rees-Mogg suggests

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IFS criticises government over ‘mini budget’

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has hit out at the government’s economic plans, warning that its level of borrowing could be “unsustainable”.

IFS economist Ben Zaranko has more details here:

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Truss tells striking workers to ‘get back to work’

Liz Truss has said striking workers should “get back to work”, adding that she was still “committed” to introducing measures to curb industrial action.

Speaking in New York, the prime minister told reporters: I would encourage rail workers to get back to work…I want to take a constructive approach with the unions, but I would tell them to get back to work.”

The government plans to bring in anti-strike legislation that would enforce a minimum level of service and raise the threshold for the number of workers who need to take part in strike ballots.

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If Truss’s ‘mini-Budget’ doesn’t create growth, her whole project could be doomed

Liz Truss’s whole project could be in jeopardy if her “mini-budget” doesn’t create growth, writes Andrew Grice.

It is expected that her chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng will rip up the economic playbook that has guided the Conservatives since they took power in 2010.

On Friday, he will announce a mixture of tax cuts and economic reforms, with the aim of securing growth of 2.5 per cent per year.

However, critics suggest that his borrowing plans could heap more pressure on the ailing economy.

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Voluntary ‘real living wage’ rises to £10.90 an hour

Almost 400,000 employees are set to receive a pay rise after an increase “real living wage” agreed by thousands of businesses and organisations has been brought forward.

The hourly rates for the living wage are rising by £1 to £10.90 across the UK and by 90p to £11.95 in London.

The rates are higher than the government’s statutory £9.50 an hour for adults, and are paid by more than 11,000 employers accredited by the Living Wage Foundation.

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Kwasi Kwarteng to cut benefits if part-time workers don’t do more hours

More than 100,000 people in part-time work could face a benefit cut if they do not seek more hours, the chancellor is expected to announce.

Kwasi Kwarteng will reveal a significant shake-up of the welfare system during his “mini-budget” on Friday.

Unless claimants take “active steps” to increase earnings, their Universal Credit payments could be reduced.

My colleague Adam Forrest has more details:

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