‘I HAVE to be blunt with you, our recovery comes with a cost,’ Chancellor Rishi Sunak told the Tory Party conference yesterday outlining his war on the working class to ‘balance the books’.
‘Our national debt is almost 100% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) so we need to fix our public finances.’
Meanwhile outside the conference in Manchester, masses protested including farmers forced to slaughter their livestock and burn the carcasses because of the ongoing crisis which has left abattoirs without staff and a backlog of 120,000 pigs still on farms.
The conference was defended like a military base, with a ten foot fence surrounding it, and armed police and snipers on the rooftops.
Sunak told conference: ‘I am a pragmatist, I care about what works. I believe in fiscal responsibility. Just borrowing more money and stacking up bills for future generations to pay is not just economically irresponsible it is immoral. Because it is not the state’s money it is your money.
‘I believe the only sustainable route out of poverty comes from having a good job. It is not just the pounds it puts in your pockets it’s the sense of worth and self confidence that it gives you.
‘There can be no prosperous future unless it is built on the foundation of strong public finances … strong public finances don’t happen by accident, they are a deliberate choice, they are a legacy for future generations and they are a safeguard against threats.’
Defending the decade of austerity that preceded the Covid pandemic he said: ‘I am grateful, and we should all be grateful, to my predecessors and their ten years of sound Conservative management of our economy. They believed in fiscal responsibility, I believe in fiscal responsibility, and everyone in this hall does too.
‘And while I know that tax rises are unpopular, some will even say un-Conservative, I will tell you what is un-Conservative – unfunded pledges, reckless borrowing and soaring debt. Anyone who tells you that you can borrow more today, and tomorrow will sort itself out just doesn’t care about the future. So yes, I want tax cuts, but in order to do that our public finances must be put back onto a sustainable footing.’
Meanwhile, Tory Brexit minister Lord Frost has threatened to suspend parts of the deal with the EU if the bloc does not agree changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol. Frost said the protocol – put in place to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland – is ‘not working and needs to change’.
He said he is worried the UK’s proposals would not be agreed by the EU.
Frost said triggering Article 16, which would suspend part of the deal, may end up as ‘the only way’ forward.
The Northern Ireland Protocol was agreed by both sides as a way to protect the Good Friday Agreement by keeping Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market for goods.
But Unionists have said the protocol damages trade with other parts of the UK by creating a border in the Irish Sea.
Article 16 can be triggered by either the UK or EU to suspend elements of the Brexit deal should the protocol cause ‘serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties that are liable to persist, or lead to the diversion of trade.’