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Go further on housebuilding and lift fracking ban to restore Tory values – Truss

Liz Truss will call for a return to ‘Conservative values’ (PA)
Liz Truss will call for a return to ‘Conservative values’ (PA)

Liz Truss will call on the Tory leadership to do more to boost housebuilding, with a speech to party members set to urge a revival of “Conservative values”.

The former prime minister will also use an appearance on the fringes of the Tory conference in Manchester to call once again for the de facto fracking ban to be lifted.

She will urge the Conservative leadership to position itself as the “party of business again” by slashing corporation tax.

Her appearance at a so-called growth rally will see Ms Truss argue “we need to make the case for Conservatism again” and “do more to revive Conservative values and show that they deliver”.

It is the latest public intervention by the short-lived prime minister, whose time in office was brought to an abrupt end last year after her mini-budget received a disastrous reception.

She will say: “We’ve got to get better at translating ‘growth’ into what it means in day-to-day terms for people, businesses and families.

“It means a better standard of living so that people have more disposable income to go on holiday, buy a new car or support their children.

“If we axe the tax, cut bills and build houses, we would make life better and easier for the British public, and give them the freedom to thrive.

“There is no reason we cannot go into the next election with a platform that is proudly Conservative. Let’s stop taxing and banning things, and start producing and building things.”

Ms Truss will add her voice to calls for drastic reform of housebuilding rules, taking aim too at newt protection policies.

She will say: “There are too many politicians who say we need to build more homes and then baulk at removing one line of regulation. Newt protection or bat bridge anyone?

“If we really want houses to be built, we’ve got to incentivise it. We’ve got to give local communities the freedom to create housebuilding zones with no red tape through the offer of lower taxes.

“We should reduce taxes in these areas enough so that we are building something like half a million homes a year.

“This is what Conservatives are supposed to believe in: cutting red tape, lower taxes and trusting that markets will find the solutions we all want.”

Liz Truss will say the Government can boost housebuilding by cutting red tape (PA)

Ms Truss will also put pressure on the Government over fracking, after Rishi Sunak swiftly moved to re-introduce a moratorium on the practice after the collapse of her premiership.

“By the end of this decade, if we don’t get fracking for shale, the UK is set to import over two-thirds of the gas we need – from places over which we have no control,” Ms Truss will warn.

“That puts our security at risk, it’s expensive, and it’s worse for the planet – you have to burn petroleum to get it here. I’ve never understood why environmental activists prefer importing gas from abroad instead of producing it here at home.

“Fracking here in the UK – as they do in the US – could cut family gas bills by as much as half.”

In recent months, the former Tory leader has defended her record in office and her “pro-growth” vision for the party.

She will be joined at the rally by Boris Johnson loyalists former business secretary Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg and ex-home secretary Dame Priti Patel.

Asked on Sky News on Sunday whether Ms Truss could ever lead the Tories again, Dame Priti gave the question short shrift, replying: “No.”

In making her call for corporation tax to be lowered back to 19%, taking it down from its current 25% rate, Ms Truss will stress the need to “unleash British business”.

Dame Priti Patel
Dame Priti Patel will join the event on the fringes of the Tory conference (PA)

She will say: “We can’t stand idly by while companies like AstraZeneca move operations abroad because of our huge tax burden, or small businesses shut up shop because they are drowning in red tape.

“We should be hungry to attract the world’s best businesses and encouraging people to start businesses here at home. We must not normalise the raiding of businesses’ coffers.

“Ahead of this year’s Autumn Statement, we must make the Conservative Party the party of business once again, by getting corporation tax back down to 19%.

“This is how we make Britain grow again. It is free businesses that will get us there, not the Treasury, not the Government and not the state.

“Only free businesses can get Britain out of its 25-year economic stagnation. Only free businesses can create the economic growth and tax revenues on which our public services rely.”

It comes after experts said the Tories will have presided over, during the time between the 2019 election and the next general election, the biggest set of tax rises since at least the Second World War.

Analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies think tank said taxes will have risen to around 37% of national income, equivalent to around £3,500 more per household, even if it will not be shared equally.

Darren Jones, Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said: “Liz Truss has learned nothing, calling for the same fantasy economics that crashed the economy just 12 months ago.

“Rishi Sunak needs to come clean. Does he agree with his predecessor?

“Anything short of a full rejection shows the Prime Minister is not strong enough to stand up to this extremist ideology that led to an economic catastrophe for millions of ordinary people.

“The biggest risk to the economy is another five years of the Conservatives.”