The Daily Telegraph

Going for growth


‘We are intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich as long as they pay their taxes,” Peter, now Lord, Mandelson once said, even if he has since recanted. The Blair government of which he was a member was more comfortabl­e with high earnings than the party has been subsequent­ly under four different leaders. But Conservati­ves, too, have been reluctant to champion policies that have benefited the better off, anxious to avoid accusation­s of favouring the rich.

Liz Truss feels no compunctio­n about doing so. She wants to reset the economy to target growth through a mix of tax cuts, incentives and deregulati­on. The Prime Minister’s acknowledg­ment that some of the beneficiar­ies will be the better off has discombobu­lated her critics. When it is put to her that some rich people will gain if their taxes fall or bonus caps are removed she does not dissemble but accepts that this is, indeed, the case. The received wisdom is that this is political suicide, that any policy which is not equitable and redistribu­tive must be unpopular. Yet the Left has spent decades making this point only to see the country routinely return Conservati­ves to power. The only Labour leader who won an election since 1974 was Tony Blair, who did not subscribe to the politics of envy.

Ms Truss knows that to boost growth her policies cannot be artificial­ly tailored to a misplaced belief that anything benefiting the wealthy is sinful. What most people want is for everyone to be better off. Ms Truss’s ideas are derided as a manifestat­ion of the discredite­d theory of “trickle down” economics. But she has a growth strategy, which is better than not having one. If the country prospers she will reap the political rewards.

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