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.