Liz Truss visits West Dorset

Tory leadership candidate promises cuts to red tape and more jobs and homes for rural communities
Liz Truss at Athelhampton House Dorset : Image Fanny Charles

LIZ Truss’s heroine, Margaret Thatcher, famously quipped: “You turn if you want to.” But it seems this Tory lady is for turning, as press and party members discovered on Tuesday morning when she backtracked on her Monday proposal for regional pay groups to help cut the government wage bill.

The plan, which would have meant reductions in pay for public service employees outside London or other big cities, was fiercely opposed (including by Tories in so-called Red Wall seats), and Ms Truss disavowed it the following day, while saying that the policy had been “misrepresented.”

She told ITV’s News South West political correspondent David Wood that there was “never any intention to affect teachers and nurses.” She did not want people to be concerned, she said: “We will not be going ahead with regional pay groups.” 

So, with that out of the way, and with an assurance that she is “somebody who is honest and upright,” the Conservative leadership candidate and Foreign Secretary went on to promise a bonfire of bureaucracy for farmers, simplified planning rules and encouragement for more rural enterprise and business, with homes for workers. 

Talking to the media at Athelhampton House, after a rally with West Dorset party members, hosted by West Dorset MP Chris Loder, she spoke of the importance of farming, and her commitment to get rid of red tape and bureaucracy.

Stressing her concern about the current “food security crisis,” she said that British farmers can compete with farmers from other countries: “I want to see fields full of crops and livestock not solar panels.”

Ms Truss represents the rural constituency of South West Norfolk and recognises the problems facing local people, particularly young people, in areas where second home buyers have helped to push prices up. 

“I want to get rid of top-down housing targets,” she said. Her plan is to simplify planning rules to create policies that are supported by local people.

And on the rural housing crisis, her policy is to encourage business and enterprise, with homes specifically linked to jobs, helping people to be able to get on the housing ladder.

by: Fanny Charles

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