‘Stupid’ decision undermines pair’s economic competence, senior figure warns

Another industry chief has torn into the government’s abandoned plans to abolish the 45p rate of tax for high earners suggesting the furore has already undermined the new regime’s claim to economic competence.

The boss of one major company has told Building the original decision taken by prime minister Liz Truss and her chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng made the pair “look like they’re from junior school”.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the boss said: “No two sane people would have come up with such a stupid thing. It might have benefitted people like me in the short-term but it’s screwing the economy.”


Liz Truss addressing yesterday’s Conservative party conference

The policy, to cut the top rate of tax for those earning £150,000 a year or more from 45p to 40p in the pound, was abandoned on Monday morning after a storm of criticism.

But the boss told Building the damage done to the credibility of Truss and Kwarteng would not be easily forgotten by the business community.

“I thought she [Truss] would be lousy but she’s falling below even those expectations. I didn’t expect her to lose the support of the party so quickly. We deserve better.

“As soon as they announced the [45p] plan, I said ‘what?’ There is a time and a place for tax cuts, and I’m all for reducing tax, but I can’t think that anybody thought this was a good idea. We have more and more people going to foodbanks. Why make the rich richer and the poor poorer? What’s that all about? What political nous made her do it?”

Earlier this week, Building contacted several senior industry figures – all of whom earn £150,000 or more – to ask for their views on the proposal.

One said: “Their growth agenda has been overshadowed by a crazy thing. I don’t know anyone who earns good money who thinks it was a good idea. It was a ludicrous thing to do.”

Kwarteng admitted the cut in the top rate of tax had become a “distraction” from the policies he announced in his mini-budget last month, later telling the Tory party conference the plan had caused “a little turbulence”.