'We need to help people' Liz Truss vows immediate help to ease bills crisis as PM

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Liz Truss said she’d ‘act immediately’ as PM

The Tory leadership frontrunner said a plan to support people and businesses will be unveiled within a week. She also fuelled speculation the support package could cost £100 billion.

Asked if the figure was accurate, she replied: “Before you have been elected as Prime Minister you don’t have all the wherewithal to get things done.”

But Ms Truss railed against claims of “armageddon” and insisted Britain has the spirit, capability and attitude to weather the storm.

“I will be clear with the public about what we are going to face and there will be challenging circumstances, there’ll be difficult decisions to be made,” she said.

“Not all of those decisions will be popular but I will be honest about what we will have to do.

“I’m also somebody who is positive. And I’m clear that we can deal with these issues, that Britain has been through worse, frankly, in the past. We have the capability, we have the attitude, and we have the spirit to deal with the challenges.”

Barring a last-minute shock, Ms Truss is expected to be announced as the next Prime Minister day lunchtime on Monday.

It follows a two-month campaign that has been dominated by how Ms Truss and rival Rishi Sunak would respond to the energy crisis.

But the punishing leadership clash inflamed divisions in the Conservatives and leaves the new premier facing a challenge to reunite the party.

Ms Truss is expected to announce her Cabinet team Tuesday evening after an audience with the Queen in Balmoral.

Kwasi Kwarteng, one of Ms Truss’s closest allies, is tipped as the next Chancellor, with Jacob Rees-Mogg likely to replace him as Business Secretary.

Truss vows immediate help to ease bills crisis

Ms Truss railed against claims of ‘armageddon’ (Image: Getty)

Work and Pensions Secretary, Therese Coffey, is poised for a move to health while James Cleverly is on course for Foreign Secretary.

Jake Berry, who leads the influential Northern Research Group of Conservatives, has also been touted as party chairman.

Asked about the claim on Sunday, he said: “If asked to serve in Government, it’s a privilege to do so, so I’m sure I’ll be saying yes.”

Lord Harrington, who was appointed refugees minister in the wake of the war in Ukraine, quit the Government before the new leader takes over.

The peer stressed his resignation is no reflection on either Ms Truss or Mr Sunak and he instead feels it is the right time to leave a “temporary” position.

Senior Tory David Davis said the next Prime Minister faces “probably the second most difficult brief” post-war.

“The only person with a worse brief coming in was Margaret Thatcher,” he said.

“It’s going be on a par with the furlough scheme in terms of it’s going to be tens of billions of costs.”

Ms Truss said she could not unveil the details of her plan until she has had access to all the resources of the government.

“I will act if I’m elected as prime minister. I will act immediately on bills and on energy supply because I think those two things go hand in hand. We need to deal with the immediate problem, we need to help people. We need to help businesses. But we also need to sort out the supply issues,” she told BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg.

“So, this is why it will take a week to sort out the precise plans and make sure we are able to announce them. That is why I cannot go into details at this stage. It would be wrong. But what I want to be very clear about with the public is I understand that this is a huge problem.

“I understand people are worried and I want to reassure people that I am absolutely determined to sort out this issue as well as within a month, present a full plan for how we are going to reduce taxes, how we’re going to get the British economy going, and how we are going to find our way out of these very difficult times.”

Ms Truss said there are some “very, very serious challenges” ahead that would need “immediate action”.

She said: “If I’m elected as prime minister, within one week I will make sure there is an announcement on how we are going to deal with the issue of energy bills and of long-term supply to put this country on the right footing for winter.

“What I want to reassure people is I will act, if elected as prime minister, within one week.”

The Foreign Secretary insisted she will be a straight-talking premier.

She said: “With me, what you see is what you get. I don’t make promises I can’t keep. I follow through on what I’ll say, I’ll do.”

Ms Truss will appoint a council of economic advisers to help guide her and her Chancellor as she seeks to smash the “Treasury orthodoxy”.

Economist Gerard Lyons, is believed to be among those who will be appointed to the panel.

He backs the idea of a cap on the wholesale price of gas produced in the UK as a way to “tackle energy prices head on”.

Former chancellor Rishi Sunak said he does not believe the problem of rising energy bills can be solved “for everybody”.

“When you have a situation like this, I don’t think you can solve the problem for everybody and it would be wrong to pretend otherwise,” he said.

“But what I’ve done in the past is target the most help on the most vulnerable.”

He refused to rule out running in another Tory leadership election if he loses this one.

“We’ve just finished this campaign. So, I’d say … I need to recover from this one. But I look forward to supporting the Conservative government in whatever capacity,” he said.

He said his “job now is just to support a Conservative government”.

“That’s what I want to see succeed and that’s what I’ll do,” he said.

Former chancellor Lord Hammond said Ms Truss was a “formidable” chief secretary to the Treasury and could be a “very good prime minister”.

But he urged her to put together a Cabinet made up of different wings of the party.

He said: “I look at the bookies’ odds, I look at the polling and I’m pretty sure we are going to have a Truss government.

“I have worked very closely with Liz Truss, she was chief secretary to the Treasury while I was chancellor.

“She was a formidable chief secretary, she works very hard, she’s very diligent and I think she can make a very good prime minister.

“She must do it by being inclusive, she’ll send a clear signal as early as Tuesday when she starts to form her cabinet and it must be a cabinet that reflects the talent across the Conservative Party.”

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