Liz Truss, now the Tory management frontrunner, launched an astonishing broadside in opposition to British staff, saying they wanted “extra graft” and suggesting they lacked the “talent and utility” of international rivals, the Guardian can reveal.
In a leaked recording, the then No 2 on the Treasury additionally risked pitting Londoners in opposition to the remainder of the nation by trying to elucidate the distinction between the capital and different areas within the UK.
Truss, who has put patriotism on the coronary heart of her management marketing campaign, advised the disparity was “partly a mindset or angle factor”.
The feedback had been made when Truss was the chief secretary to the Treasury, a publish she held till 2019. Within the recording she intimated that there appeared little want to alter the working tradition in order that the UK may change into extra affluent.
The extremely disparaging remarks echo a controversial passage about British staff being among the many “worst idlers on the earth” within the e-book Britannia Unchained, which she co-authored in 2012 when she was a brand new backbench MP in search of to make her mark as a neo-Thatcherite.
Within the first televised head-to-head Tory management debate final month, Truss claimed she had not written the offending chapter and blamed her fellow writer Dominic Raab as an alternative.
She informed the BBC presenter: “Every writer wrote a distinct chapter. Dominic Raab wrote that chapter – he’s backing Rishi Sunak.”
Raab later claimed that the authors, who additionally included Priti Patel and Kwasi Kwarteng, had taken “collective duty” for the e-book, including: “It’s as much as Liz to elucidate why she’s modified her view.”
Within the leaked recording, Truss claimed that the e-book had been “mischaracterised” on the time of its launch a decade in the past, however gave no element as to how she felt the passage had been misrepresented.
Truss’s remarks concerning the productiveness of staff outdoors London might be notably damaging as earlier this month she was compelled to make a U-turn on plans to chop civil service pay outdoors the capital after a livid outcry from Conservative MPs.
She claimed there had been a “wilful misrepresentation” of her coverage – regardless of her marketing campaign having revealed particular particulars – however confirmed she was abandoning plans for regional pay boards for civil servants or public sector staff.
London had the best productiveness degree of any UK area in 2020, with output per hour greater than 50% greater than the median, in keeping with the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics.
Nonetheless, that is broadly believed to be the results of massive multinationals being primarily based within the capital, greater engagement with analysis and growth, the scale of corporations and the extent of exports, and the transport infrastructure.
Within the leaked recording, Truss started: “I as soon as wrote a e-book about this which bought mischaracterised – British staff produce much less per hour than … and that’s a mixture of form of talent and utility.”
She went on: “In the event you take a look at productiveness, it’s very, very totally different in London from the remainder of the nation. However principally … this has been a historic truth for many years. Basically it’s partly a mindset and angle factor, I feel. It’s working tradition, principally. In the event you go to China it’s fairly totally different, I can guarantee you.”
The minister, who had shut oversight of public spending, added: “There’s a elementary concern of British working tradition. Basically, if we’re going to be a richer nation and a extra affluent nation, that should change. However I don’t assume individuals are that eager to alter that.
“There’s a slight factor in Britain about wanting the straightforward solutions. That’s my reflection on the election and what’s gone earlier than it, and the referendum – we are saying it’s all Europe that’s inflicting these enormous issues … it’s all these migrants inflicting these issues. However truly what must occur is extra … extra graft. It’s not a well-liked message.”
Truss was questioned concerning the Guardian’s revelations throughout a Tory management hustings in Perth, and appeared to substantiate she nonetheless believed British staff weren’t as productive as they need to be.
Requested by Colin Mackay, STV’s political editor and chair of the hustings, whether or not she stood by these remarks, Truss stated: “I don’t know what you’re quoting there [but] what we’d like on this nation is extra productiveness and we’d like extra financial development.
“The factor is we don’t have sufficient of is capital funding, which why it’s essential to get extra funding within the whisky trade and North Sea.”
The shadow work and pensions secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, stated: “With wages shrinking due to Tory failure to convey inflation below management and years of lacklustre development, it’s grossly offensive for Liz Truss to successfully model British staff lazy.
“I might have hoped she had moved on from the times of her Britannia Unchained fiasco, however it appears that’s the blueprint for her potential authorities. Staff throughout the nation are working all hours to maintain a roof over their heads, put meals on the desk and supply for his or her households. Liz Truss ought to be serving to working individuals to deal with this value of residing disaster, as Labour this week outlined we might do, not peddling this offensive nonsense.”