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UK leadership loves Truss turn on pay plan in first big mistake According to Reuters

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© Reuters. Conservative leadership candidate Liz Truss speaks during a hustings event, part of the Conservative leadership campaign, in Exeter, Britain, August 1, 2022. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

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By Andrew MacAskill, Kylie MacLellan and David Milliken

LONDON (Reuters) – British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, the frontrunner to replace Boris Johnson as prime minister, was forced to back down on one of her most prominent pledges a day after announcing it following backlash from Conservative and opposition parties.

In the first major misstep of his campaign, Truss has laid out a plan to save billions of pounds a year in government spending while pledging rivals say will demand cuts. salaries of public sector employees, including nurses and teachers, outside the affluent south-east of England. .

Truss said late Monday that she would introduce regional pay councils instead of having a national pay agreement, which pays wages in line with the local cost of living.

But after Tuesday’s criticism, Truss said: “It was never my intention to change the terms and conditions of teachers and nurses. But what I want to make clear is that I will not go ahead with the teachers and nurses. regional pay council.”

The first leg came as a poll showed Truss leading rival Rishi Sunak less than previously thought.

A survey of 807 Conservative Party members conducted by the Italian data firm Techne from July 19-27 found Truss with 48 per cent support, compared with 43 per cent for former finance minister Sunak.

The results showed a much tighter race than the previous Conservative Party poll conducted by YouGov on July 20-21, giving Truss a 24 point lead over Sunak.

Late on Tuesday, the Daily Mail – one of Britain’s bestsellers and popular with Conservative voters – said it was endorsing Truss, despite her backing.

“Mr Sunak is a born technocrat, albeit an intelligent one; Miss Truss is a true standard-bearer for low-tax, small-state conservatism,” the paper said in an editorial. essay.

‘WITHERING’

Truss’s public sector pay plan has drawn criticism from the main opposition Labor Party and some Conservative lawmakers.

The Conservatives won their biggest majority in three decades at the 2019 national election by altering traditional British politics and winning more industrial areas in the central and northern parts of the country. UK with a commitment to reducing inequality in the region.

A pro-Truss Conservative lawmaker said the miscalculation would damage the rest of the campaign.

“This is a completely avoidable mistake, but I don’t think it will ultimately prevent her from becoming prime minister,” he said.

Sunak supporter Ben Houchen, the Conservative mayor of the Tees Valley in northeastern England, said he was “speechless” at the proposal.

Sunak’s campaign says millions of nurses, policemen and soldiers will have their wages cut by £1,500 ($1,830) a year.

Rachel Reeves, Labour’s finance spokeswoman, said Truss’ plan would suck money out of local communities.

“This latest mess exposes exactly what Liz Truss thinks about public sector workers across the UK,” she said.

Sunak and Truss are vying for the votes of around 200,000 Conservative members who will choose the next prime minister, with the winner announced on September 5.

Taxes have dominated the race so far. Sunak accused Truss of “dishonesty” to voters about her promise of immediate tax cuts, saying he would wait until inflation was under control before cutting taxes. Truss said that would push the country into recession.

More than 60% of Conservatives in a Techne poll said Truss had a better idea of ​​tax and inflation than Sunak. They also support her immigration plan.

However, respondents said Sunak has better policies on Brexit and energy.

John Curtice, professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde and one of Britain’s leading pollsters, said with so few polls it was difficult to be sure the race for Sunak was over. end.

“In a race that has certainly seen some pretty radical and bold proposals put forward by both candidates … we certainly don’t know if it has (had) an impact. nothing to all members of Tory,” he told GB News broadcaster.

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