Highlights

  • UK PM speaks on controversial mini-budget
  • 'We should have laid the ground better'
  • Huge crisis broke out in UK after tax cuts announced

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'We should have laid the ground better': UK PM Liz Truss on 'controversial' mini-budget

Truss told the BBC as her restive ruling Conservatives' annual conference gets underway in Birmingham.

UK Prime Minister Liz Truss on Sunday conceded she should have better prepared Britain for her recent debt-fuelled mini-budget, which sparked a week of market turmoil, dismal headlines and disastrous polls.

Less than a month into the job but already mired in a deep crisis, the new Tory leader insisted her controversial plans would return Britain to economic growth, as it grapples with decades-high inflation and imminent recession.

"I do stand by the package we announced... but I do accept we should have laid the ground better there," Truss told the BBC as her restive ruling Conservatives' annual conference gets underway in Birmingham.

"We have a clear plan moving forward both to deal with the energy crisis and to deal with inflation, but also to get the economy growing and to put us on a good long-term footing," she added.

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Opposition parties, much of the public and even Conservative MPs -- notably backers of her defeated leadership rival Rishi Sunak -- are aghast at the proposals to cut taxes unveiled 10 days ago by finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng.

Markets tanked in response to the package, and the Bank of England staged an emergency intervention to bail out embattled pension funds, setting the stage for a difficult four-day gathering in Birmingham.

Appearing on the BBC immediately after Truss, senior Tory MP Michael Gove branded the plans "profoundly" wrong and said there would need to be "a course correction".

Ahead of Sunday, Truss broke nearly a week of silence Thursday with a round of broadcast interviews with regional BBC stations -- when her awkward pauses generated almost as many headlines as her defence of the plan.

She then followed up with further interviews and a newspaper article Friday in which she vowed to press on with the policies but get "an iron grip" on public finances.

"Of course, we need to bring down borrowing as a proportion of GDP over the medium term, and I have a plan to do that," the under-fire leader reiterated Sunday.

The live TV appearance was her first before a national UK audience since Kwarteng unveiled the contentious proposals on September 23, and comes after a raft of polls showed a dramatic slump for her party.

One poll Friday by YouGov found that 51 percent of Britons think that Truss should resign -- and 54 percent want Kwarteng to go.

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