03 October 2022

Focus on less controversial reforms, Frost tells PM

03 October 2022

Liz Truss should focus on less controversial economic reforms for the next year, Lord Frost has said.

The former Brexit negotiator said the Prime Minister should “err away from things we know are going to be highly controversial and the losers are going to be extremely visible”, after the Government U-turned on abolishing the top rate of income tax.

He recommended relaxing trade tariffs and reducing regulation of small businesses as policies that would not “obviously create a coalition of losers more quickly than they would create a coalition of winners”.

Lord Frost also said it was “inevitable” that Ms Truss’s reforms would have little impact by the time of the next election.

But he maintained there was “no alternative” to pursuing the tax-cutting, state-shrinking policies favoured by the Prime Minister.

You can’t simply throw out a load of free market reform ideas and assume everyone will just get with the programme

Since quitting as Brexit minister in December 2021, Lord Frost has been an outspoken advocate of free market reform and backed Liz Truss to be Prime Minister.

Speaking at an event at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham on Monday, he said: “There must be a coalition for reform and we must try and build one because there is no way through the politics and the economics of the next few years that doesn’t involve very significant free marketisation of the British economy.

“If that does not happen we will not grow, we will not get to where we want to as a country.”

He added that building popular support for Ms Truss’s policies would be “difficult” as society had become “more collectivist”.

Lord Frost said: “You can’t simply throw out a load of free market reform ideas and assume everyone will just get with the programme.

“There needs to be much more explanation, much more effort to persuade, to make the arguments, to bring people along with you, to understand why the arteries have kind of furred up over the last decade or two and need to be cleaned out again.”

At the same event, economist Gerard Lyons struck an optimistic note, saying the economy would “probably be on the way up” by 2024 and the Government had plenty of time to demonstrate the impact of its policies.

He said: “The policies need to be registering by the end of the next year.

“You still have two and a quarter years, probably, until the next election.

“January 2025 is when the election needs to be held by and I wouldn’t be surprised if we actually went the full distance and we basically therefore have a year of economic growth in 2024.”

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