Home Estate Planning Tories have ‘trashed reputation for fiscal coherence’, claims former Boris Johnson adviser

Tories have ‘trashed reputation for fiscal coherence’, claims former Boris Johnson adviser

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The Conservative party has “trashed” its reputation for “fiscal coherence” and sacrificed its standing as the party of business, a former business adviser to Boris Johnson has claimed.

In a broadside on the Tories in City A.M.’s Bonds & Ballots series, former Boris Johnson adviser Iain Anderson, who ditched his Conservative membership last March after 39 years, said that Downing Street had also rung him up to ask “what should we do?” in the wake of Liz Truss’s disastrous mini-budget.

Anderson, the chair and founder of PR firm Cicero, raised eyebrows in City and political circles last year when he swapped his long-standing Tory membership to draft a report on how the Labour Party should engage with business.

Anderson is a friend of Liz Truss and served as Boris Johnson’s LGBTQ business champion before standing down in 2022 in protest at the party’s stance on conversion therapy.

In his report published last week for the Labour Party, Anderson called for more “stability” and “professionalism” in the government’s engagement with business, which he claims has been lost under a Tory government.

“You might not like some policies, you might really hate some policies that a government or an opposition propose, but stop changing the policy,” Anderson said. “You can build your business around a fiscal or a regulatory approach that remains stable. It’s very, very hard to plot a trajectory around one that keeps changing.”

Anderson claimed Liz Truss’s mini-budget in 2022 was the moment the party “trashed” its reputation as the party of business. 

Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng’s tax-cutting mini-budget roiled the bond market and nearly triggered the collapse of pension funds using debt-fuelled investment strategies. Banks were forced to pull scores of mortgage products from the market as interest rates were skyrocketing.

“[The Conservative party] have done something that I never thought the Conservative Party could or would do. And that is trash [its] reputation for fiscal coherence,” Anderson told Bonds & Ballots.

The comments mark a stinging attack on the party as both Labour and the Conservatives mount a push to woo business in the months ahead of an election.

Anderson, who has also authored a book called ‘F**ck Business’, referencing Boris Johnson’s infamous comments around Brexit, published his report amid a wider charm on the Square Mile from Labour last week, including plans for growth of the financial services sector and a business conference at the Oval.

Writing in City A.M., Labour’s shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves told the City, “when the sector succeeds, we all succeed”.

Labour’s city plans were derided by government figures who claimed they were a copy of Conservative measures, however.

“Whilst any U-turn to copy our reforms is welcome, Labour’s approach to the UK’s Financial Services sector is like a dog-food lasagne,” said the former City minister Andrew Griffith. “Sort of looks the same and may even fool some people but you really wouldn’t prefer it!”

The Conservative party did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for Liz Truss said she would not “design a political attack from an enthusiastic Labour supporter with a response”.

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