Tories in tailspin after PM contradicts Chancellor on austerity
Days after Philip Hammond claimed that only "populists and demagogues" wanted to abandon the government's austerity economic platform, Theresa May has announced that "the end is in sight, we get it."
The Prime Minister has spectacularly undermined her own Chancellor, announcing a raft of new spending pledges after Hammond said that the Conservatives would continue plans to eliminate the budget deficit by the mid 2020s.
Theresa May told the Conservative conference "a decade after the financial crash, people need to know that the austerity it led to is over and that their hard work has paid off."
May also announced that the Conservatives would adopt Labour's policy to lift the spending cap for local government authorities to build new homes, and pledged to raise public spending at the next budget.
"Solving the housing crisis is the biggest domestic policy challenge of our generation.It doesn’t make sense to stop councils from playing their part in solving it. So today I can announce that we are scrapping that cap." she added.
The measures add to splits in the cabinet over the direction of Brexit and the Chequers agreement, which several Tory ministers are thought to strongly oppose, while Hammond has warned of the "serious" consequences for Britian's finances if the country leaves the EU on WTO trade standards.
Responding to the speech, Labour's Ian Lavery said that May was "tinkering around at the edges, relying on petty attacks to cover up their lack of vision."
"Austerity is not an economic necessity. It is a political choice made by the Conservatives to hack away at our public services and communities, leaving workers worse off while gifting huge tax cuts to big business. And as long as Britain has a Conservative prime minister, we’ll never see an end to austerity." he added.