Thérèse Coffey refuses to dispute IFS report saying £60bn worth of cuts needed to make up for mini-budget – UK Politics Live | Politics

Good morning. MPs return to the Commons after the party conference season today, and though Liz Truss has performed potentially quite a significant reset after the most disastrous first month in office of any prime minister in modern times, her problems still seem almost impossible.

ONE report today from the Institute for Fiscal Policy Studies underlines how serious the situation is. It says the government will need to find £60bn of savings by 2026 to fill the gap left by the unfunded tax cuts in the mini-budget. My colleague Philip Inman have the story here.

This morning Therese Coffey have held interviews. As well as health secretary and deputy prime minister, she appears to have been appointed “minister for the Today programme” (No 10’s first choice for a round when someone is needed to sound calm and sensible – previous holders of the post include Grant Shapps and Michael Fallon). On Sky News she was asked about the IFS report and she answered as if it was a moderately interesting academic exercise. Crucially, however, she did not at any point attempt to suggest that what the IFS said was wrong.

When Kay Burley asked about the IFS’s claim that there is a £60 billion black hole in the government’s accounts, Coffee answered:

IFS naturally does its own modelling. The Government is working with the Bank of England and the OBR on these measures and this is what the Treasury has been working on…

But I think the IFS also pointed out that if we don’t grow, then this problem will get worse and worse. And it is therefore very clear that the Prime Minister and the Chancellor laid out a plan for growth.

Asked again how the government would fill this “black hole”, Coffey again said this was IFS modelling. Asked if it was true, she replied:

It is not for me to say. These are their forecasts. The chancellor speaks at the end of the month with the medium-term financial plan.

Burley tried again. She said the IFS said all government departments, except the NHS and Defence, may have to face budget cuts of 15% to fill this “black hole”. Coffee answered:

I just don’t want to get into hypotheticals, Kay. The chancellor is working on it…

We will hear from you later Quasi Quarteng, the chancellor, even about this. He answers questions in the Commons.

Here is the agenda for the day.

8.45: Liz Truss chairs a policy cabinet meeting followed by a normal cabinet.

10.30am: The Supreme Court begins hearing the case brought by the Scottish Government arguing that it has the right to hold an independence referendum.

11.30: Downing Street holds a lobby briefing.

13:00: Truss will attend a virtual G7 summit, which will also be addressed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

2.30 p.m.: Kwasi Kwarteng, the Chancellor, takes questions in the Commons.

After 15:00: Peers begin debating the second reading of the Northern Ireland protocol proposal.

After 3.45pm: MPs begin debating the Health and Social Care Charge (Repeal) Bill.

16:00: Lord Frost, the Tory’s former Brexit minister, and Lord Mandelson, Labour’s former Northern Ireland Secretary and former Trade Secretary, give evidence to the Lords European Affairs Committee on Brexit.

I’m trying to monitor the comments below the line (BTL), but it’s impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’ll be more likely to find it. I try to answer questions and if they are of general interest I will post the above the line (ATL) question and answer, although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

If you want to get my attention quickly, it’s probably better to use Twitter. I am in @AndrewSparrow.

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