Liz Truss has warned the Tory party that it must ease cost of living pressures by the next election or risk facing the wrath of the electorate.
The foreign secretary said that “every sinew of the government needs to be strained to create the conditions for enterprise across the country”.
Many Britons are in for a tough winter ahead, with food and fuel shortages expected to last until Christmas at least.
Inflation is also increasing at above expected levels, energy prices will soar in the coming months and the poorest will suffer a £1,000-a-year cut to Universal Credit from tomorrow.
Despite this, the Conservatives continue to hold strong leads in opinion polling over Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour.
Speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative party conference in Manchester today, Truss said: “We need to be very, very focused on ensuring that when people look at voting Conservative at the next election that opportunities are getting better, they’re feeling better off, they know their kids are getting a good education.
“Those are the important things people make their electoral decision on and of course the cost of living is one of those things.”
She added: “Every sinew of the government needs to be strained to create the conditions for enterprise across the country.
“If you ask me about leveling up, one of the biggest divides in Britain is the number of enterprises per person across the country.
“We do need to make it easier to set up businesses to do that in every part of our country.”
There is an estimated 100,000-person shortfall in lorry drivers, which has contributed to shortages of fuel and supermarket goods.
Lord Karan Bilimoria, president of the Confederation of Business Industry (CBI), yesterday told City A.M. that there should be a government board that sets immigration targets to plug worker shortages.
Boris Johnson played down the effect of shortages and inflation today.
When asked if there was a crisis, he said: “No, I think that, on the contrary, what you’re seeing with the UK economy, and indeed the global economy, is very largely in the supply chains the stresses and strains that you’d expect from a giant waking up, and that’s what’s happening.”
Truss has been one of the biggest stars of the party conference, with the foreign secretary speaking at 11 fringe events and a smattering of drinks receptions and parties.
Her busy schedule has led to chatter around conference that she is already preparing for a leadership bid when Boris Johnson eventually steps down.