Cuts to government spending are the only way to grow economy, Penny Mordaunt reveals in leaked recording

14 June 2024, 16:26 | Updated: 14 June 2024, 16:31

Penny Mordaunt
Penny Mordaunt. Picture: Alamy
Natasha Clark

By Natasha Clark

Cutting wasteful government spending is the only way to grow Britain's economy, Penny Mordaunt has said privately.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

In a leaked recording obtained by LBC, the Commons leader and Tory candidate told activists that the state is too big and Government is trying to do too many things.

The top Tory - who many expect to run for leadership if the party loses the election - said she wanted to see ministers slash public spending in a bid to grow the economy.

She was responding to a question at a fundraiser at the Enfield North Conservative Local Association in April 2024, asking whether major cuts in public expenditure would be necessary and if so, where they should fall.

Ms Mordaunt said: “One of the only levers that we have now to get ourselves motoring again is to reduce our expenditure and control public spending.”

She went on: “There's lots we can do to save money and every single week I could give you some examples... because when I stand up at the Despatch Box I have a list of everything that government has done that week and to be honest with you, only the top three things on that list are things that we should be doing.”

Read more: Angela Rayner and Penny Mordaunt clash in heated seven-way debate with Nigel Farage dubbed 'Labour enabler'

Read more: Rishi Sunak defiant despite Reform UK overtaking Tories in poll as he insists he's 'fighting for every vote'

Ms Mordaunt insisted the government should continue to splash out on the NHS, and insisted there were several budgets that should always be protected - but others could be more productive.

And she said more needed to be done to force more Whitehall staff to stop working from home and come into the office.

She said: “We've always protected certain budgets - defence and the schools budget and things to do with our national security.

"But everything else we have got to get more productive in.”

It comes after the Institute for Fiscal Studies accused both parties of a "conspiracy of silence" over refusing to say where cuts may fall.

The current government spending has billions of pounds worth of spending cuts baked in, for whoever wins the general election.

Under plans set out by Jeremy Hunt at the last budget, public spending will rise by one per cent a year in real terms from 2025.

Departments such as the NHS and defence will be protected - but other departments won't be.

The IFS say that could mean cuts of 3.5 per cent.

But the think tank has accused parties of failing to be honest about it - and what it means.

Penny Mordaunt taking part in an election debate on Thursday.
Penny Mordaunt taking part in an election debate on Thursday. Picture: Getty

Experts believe services such as local government and police budgets are most at risk with up to £20billion of possible cuts baked in.

Both the Tories and Labour have spent the last three weeks of the election campaign accusing the other of huge unfunded spending plans.

Rishi Sunak said earlier this week when grilled about what cuts would be coming to councils and prisons: "Investment in day to day public services will continue to rise ahead of inflation.

"But I also think it's reasonable to look for efficiencies in the public sector."

Yesterday Sir Keir Starmer refused multiple times to rule out cuts to spending if he wins the election - but insisted there would be "no return to austerity" under Labour.

He's expected to carry out a speedy spending review if he gets into No10 to determine what should happen to budgets.

A spokesperson for Ms Mordaunt has been approached for comment.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Keir Starmer welcomes Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Downing Street

Starmer greets Zelenskyy as Ukrainian President becomes first foreign leader to address UK cabinet since Bill Clinton

Roger Hallam was jailed for five years over M25 protests

‘Their protests are pathetic’: Armed forces minister slams Just Stop Oil as founder give five-year prison sentence

2024 Republican National Convention: Day 4

Hulk Hogan tears off shirt on stage at Republican national convention as he declares 'Trumpmania'

Clean up has begun following the riot in Leeds

Clean-up begins after riot sweeps through Leeds neighbourhood with bus set on fire and police car overturned

A global IT outage has hit airports and banks across the world

Global IT outage LIVE: Microsoft error grounds planes, stops trains with banks and GP surgeries hit

A Microsoft bug has caused a huge IT update

Mass IT outage grounds planes and hits trains, banks and businesses across the world

Nadiya Bychkova has 'made a complaint against Strictly'

Strictly scandal deepens as pro Nadiya Bychkova 'makes complaint against show'

MPs have been subject to abuse within weeks of being elected for the first time

'Traitor, piece of s***, horrible excuse of a woman': New MPs fear attacks after receiving hundreds of abusive messages

Trump recounted the shooting on Saturday

'I'm not supposed to be here': Emotional Donald Trump recounts assassination attempt in first speech since shooting

A police car was overturned in the disturbance and a bus was set on fire

Home Secretary condemns 'shocking' riot in Leeds, after bus set on fire and police car overturned in mass disorder

Nancy Pelosi has said 'Biden can be convinced to quit the presidential race'

Nancy Pelosi 'says Biden can be convinced to quit race', after Obama says he 'must seriously consider' stepping aside

Zelenskyy is set to address Cabinet on Friday

Zelenskyy to address UK Cabinet as Starmer pledges to tackle Russia's 'shadow fleet' to squeeze Kremlin finances

Rikki Berry was shot dead in Kirkby on Wednesday

Man shot dead in Liverpool suburb named for the first time, as police release photo

Bob Newhart has died aged 94

Comedian and actor Bob Newhart, known for his work in Elf and the Big Bang Theory, dies aged 94

Starmer and Macron have had a bilateral meeting in Oxfordshire

Starmer and Macron share sorrow over Channel migrant death, as PM calls for Europe to work together to tackle crisis

A police car was overturned in the disturbance and fires appear to have been lit

Chaos in Leeds as police car overturned and bus set on fire in riot, as Home Secretary condemns 'shocking' scenes