Boris Johnson: key moments from Prime Minister’s conference speech as he vows ‘high-wage, low tax economy’

The Prime Minister hit out at “decades of drift and dither” from previous governments lacking the “guts” for major change

Boris Johnson has vowed that the country is moving towards a “high-wage, high-skill, high productivity and low tax economy” in his keynote speech at the Conservative party conference.

The Prime Minister also made a series of pledges on tackling the “huge hole” in finances, planting more trees, tackling people traffickers and planting more trees.

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At a glance: 5 key points

  • Boris Johnson hit out at “decades of drift and dither” from previous governments lacking the “guts” for major change as he pledged to fix the social care crisis.
  • He admitted his changes to the economy after Brexit will at times be “difficult” but insisted they will result in a fairer “high wage, low tax” system.
  • The Prime Minister said a “tide of anxiety” is washing into A&E departments and GP practices, as he defended his multi-billion pound tax hike to pay for NHS and social care.
  • He also urged people to go back to their workplaces after working from home because of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • In other announcements, Mr Johnson shared an ambition of trying to “rewild” parts of the country as he welcomed otters and beavers returning to rivers. He also pledged to fight people-trafficking gangs at “home and abroad”.

What the Prime Minister said

Working-from home

“As we come out of Covid, our towns and cities are going to be buzzing with life because we know that a productive workforce needs the spur that only comes with face-to-face meetings and water cooler gossip.

“If young people are to learn on the job in the way they always have and must, we will and must see people back in the office.”

Wages and skills

“That’s the direction in which the country is going now – towards a high-wage, high-skilled, high-productivity and, yes, thereby a low-tax economy. That is what the people of this country need and deserve.

“Yes, it will take time, and sometimes it will be difficult, but that is the change that people voted for in 2016.”

“Our mission as Conservatives is to promote opportunity with every tool we have.

“It is still a grim fact in this country that kids will grow up in neighbourhoods that are much less safe than others, some will be sucked into gangs, some will be at risk of stabbings and shootings, some will get themselves caught in the one-way ratchet of the criminal justice system. Many others will not.

“That’s why levelling-up means fighting crime, putting more police out on the beat as we are, toughening sentences, rolling up the county lines drug network – with 1,100 of them gone already – giving police the powers they need to fight these demons in death and misery. That’s what we want to do.”

Violence against women

“On behalf of the entire Government, I tell you this: we will not rest until we’ve increased the successful prosecutions for rape.

“Because too many lying, bullying, cowardly men are using the law’s delay to get away with violence against women, and we cannot and will not stand for it.”

Insulate Britain protesters

“You know those people gluing themselves to roads – I don’t call them legitimate protesters like some Labour councillors.

“I say they are a confounded nuisance who are blocking ambulances, stopping people going about their daily lives.

“I’m glad Priti is taking new powers to insulate them snuggly in prison where they belong.”

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