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Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will give his Conservative Party conference speech this afternoon, where he is expected to announce a living wage increase but resist calls from within his own party to lower taxes.
The Tory party is said to be embroiled in a row over tax policy, with Cabinet minister Michael Gove and former prime minister Liz Truss among those pushing for cuts before the election.
But on Monday morning ahead of his speech, the Chancellor said it is “not the right time” for tax cuts as they would fuel inflation.
What time is Jeremy Hunt’s speech?
The Chancellor is expected to give his speech at around 1pm.
His speech follows Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Lucy Frazer’s address.
Also speaking in the afternoon are Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch, Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride, Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey and Education Secretary Gillian Keegan.
Tuesday will see the likes of Health Secretary Steve Barclay and Home Secretary Suella Braverman speak, while Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will close the conference on Wednesday.
How can I watch the speech live?
You can watch a live stream of Mr Hunt’s speech right here on this page.
It will also be streamed live on the Conservatives’ YouTube channel, which you can find here.
What will Jeremy Hunt say?
The Chancellor is expected to say that the Government will accept whatever recommendation comes from the Low Pay Commission on the living wage, which is set to rise to no less than £11 per hour.
The pledge will meet a 2019 manifesto commitment to increase pay for the lowest paid workers to two thirds of median earnings.
Mr Hunt will tell conference: “We promised in our manifesto to raise the national living wage to two-thirds of median income – ending low pay in this country.
“At the moment it is £10.42 an hour and we are waiting for the Low Pay Commission to confirm its recommendation for next year. But I confirm today, whatever that recommendation, we will increase it next year to at least £11 an hour. A pay rise for over two million workers.
“The wages of the lowest paid are over £9,000 a year higher than they were in 2010 – because if you work hard, a Conservative government will always have your back.”
He is also expected to outline plans to introduce tougher sanctions for people on benefits who do not to take steps to find work.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday morning: “We are a free society; you can’t force anyone to do anything, but we have to answer the exam question as to how we deal with the fact that every year we are putting around 100,000 people on to benefits without any obligation to look for work, in an economy where there are about a million vacancies.
“In particular, we have 300,000 people who are out of work without any disability or illness for more than a year.
“What we want to do is have a society where work pays, so what we’ll be doing is yes, we’ll be looking at the sanctions, but what we’ll also be doing is increasing the national living wage for people who do the right thing to more than £11 per hour.
“Compared to 2010, if you’re paid the lowest legally allowed wage, you’ll be £9,000 a year better off.
“It’s carrot and stick, but we do need a society in which work pays.”
While visiting a building site in Manchester on Monday morning, the Chancellor said there were “no shortcuts” to boosting growth.
Asked when he may move to cut taxes, as some senior Tories are demanding, he told broadcasters: “My message to the Conservative Party, but actually to the whole country today, is that if we want faster growth and to stop taxes ever rising, that’s possible but there are no shortcuts. We have to take difficult decisions to help companies grow, we have got to spend public spending, taxpayers’ money, more efficiently, including reforms to welfare.
“But we are making progress, we have already seen inflation fall by nearly 40 per cent.
“We have recovered faster than Germany or France from the pandemic and we have a Prime Minister who is willing to take those difficult decisions, to make sure we do stay on the right track as a country.”