‘Give Liz a chance!’ Economist defends Truss, brands civil servants a ‘disgrace’ for leak
Jeremy Vine caller defends Liz Truss over leaked comments
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Conservative leadership contender Liz Truss has faced fierce backlash after a recording of her bashing workers was leaked to the media. Ms Truss, then Chief Secretary to the Treasury, was recorded saying British workers needed “more graft” as she suggested the wage gap between London and other regions of the UK was “partly a mindset or attitude thing.” Amid the controversy, economics professor Len Shackleton has rushed to the defence of the Foreign Secretary, warning voters to “give the woman a chance.”
Speaking on LBC, the economist said: “First of all, I would say that I think it is a disgrace that civil servants record this stuff and then leak it – nobody’s really talking about that.”
It is not confirmed who leaked the clip to The Guardian, but it is suggested to be at least “half a decade old” according to members of Ms Truss’ campaign team.
Professor Shacklton continued: “There are 32 million people in the workforce and to pretend they’re all lazy is nonsense, but I do think there is an element in there which Liz Truss did draw attention to.
“If we look at recent stories, for example, we’ve been looking at stuff like quiet quitting.”
The term ‘quiet quitting’ refers to a notion of poor work ethic where employees remain in their role but are not ambitious or overly hard-working, instead choosing to prioritise life outside the office.
Professor Shackleton added: “We’ve seen a reluctance of people to return to the office, which in the case of many civil service people, has been a problem.
“We’ve seen the rail unions resisting attempts to increase productivity by modernising work practices.
“There is a cultural issue there, I think.
“It’s certainly part of the mix of poor management, inadequate investments, our benefits system is dysfunctional and so forth.”
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The economist defended the statement of Ms Truss as he said: “People should be allowed to say various things.”
He suggested the statements of Ms Truss hinted towards a wider problem of declining ambition among the workforce which could have grave economic consequences.
Professor Shackleton continued: “Give the woman a chance, she hasn’t done anything yet.
“She’s been doing quite a lot of talking perhaps, but let’s judge her when she’s actually doing something.”
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In the leaked recording, the Foreign Secretary said: “There’s a fundamental issue of British working culture.
“Essentially, if we’re going to be a richer country and a more prosperous country, that needs to change, but I don’t think people are that keen to change that.”
Ms Truss suggested that, in order to strengthen the economy and justify higher wages, workers needed to approach their role with enthusiasm and a willing attitude.
She added: “Actually, what needs to happen is more graft. It’s not a popular message.”
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