Truss defends her economic plan as UK Conservatives gather

British Prime Minister Liz Truss tried to reassure her party and the public on Sunday by saying she should have done more to “lay the ground” for an economic plan that saw the pound fall to record lows and government borrowing costs soar.On the first day of her governing Conservative Party’s annual conference, Truss, in office for less than a month but already under intense pressure, sought a softer tone by saying she would support the public during a difficult winter and beyond.She defended her “growth plan”, a package of tax-cutting measures that investors and many economists have criticised for setting out billions of pounds of spending while offering few details on how it would be paid for in the short term.Truss said it was the right direction, suggesting she had not fully explained to critics the depth of Britain’s problems and the urgent need for a radical plan. Traders and investors have dismissed that argument as a reason for the falls in the pound and the increase in borrowing costs last week.But in what some Conservative lawmakers worry will hurt their prospects at an election due in 2024, Truss did not deny that the plan would require spending cuts for public services and refused to commit to increasing welfare benefits in line with inflation, while endorsing a tax cut for the wealthiest.Asked what she was doing to ease concerns in Britain about the impact of her plan on mortgages, loan and rental costs, Truss told the BBC: “I understand their worries about what has happened this week,” she told the BBC in the central English city of Birmingham.”I do stand by the package we announced, and I stand by the fact that we announced it quickly because we had to act, but I do accept that we should have laid the ground better.”Jake Berry, chairman of the Conservative Party, suggested the markets may have overreacted, while admitting he was not an economist. “So let’s see where the markets are in six months time,” he told Sky News.