LIZ TRUSS, who is likely to be Britain’s next Prime Minister, has shown her true colours. The Tory leadership favourite pledged to slash £8.8bn from the pay of our hardworking nurses, teachers, police officers and armed forces – cutting their salaries by an average of £1,500 a year.

Ms Truss claims that her campaign was misrepresented, but the truth is that she called for this policy as far back as 2018 when she was a minister in the Treasury. It’s clear this is not only what she said but what she really believes.

The consequences would be devastating for communities across the North – and as a Yorkshire MP, I know how hard that would be for families to bear.

Her plan for regional pay boards would lower the pay of Northerners, worsening the divide which already exists – a combined hit of £2.6bn to the economies of the North East and Yorkshire and Humberside.

At a time when people are struggling to afford even the basics, with energy prices due to rise even higher in a few months’ time, this is not just economically damaging but morally wrong.

It also shows the Tories' commitment to levelling up is dead on arrival. Instead, it is levelling down for everyone outside the M25.

This whole debacle shows why she’s not fit to be Prime Minister.

Liz Truss has been at the top table in government for nearly a decade, during which time the Conservatives have allowed Britain to sleepwalk into a cost of living crisis.

Meanwhile her opponent, Rishi Sunak, presided over that Tory cost of living crisis. His credibility is shot to pieces. His only action so far has been to belatedly steal Labour’s windfall tax after months of claiming it was a bad idea.

Liz Truss voted for every one of his 15 tax rises. Both Sunak and Truss were frontbenchers when the Tories sold off the UK’s gas storage facilities – they are collectively responsible for the cost of living crisis, and now have no plan to fix it.

As senior members of the Cabinet who backed Boris Johnson to the bitter end, both parroted the lies, denials and distortions of the last year. Whichever one of these continuity candidates wins, one thing is clear: the more time we give the Tories, the more damage they will do.

Labour has a plan to get people through this cost of living crisis. And we also have a plan to build the stronger, more secure and fairer economy that Britain needs – an economy in which people are paid a wage they can afford to raise a family on, and where workers in every sector are valued and respected.

It is only by growing the economy that we’ll be able to afford to invest in our schools, hospitals and police, reversing the damage done by successive Conservative governments over the past 12 years.

The next Labour Government will deliver for the places that built our country. Britain deserves better. Only Labour can provide the fresh start the country needs.

  • Rachel Reeves is the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Labour MP for Leeds West