Ahead of his conference speech this morning, George Osborne was on the Today Programme. Much of the interview revolved around whether or not the Chancellor would have to abandon his aim of having the national debt falling as a percentage of GDOP by 2015/16. Osborne batted away these questions, stressing that he was waiting for the numbers from the Office of Budget Responsibility.

Osborne also said that there would be ‘new taxes on rich people’ to accompany the £10 billion of welfare cuts that he wants to see. Osborne stressed that efforts to make the rich pay more were not simply to ‘appease Liberal Democrats’.

One of the dilemmas for the Tories is how much to talk up the economy at this conference. The language they seem to have hit on is that ‘the economy is healing’. Osborne used this phrase in a speech to the Scottish CBI last month and it has been on the lips of Cabinet ministers in Birmingham this week.

Tags: Conservative conference 2012, Conservatives, George Osborne, Tax, Tory conference, UK politics, Welfare reform