Truss reels after speech by finance minister appointed three days ago

Truss reels after speech by finance minister appointed three days ago

October 17, 2022, 23:23 PM

October 17, 2022, 23:23 PM

The new British finance minister Jeremy Hunt announced the suppression of ‘almost all fiscal measures’ presented three weeks earlier by the government of the first Minister Liz Truss, whose political survival is threatened. ‘Does Truss now have the authority to run the government?‘, asks RFI correspondent in London, Émeline Vin.

Jeremy Hunt, appointed on Friday immediately after the ouster of the ultra-liberal Kwasi Kwarteng –who remained in office for just over a month– made the announcement in a television message, before giving explanations in the afternoon in the House of Commons in London.

Although this goes against parliamentary rules, he explained that he had obtained authorization from the chamber “to reduce counterproductive speculation” about “sensitive decisions for the market” to which it is necessary to “provide confidence and stability”.

For our correspondent in London, Émeline Vin, “more than a new setback, this represents for Truss a monumental slap. From a political point of view, this means that his program has just fizzled out. His finance minister has just publicly dismissed his policy.”

British financial markets have been shaken by great nervousnessThere has been volatility since Truss and Kwarteng presented their controversial economic package on September 23.

This combined significant public support for energy bills and strong tax cuts, but it did not include anything to finance it beyond fattening the already very bulky British public debt.

Taking a dramatic 180 degree turn and further weakening Trusswho is still in the position of prime minister, but no longer with any real power, Hunt announced: “we will reverse almost all the fiscal measures announced (…) three weeks ago”.

Among the main decisions, aid to households to face the expensive bills Energy bills will be limited to six months, until April, instead of the two years promised by Truss and Kwarteng.

This change and the suppression of planned tax reductions will contribute to the British public coffers about 32,000 million pounds (36,000 million dollars) per year, he estimated. In contrast, analysts expected a financial hole of 60,000 pounds with the previous measures.

“Truss is still in office, but is she still in power, does she still have the authority to run a government, not to mention the party and the country?” RFI correspondent Émeline Vin also wonders.

Truss, increasingly questioned, gave a disastrous press conference on Friday to announce his decision to change his finance minister and modify his controversial fiscal measures. Appearing tense to the press, she dodged questions about his own resignation and left after 8 minutes.

After this new blow to her credibility, the head of government must meet on Monday afternoon with the deputies of her Conservative Party to try to convince them to keep her in office.

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