British Prime Minister Liz Truss defended her massive tax cut policy on Sunday, admitting to communication errors after her budget announcements turned into a financial fiasco amid a cost-of-living crisis.
Less than a month after his arrival in Downing Street, the new government leader, more unpopular than ever, told the BBC that his “mini-budget” had been presented on September 23 from Birmingham, where the Conservative Party’s annual conference was about to begin. “The Right End”.
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“I still stick to the plan we announced, we announced it quickly because we had to act, but I realize we should have prepared the ground better,” he said.
A misunderstanding of the markets
Finance Minister Kwasi Kwarteng last week announced a ‘mini-budget’ to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and single-digit inflation, but his aid-based announcements prompted direct cuts to energy bills and massive tax cuts for the rich. A lack of understanding in financial markets, which fears a credit crunch.
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“I think it was the right decision to increase borrowing this winter,” Liz Truss repeated after a tumultuous week in which the pound hit an all-time low, prompting intervention by the International Monetary Fund and the Bank of England.
“Of course we have to reduce the debt to a certain percentage of GDP in the medium term, and I have a plan for that. But what would have been wrong if not to act,” she said, without elaborating on how she intends to do that.
More unpopular than ever
After three weeks in Downing Street, Liz Truss is more unpopular with Britons than ever – 51% of whom believe she should resign, according to a YouGov poll – but is not united in her Conservative ranks either.
Some Tories are upset by his budget policy, and will not hesitate to say so in a sombre atmosphere and sparse ranks as the party’s annual conference begins on Sunday.
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“At a time when people are concerned and worried about their debts and the level of their payments, tax cuts for the rich as a key fiscal measure present poor values,” Tory MP Michael Gove told the BBC. “I don’t think it’s a good thing,” he said Sunday when asked if he would vote for the budget in parliament.
Neither Sunak nor Johnson
Liz Truss’ appearance on the BBC on Sunday was her first in front of a national audience since the mini-budget announcement. He made the rounds of local BBC stations on Thursday, but his awkward silence was commented on rather than his futile attempts to defend his policy.
After this series of disappointments, the Tories have slumped in the polls, with Labor leading the opposition by 33 points according to a YouGov survey published on Thursday, unheard of in the 1990s and the era of former Labor prime minister Tony Blair.
“I will do everything I can to win the hearts and minds of my colleagues in the Conservative Party”, I wanted to assure Liz Truss on Sunday. But in this murky and divisive atmosphere, a large Tory mass is likely to take place in Birmingham with rarefied teams. Liz Truss’ former rival in the race for Downing Street, Rishi Sunak, or former prime minister Boris Johnson should not actually make the trip.
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After protests over the weekend over the cost of living crisis, the hugely unpopular Kwasi Kwarteng will address the conference on Monday, while Liz Truss will close the rally on Wednesday.
According to the British press, letters against the new leader are already pouring in from party fringe party Boris Johnson. Others believe, on the contrary, that we should close ranks to avoid early general elections that would collapse the Conservative Party.
MP Charles Walker warned that if such elections were held, “we would cease to be a functioning political party”.
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