By: Lucy Panicacci
After being in office for a mere six weeks, Britain’s Prime Minister Liz Truss announced her resignation on Oct. 20. Although her term was short, her disastrous tax-cut agenda left substantial economic and political effects on Britain. In her resignation speech, she stated: “Given the situation, I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party.”
During her 44-day tenure, Truss focused primarily on implementing a series of controversial tax cuts. This plan, known as the “mini-budget,” prioritized tax cuts on the wealthy, proposing the removal of income tax on the top bracket of earners. This new policy triggered an economic crisis, forcing the government to reduce spending to make up for the billions of pounds lost. The value of the pound plummeted to historic lows, with it nearly matching the value of the dollar. Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman criticized Truss’s economic management, saying, “Pretending we haven’t made mistakes, carrying on as if everyone can’t see that we have made them, and hoping that things will magically come right is not serious politics.” Two days before her resignation, on Oct. 18, YouGov reported Truss held an approval rating of ten percent — the lowest of any prime minister.
Truss’s unpopularity continued to rise as members of Parliament firmly denied her tax-cut agenda. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt declared he would “reverse almost all the tax measures” that Truss previously announced. Ironically, a day prior to resigning, Truss responded to calls for her resignation and criticisms in Parliament with “I’m a fighter, not a quitter.” Since she stepped down as Prime Minister, Parliament has overturned each of her tax measures.
Truss’s short term left lingering political tension throughout Britain. Conservative Parliament member Charles Walker believes that Truss caused irreparable damage, stating, “I’m livid, and you know I really shouldn’t say this, but I hope all those people that put Liz Truss in No. 10 [Downing Street], I hope it was worth it…The damage they have done to our party is extraordinary.”
Following an election by Conservative members of Parliament on Oct. 24, King Charles III formally approved Rishi Sunak as the new Prime Minister. Previous Prime Minister Boris Johnston was also a candidate, but his scandalous reputation took him out of consideration. In Britain, concerns remain over the cost of living, increased mortgage interest rates, and rising food prices. Currently, inflation stands at a staggering 10.1 percent. Despite Truss having the shortest term in British history, she has left Sunak to face what he calls a “profound economic challenge.”
(Sources: BBC News, NPR, NY Times)
Leave a Reply