Sep 29, 2022 - World

New U.K. Prime Minister Liz Truss off to a rocky start

Liz Truss visits a modular housing business last week. Photo: Dylan Martinez/WPA Pool/Getty

New U.K. Prime Minister Liz Truss promised Conservative Party members that if they elected her she'd slash taxes, including for businesses and the wealthy, to stimulate growth.

How it happened: With energy prices soaring, though, she had little choice but offer massive government assistance to help households and businesses keep the lights (and heating) on.

  • Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng decided to do both at the same time, deficits be damned.
  • The package Kwarteng laid out on Friday sent the pound plummeting to a record-low against the dollar, forced an emergency central bank intervention, and prompted the sort of concerned IMF response typically reserved for debt-laden developing countries.

Driving the news: Criticized for her initial silence as the economy tanked, Truss appeared on eight local radio stations on Thursday. But her halting answers gave further fuel to the opposition.

  • “Liz Truss has finally broken her long painful silence with a series of short painful silences," Labour Deputy Leader Angela Rayner quipped.

By the numbers: Labour leads the Conservatives by a stunning 33% according to a new YouGov poll, up from 14% when she took office just three weeks ago.

  • Still, no general election is due for two years. For now, Truss insists she'll stay the course.
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