5 Feb 2023

Liz Truss: I was never given 'realistic chance' to enact tax-cuts

7:16 pm on 5 February 2023
Britain's Prime Minister Liz Truss holds a press conference in the Downing Street Briefing Room on 14 October, 2022, following the sacking of the finance minister in response to a budget that sparked markets chaos.

Liz Truss became the shortest serving Prime Minister in British history. Photo: AFP/Daniel Leal

By Jasmine Andersson for the BBC

Liz Truss has said she was never given a "realistic chance" to implement her radical tax-cutting agenda by her party.

In a 4000-word essay in the Sunday Telegraph, Truss stood by her plans to boost economic growth, arguing they were brought down by "the left-wing economic establishment".

They are the first public comments the former British Prime Minister has made on her resignation.

But she said she was not "blameless" for the unravelling of the mini-budget.

Truss was forced to quit after she and her chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng's £45bn package of unfunded tax cuts panicked the markets and tanked the pound to a record low.

Her brief time in power - 49 days - made her the shortest-serving prime minister in UK history.

Truss said that while her experience last autumn was "bruising for me personally", she believed that over the medium term her policies would have increased growth and therefore brought down debt.

The ex-PM said she had not been warned of the risks to the bond markets from liability-driven investments (LDIs) - bought up by pension funds - due to the mini-budget, which forced the Bank of England to step in to prevent them collapsing as the cost of government borrowing soared.

The government did not tell the Bank of England about its tax cut plans before the mini-budget, one of its deputy governors said at the time.

But the ex-PM argued that the government was made a "scapegoat" for developments that had been brewing for some time.

She wrote: "While the government was focused on investigating what had happened and taking action to remedy the situation, political and media commentators cast an immediate verdict blaming the mini-budget.

"Frankly, we were also pushing water uphill. Large parts of the media and the wider public sphere had become unfamiliar with key arguments about tax and economic policy and over time sentiment had shifted leftwards.

"Regrettably, the government became a useful scapegoat for problems that had been brewing over a number of months."


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