Liz Truss guarantees motion on rising power prices in her first speech as UK Prime Minister
LONDON — Britain’s new Prime Minister Liz Truss made her first speech on Tuesday, pledging to tackle soaring energy bills and the cost of living crisis in the coming days.
“I will deal with the energy crisis caused by Putin’s war,” Truss told reporters on the steps of 10 Downing Street.
“I will take action this week to settle energy bills and secure our future energy supply,” she said.
Ahead of her new residence as Prime Minister in London, Truss also said she had a “bold plan” to boost the economy through tax cuts and reforms that would “boost corporate-led growth and investment”.
Improving healthcare was the third priority listed by the former Secretary of State. “I am confident that together we can weather the storm, rebuild the economy and become the modern, brilliant Britain I know we can be,” concluded Truss.
Kwarteng becomes finance minister
Truss was officially appointed Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on Tuesday morning after meeting Queen Elizabeth II at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
Truss’ predecessor, Boris Johnson, formally resigned from his position on the same day.
Truss defeated rival Rishi Sunak, the former finance minister, and won the race for leadership of the Conservative Party. The results were announced on Monday.
As of Tuesday evening, Truss had already begun assembling her cabinet, appointing Kwasi Kwarteng as Treasury Secretary, James Cleverly as Foreign Secretary and Suella Braverman as Home Secretary.
Solving the cost of living crisis
There have been rumors of a £100 billion ($113 billion) energy stimulus package to help Brits deal with the deepening cost-of-living crisis.
However, the question arises as to how such a package should be financed.
“No new taxes” was a sentiment Truss reiterated throughout the Conservative Leadership campaign.
dr Salomon Fiedler, an economist at the investment bank Berenberg, has proposed implementing a package that “may not be that easy”.
“If the incumbent energy suppliers freeze prices now but individually keep them above costs in the future, they could be overtaken in the future by new entrants who don’t have to make up for ongoing losses and could thus undercut them,” said Fiedler.
“It doesn’t look like a time-consistent strategy,” he added.
“Another possibility would be to finance the current energy freeze in the future with a levy on all energy consumers. However, this would be a new tax, forcing Liz Truss to go back on one of her most important promises,” Fiedler said.