Britain’s new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, among the first to punch holes in his predecessor Liz Truss’ economic plan, today said that while she was making ‘mistakes’ he admired her ‘eagerness to create change’ . Ms Truss’ plan – based on massive unfunded tax cuts – ultimately ousted her from power just 49 days after taking office.
In his first address to the people as prime minister, Mr Sunak spoke of the “deep” economic crisis facing the country. “The aftermath of Covid lingers. Putin’s (Russian President Vladimir Putin) war has destabilized supply chains…” he said.
“I want to pay tribute to my predecessor, Liz Truss. She was not wrong in wanting to improve growth in this country. It’s a noble goal. And I admired her restlessness to create change. But some mistakes were made. made. Not born of or of bad intentions. Quite the contrary, in fact, but errors nevertheless. And I was elected to lead my party and your Prime Minister, in part, to repair them. And this work begins immediately,” Rishi Sunak said.
Liz Truss had quit the top job after her mini-budget plan spooked the markets. “Given the situation, I cannot carry out the mandate for which I was elected,” she told the media.
During the leadership race earlier this year, Rishi Sunak criticized Liz Truss’ tax cut program. He said he would cut taxes only after he got inflation under control. He had also presented a plan to reduce income tax from 20% to 16% by 2029.
In his address today, he said he would “put economic stability and competence at the heart of this government’s agenda”.
Leaving 10 Downing Street, the British Prime Minister’s official residence, Ms Truss wished Mr Sunak ‘all the best’ and said she remained ‘more convinced than ever’ that Britain needed to be ‘bold’ to meet the challenges it faced.
Mr Sunak faces the challenge of not only devising a solution to the economic challenges, but also getting it approved by his Conservative Party, which remains deeply divided on key issues such as tax hikes, tax cuts and expenses.
Higher taxes are likely to be strongly opposed by a section of the party. Others will oppose spending cuts in key areas like health and defence.
In his speech today, Mr Sunak also praised former Prime Minister Boris Johnson. He said he would always be grateful to Boris Johnson for his “incredible achievements” as Prime Minister and would treasure his warmth and generosity of spirit.