United Kingdom: faced with the crisis, Liz Truss refuses to tax energy companies

United Kingdom: faced with the crisis, Liz Truss refuses to tax companies & eacute; energy


New British Prime Minister Liz Truss promised to announce measures on Thursday to deal with the scale of the cost of living crisis, but ruled out taxing energy companies to finance them, during his first duel with the Leader of the Opposition. 

The day after taking office in Downing Street, the head of the Conservative government admitted to MPs coming to power in a “vital period” for the United Kingdom, faced with inflation at more than 10%, a risk of recession. , ever-increasing strikes and a falling currency.

She said she would come back the next day with a plan to tackle soaring energy bills. According to the press, Liz Truss, who in the campaign said she preferred tax cuts to redistribution, wants to freeze gas and electricity prices, which are supposed to increase by 80% from October.

< p>Such a project could represent a massive cost of more than 150 billion euros. But the leader, during the first session of questions to the Prime Minister, hammered home her rejection of the exceptional tax on energy companies which Boris Johnson had resolved to help households.

“The money has to come from somewhere,” challenged Labor Party leader Keir Starmer. “She is the fourth Conservative Prime Minister in six years, the face may change but the story remains the same,” he lamented, accusing him of wanting to shift the burden of his plan to public finances rather than drain corporate profits.

Social unrest

“The truth is that this country will not find the path to growth through taxes (…) but by attracting investment, lowering taxes and acting faster, ”replied Liz Truss, rather comfortable in the exercise, highlighting the dangers of taxation “at the same level as France”.

As the dispute with Brussels over Northern Ireland's post-Brexit status threatens to harden, Liz Truss also said she was “determined” to work with “all parties” to resolve the crisis, saying she preferred a ” negotiated solution” but warning that she would not accept the status quo, in the face of the political deadlock in the province.

Liz Truss, a fervent liberal aged 47, finds herself confronted with a situation that increasingly resembles the days of Margaret Thatcher, of which she claims to be. 

Never since the 1980s, social discontent had never been so strong, with strikes multiplying to demand wage increases. Never since then has inflation been so strong or the pound sterling so weak: the currency plunged on Wednesday to its lowest level since 1985 against the dollar.

< p>Bad polls

Barely appointed head of government during an audience with Queen Elizabeth II in Scotland, Liz Truss assured Tuesday that the country could “emerge from the storm”, a formula repeated on Wednesday in many British newspapers.

The bet has not been won for the former head of diplomacy: chosen by the base of her party, she remains little liked by the population, two years before legislative elections in which Labor are given the winners.< /p>

Only a third of Britons expect her to do a good job, according to an Ipsos poll.

While the majority of Conservative MPs would have preferred her rival Rishi Sunak to become head of government, she will also have to somehow bring together a divided party after 12 years in power. 

After making a campaign on the very right, Liz Truss was surrounded in the House of Commons by her loyal supporters whom she appointed to her cabinet, starting with her Minister of Finance, Kwasi Kwarteng, hitherto in charge of Enterprises and Energy and supporter like her of a state with little interventionist and a market economy.

For the first time, the three main cabinet positions will be occupied by elected representatives from diversity – but passed through the classic private education of the British elite. 

As well as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has maternal roots in Sierra Leone, and Home Secretary , Suella Braverman, is of Indian descent.