Britain in crisis: How not to run a country

Liz Truss’ new government may already be dead in the water.

British Prime Minister Liz Truss (second from left) and Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng (centre) at the House of Commons in London on Sept 23. PHOTO: REUTERS
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It was meant to usher in an era of economic growth. Instead the 25-minute statement that Mr Kwasi Kwarteng, Britain's new Chancellor of the Exchequer, gave on Sept 23 kick-started a crisis. By unveiling £45 billion (S$70 billion) of unfunded tax cuts, alongside temporary measures to help with energy bills, he spooked financial markets in spectacular fashion.

Most of the tax cuts and emergency spending had been signalled, but the vaunted supply-side reforms needed to pay for them were vague and the new government's approach to the public finances was cavalier. Worse, the backdrop to Mr Kwarteng's epic budget-busting was a slump in bond markets that raised borrowing costs for even the most creditworthy governments.

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