UK’s Kwarteng abandons US trip as pressure over economy mounts | News

The chaos at the heart of the government is fueling speculation as to whether it can survive after 37 days in office.

Britain’s embattled Prime Minister Liz Truss has called a hastily arranged press conference after Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng cut short his trip to Washington to return early to London, where pressure is mounting on the new government to end economic policies that have been causing turmoil in financial markets.

Truss’ office did not disclose the subject of Friday’s press conference. Several UK news outlets reported Kwarteng would be leaving his post, while Downing Street declined to comment on “speculation”.

It comes a day after the ailing pound and government bonds rallied as the government began re-examining the widely condemned unfunded tax cut package that has seen borrowing costs soar and forced the Bank of England to intervene.

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The government is now being urged to reverse course as polls show public support for them has collapsed and as Conservative Party colleagues have begun openly discussing whether they should be replaced, just 37 days after taking office.

With financial markets shaken, the government has already announced a full fiscal plan detailing the cost of unfunded tax cuts and whether they will boost economic growth.

Al Jazeera’s Neave Barker, reporting from London, said the government, which has repeatedly stressed the benefits of its plan, appeared to be bowing to the pressure.

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“There is a lot of speculation growing as to whether the government is now ready to announce a reversal in some or many aspects of the budget,” he said.

“There’s also a lot of speculation about what could possibly go, including possibly the decision to lower the cooperation tax,” he added.

‘Let’s wait and see’

Greg Hands, a junior trade secretary, suggested people must now “wait and see” what Kwarteng’s announcement, scheduled for October 31, brings.

Asked if the government was preparing a change of course, Hands told Sky News: “I saw the Prime Minister yesterday. The Prime Minister and the Chancellor are determined to implement the growth plan.

“I think we just have to wait and see what the Chancellor says in the medium-term plan for October 31.”

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Mel Stride, a supporter of Truss’ leadership rival Rishi Sunak and chairman of the influential parliamentary Treasury Select Committee, said the proposal was unacceptable.

“I think we’re at a point now where we need this very strong, significant signal to the market that fiscal credibility is now back firmly on the table. And I think that means doing something now,” Stride told BBC Radio.

The sense of chaos at the heart of the government has fueled speculation as to whether Truss and Kwarteng can survive.

Truss was elected by party members rather than the broader electorate as the UK’s fourth prime minister in six politically turbulent years.


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