The unveiling of former Prime Minister Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget sparked unprecedented financial and political chaos leading to both of their resignations less than a month later. Last Friday, Jeremy Hunt was brought in to lead the Treasury and restore confidence in the markets – scrapping almost all of his predecessor’s unfunded tax-cutting policies in doing so. On Wednesday, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed the UK inflation rate had once again reached July’s 42-year high of 10.1 percent. However, a new Express.co.uk poll has revealed most readers do not think Ms Truss’s short-lived economic vision is to blame.
On September 23, the former Chancellor unveiled the Growth Plan 2022 to Parliament. Political and economic turmoil ensued, with the Bank of England making an unprecedented intervention to save the collapsing pound and the Government forced to U-turn on the scrapping of the highest rate of income tax.
Three weeks later, as the PM sought to reassure the financial markets as much as her own discontented backbenchers, Mr Kwarteng was sacked and replaced by Jeremy Hunt.
Within a few days of becoming Chancellor, all that Mr Hunt had announced gutted almost every fiscally significant policy the PM had introduced, from reversing the planned one-point reduction of the basic rate of income tax to scaling back the Energy Price Guarantee to last just six months instead of two years.
As she abandoned more and more of her leadership campaign pledges, Ms Truss lost the support of fellow MPs and of the Conservative Party members who elected her this summer. A YouGov survey of the membership concluding on Tuesday found 55 percent wanted her to resign.
She did so just two days later, in doing so becoming the shortest-serving PM to date. Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee, has said a new leader should be in place before the planned fiscal statement on October 31.
READ MORE: The nine Tory MPs ready to replace Liz Truss as PM resigns
In response, Express.co.uk ran a poll from 9am on Wednesday, October 19 to 2:30pm on Thursday, October 20, asking readers: “Are Liz Truss and the mini-budget to blame for soaring inflation?”
Overall, 3,412 votes were cast with over two-thirds, 70 percent (2,374 people) answering “No”, the Prime Minister and her former Chancellor’s package of tax cuts was not responsible for the record rate of inflation.
However, a significant minority, 29 percent of respondents (998 people) said “Yes”, the mini-budget was to blame, while just over one percent (40 people) said they didn’t know.
In the hundreds of comments left below the accompanying article, the merits of the former PM’s “low-tax, high-growth economy” were the subject of much debate.
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Matter of factly, username Beanyboy2802 said: “Of course not. Inflation was sky high and forecast to go higher before the mini budget took place – and indeed before Truss even took power.”
In praise of the Growth Plan’s policies, username PGD commented: “The mini-budget should have stayed. We didn’t need higher taxes, even for the rich, what we needed was more investment and the people who make it possible.”
Username Evie Roberts claimed the Opposition prevented the success of the PM’s economic agenda, writing: “Absolutely not, indeed I would blame Starmer who politicized the budget.”
Some responded to the question from an international perspective, username Get some asking: “Are they to blame for the EU inflation rate being even higher than the UK’s?”, with which username BabbyBoomer55 agreed, saying: “Take a look at the EU. Nothing to do with the PM.”
Others, however, were more critical. Username xJonjo said: “Truss is a major disappointment but the inflation rate is nothing to do with her mini-budget.”
Username jacksdad took a more nuanced view, commenting: “They have added to it a little by causing instability and confusion in the markets. But the writing has been on the wall for some time now. Cheap money eventually creates boom and bust, made worse by the Ukraine situation.”
Taking a less favourable view, username gunnar said: “Well, it did not help, did it?”
Reflecting on the dramatic political upheavals of the past few days, username AndrewJones73 concluded: “We fortunately will never get to experience the additional consequences Truss’s unfunded tax cuts would have caused, namely even high and more rapidly rising inflation and greater rises in interest rates than are currently expected. Trussonomics has been well and truly discredited and now binned.”