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By Guillermo Ximenis
With the value of the pound and the cost of debt stabilized since the arrival of Rishi Sunak in Downing Street, the new British Prime Minister has decided to delay until November 17 the emergency budget with which his predecessor, Liz Truss, was going to try to calm the markets next Monday.
Following the first meeting of Sunak’s Cabinet of Ministers, Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt announced to the media this decision, which has also been agreed with the Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, and the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).
“We have a new prime minister and the prospect of much greater long-term stability for the economy and for the country. In that context, a short delay of two and a half weeks is the best way to be sure we make the best decisions,” Hunt said.
The minister arrived at the Executive just two weeks ago with the mission of dismantling the tax cuts of the previous prime minister, Liz Truss, which unleashed a financial storm. Despite the change of government leader, Hunt has retained his position.
In the next two weeks, Sunak, who held the Economy portfolio between 2020 and 2022, and has experience as an analyst at Goldman Sachs, will discuss with Hunt the details of a budget in which he must detail ways to boost growth and reduce the weight of public debt to GDP.
Rishi Sunak to ‘repair Truss errors’
In his first control session before the House of Commons as prime minister, Sunak assured that he aims to right the “wrongs” of his predecessor and run the economy in a “fair and compassionate” manner.
“I will always protect the most vulnerable. I did it during covid and I will do it again now,” Rishi Sunak said, also claiming that he will have to make “difficult decisions” in order to regain “economic confidence and stability.”
The Labor opposition, for its part, urged the prime minister to avoid cuts that would take the country into an era of “austerity” like the one experienced in the years following the previous financial crisis.
Opposition leader Keir Starmer, with a huge lead in the polls following the Truss government’s turmoil, demanded that Sunak call an early election, which the prime minister again ruled out.
Sunak has inherited the large majority he achieved at the Johnson polls at the end of 2019 and is not forced to call new elections for another two years.
Controversy over the Minister of the Interior
The new cabinet has few new faces compared to the ministers who served under the last two Conservative premiers, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss.
The reinstatement as Interior head of Suella Braverman, who resigned last week after it was discovered that she had sent confidential information from her phone to people outside the cabinet, has been Rishi Sunak’s most controversial appointment.
Last Wednesday, Braverman acknowledged that she had violated the government’s confidentiality rules and tendered her resignation.
“Pretending that mistakes have not been made, moving on as if no one had seen them and hoping that things will magically fix themselves is not doing politics in a serious way. I have made an error and I accept my responsibility, so I resign,” the former state lawyer wrote seven days ago.
Braverman’s backing of Sunak’s candidacy to lead the party was key to the now Prime Minister’s success in rallying support on the right wing of the party, to the detriment of Johnson, who decided to drop out of the Tory primary race.
In the face of opposition criticism, Rishi Sunak today justified Braverman’s return to his former post: “She made an error of judgment, but she has acknowledged and accepted it,” the head of government said.