New British PM Liz Truss promises to ride out economic storm

In an address to the nation, new British Prime Minister Liz Truss pledges to ‘ride out the storm’ of economic crisis.

Liz Truss has promised to “ride out the storm” of economic crisis in her first address since taking over as British prime minister, pledging immediate action to tackle a daunting set of challenges led by soaring energy bills, looming recession and industrial strife.

“I am confident that together we can ride out the storm. We can rebuild our economy, and we can become the modern brilliant Britain that I know we can be,” the 47-year-old former foreign secretary said outside her new Downing Street home and office in London on Tuesday.

Truss, who will later announce her government appointments, said she had three priorities: tax cuts to boost the economy, helping with rising energy costs, and sorting out the state-run National Health Service.

However, she has inherited an economy in crisis, with inflation at double digits and the Bank of England warning of a lengthy recession by the end of this year.

Truss was speaking after meeting with Queen Elizabeth II, who asked her to form a new government [Toby Melville/Reuters]

Truss was speaking after meeting with Queen Elizabeth II, who asked her to form a new government in a carefully choreographed ceremony dictated by centuries of tradition. It came one day after the governing Conservative Party announced that Truss had been elected as its leader.

Boris Johnson, who announced he was resigning two months ago following a series of scandals, formally stepped down during his own audience with the queen.

Commenting on the challenges ahead, Truss referenced the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the continuing war in Ukraine.

“Now is the time to tackle the issues that are holding Britain back … I know that we have what it takes to tackle those challenges. Of course, it won’t be easy but we can do it,” she said.

As soon as Thursday, she is expected to sanction a freeze on household energy bills to prevent steep increases this winter, and possibly beyond, at a cost of tens of billions of pounds.

Truss has also promised to scrap plans to increase corporation tax on big firms, and to reverse an increase in a payroll tax on workers and employers, designed to raise additional funding for health and social care, with the extra spending coming from general taxation.

‘Freedom and democracy’

Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons, reporting from London, said Truss was expected to appoint the members of her Cabinet shortly.

“I think they’ll be very rapid, they’ll be quite soon,” Simmons said. “All the big players, all the heavy hitters, will certainly be lined up.”

“The global picture is against her, the domestic picture is against her, but she says she has the will,” Simmons said.

During her short speech, Truss also lauded the United Kingdom’s continuing unity with its allies and her country’s support for “freedom and democracy around the world”.

“We can’t have security at home without having security abroad,” she said.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden was one of the first to congratulate Truss.

“I look forward to deepening the special relationship between our countries and working in close cooperation on global challenges, including continued support for Ukraine as it defends itself against Russian aggression,” he wrote on Twitter.

The two leaders were expected to speak later on Tuesday.

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