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Thursday, November 30 2023

UK’s new PM prioritises economy, energy, health service

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London: New Prime Minister of the UK, Liz Truss, said that she will prioritise economic growth, tackling the energy crisis and improving access to the health service.

“I am confident that together we can ride out the storm. We can rebuild our economy,” Truss said in her first address to the nation as Prime Minister, outside 10 Downing Street on Tuesday, reports Xinhua news agency.

The UK is facing a worsening cost of living crisis, as food and energy prices continue to soar. Inflation has kept rising since the winter of 2021.

Official data showed the consumer price index rose by 10.1 per cent in July, far above the 2-per cent target set by the Bank of England. The discontent over soaring energy bills becomes louder as winter nears.

Earlier in the day, Truss met Queen Elizabeth II in Scotland for the “kissing of hands” ceremony with the monarch, and accepted the Queen’s invitation to form a government.

“I will get Britain working again. I have a bold plan to grow the economy through tax cuts and reform. I will cut taxes to reward hard work and boost business-led growth and investment,” she said.

Action will be taken this week to deal with energy bills and to secure the UK’s future energy supply, she added.

Truss has campaigned to cut taxes, deregulate and prioritise economic growth, but experts doubt that these will be effective enough, given the severity of the situation.

The Bank of England forecast last month that the UK will enter a five-quarter recession beginning in the final three months of 2022.

Truss also said she would ensure that people have access to the health services they need.

“By delivering on the economy, on energy and on the NHS (National Health Service), we will put our nation on the path to long-term success,” she said.

Hours after her inaugural address as the country’s leader, Truss announced her cabinet.

Therese Coffey was appointed as her deputy prime minister and health secretary; Kwasi Kwarteng as chancellor of the exchequer; James Cleverly as foreign secretary and Suella Braverman as home secretary. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace retained his position.

On Monday, Truss was named as the winner of the summer-long Tory leadership race, beating her rival, former Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

She is the UK’s third female prime minister after Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May. Truss succeeds Johnson, who was forced to step down in July following an avalanche of ministerial resignations over his scandal-plagued leadership.

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