Kwasi Kwarteng blames Queen’s death for mini-budget mistakes
CHANCELLOR Kwasi Kwarteng blamed the ‘pressure’ of the Queen’s death on mistakes in the UK government’s ‘mini budget’.
The policy was part of a series of measures announced in the ‘mini-budget’ which would have seen £45billion in increased borrowing to fund tax cuts for the wealthy.
Other parts of the package, such as ending the cap on bankers’ bonuses, are still on the UK government’s agenda.
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Addressing the disastrous impact of his first real statement as Chancellor, Kwarteng blamed the Queen’s death.
He told GB News: “We did it very quickly. And so you have to remember the context. I mean, what was extraordinary about that month was that we had a new government and we also had the sad passing of Majesty Queen Elizabeth.
“So we had a grieving nation. And then literally four days after the funeral we had the mini budget, it was high-speed, high-pressure environments. We could have, as David Cameron said, prepared a bit the ground better.”
Queen Elizabeth died on the afternoon of September 8, just two days after Liz Truss took office as Prime Minister.
The chancellor, who is fighting to keep his post less than a month after taking it, further refuted reports that the budget would be brought forward from November 23.
“People read the ruins and the breaks, it’s going to be the 23rd,” he said.
He also stumbled on his own U-turn, saying the removal of the top 45p tax rate had only been “postponed”, before saying: “We have decided not to proceed”.
Speaking at his party’s conference on Monday and in an attempt to quell unrest over his performance, Kwarteng urged the Tories to “focus on the job at hand”.
Kwarteng told Tory members on Monday: “What a day. It’s been tough, but we have to focus on the job at hand.
“We have to move on, no more distractions, we have a plan and we have to go on and implement it.”
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He acknowledged that “the plan presented only 10 days ago caused a bit of turbulence” – comments which drew some laughter from the audience.
The Chancellor’s mini-budget sparked unrest in the city, was criticized by the International Monetary Fund and prompted a £65billion emergency intervention from the Bank of England to restore order.
Kwarteng and Prime Minister Liz Truss are facing a parliamentary bid to write off their salaries over their “gross mismanagement” of the economy after the U-turn on the removal of the top tax rate.
The Liberal Democrats plan to table a no-confidence motion in the House of Commons calling on the Prime Minister and Chancellor to forfeit half of their extra salaries paid as part of their government duties.