Liz Truss to speak at UN as she prepares to unveil tax-slashing ‘mini-Budget’ next week

Liz Truss is preparing to hit the ground running immediately after the Queen’s funeral, with a speech at the United Nations and a tax-slashing “mini-Budget” both due to take place next week.

Parliament could also resume as early as Wednesday – two days after world leaders gather at Westminster Abbey for the funeral of the late monarch – as official business returns to what Downing Street described as “more normal”.

No 10 says it does not need to pass legislation to enact the energy price freeze that, from 1 October, will cap average annual household bills at £2,500 until 2024.

But the new prime minister won the Tory leadership race on a promise to slash taxes by around £30bn by reversing the national insurance rise and scrapping the planned hike in corporation tax.

Ms Truss downgraded her planned emergency Budget, which was pencilled in for next week, to a “fiscal event” in order to avoid scrutiny by the Office for Budget Responsibility.

She is expected to fly to New York for the UN leaders’ meeting as early as Monday evening, within hours of the funeral, returning to the UK late on Wednesday or early on Thursday. That would allow the mini-Budget to be held on Thursday next week, before parliament breaks up again for the Labour and Conservative Party conferences.

“We are still planning to deliver a fiscal event this month,” the prime minister’s spokesperson told reporters, adding that it would not be unveiled during the Labour conference week, which begins on 25 September.

The chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, is also under fierce pressure to unveil the cost of the energy price freeze – something that the government faced criticism for failing to do last week. The £100bn-plus bill will be met through much higher government borrowing, after Ms Truss rejected Labour calls for a beefed-up windfall tax on the excess profits of energy companies.

Some legislation might be needed to push through the package of support for businesses, but there is not yet a date for this to be provided. In addition, plans to rescue the NHS from its deepening crisis were due to be unveiled this week, but this has been postponed because of the national period of mourning.

The spokesperson declined to comment on Ukraine’s surprise defeat of Russian forces in the east of the country, or on whether there had been a fresh call for military aid, while the mourning continues.

However, the government will meet this Thursday’s deadline to respond to the EU’s seven legal actions against the UK for failing to implement border checks agreed in the Northern Ireland protocol.

The crisis is approaching another tipping point after the EU reactivated the infringement proceedings concerning the bill currently before parliament – the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill – which provides for the tearing up of the protocol.

Ms Truss must decide whether to agree to talks or ask for further time to respond to the legal threat, having insisted she will not back down over the bill.

The prime minister has backed away from suggestions that she would escalate the dispute by triggering Article 16 of the protocol, but the government has launched its own legal action over the block that prevents Britain from taking part in Horizon and other EU science programmes.

Source: UK Politics -


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