British Prime Minister Liz Truss on Monday apologized for her controversial mini-budget that crashed the country’s currency, rattled financial markets and led to her firing her finance minister and closest political ally.
In an exclusive interview with the BBC, Truss insisted she would lead her Conservative Party into the next general election, despite her government being under huge pressure from investors and party members since the mini-budget was unveiled in late September.
The plan – which proposed unfunded tax cuts, huge government borrowing and exempted energy companies from a windfall tax – sent the pound tumbling to its lowest level against the dollar in decades.
“I do want to accept responsibility and say sorry for the mistakes that have been made. I wanted to act to help people with their energy bills to deal with the issue of high taxes, but we went too far and too fast,” Truss told the BBC’s Chris Mason.
“I put in place a new chancellor with a new strategy to restore economic stability.”
Hunt has since overturned many of her most significant leadership campaign pledges. Just four days into the job, he said he would reverse “almost all” tax measures announced three weeks ago by his predecessor. The stunning reversal would raise £32 billion ($36 billion), he said.
A proposed cut to the basic rate of income tax from April 2023 has been postponed “indefinitely.” And while the government has said it will still guarantee energy prices for households and businesses through this winter, it won’t commit to capping prices beyond next spring.
“No government can control markets, but every government can give certainty about the sustainability of public finances,” Hunt said. “The United Kingdom will always pay its way.”
Markets have settled somewhat in recent weeks, though only after major intervention from the Bank of England, leaked rumors that the mini-budget would be abandoned and reports – which proved true – that Kwarteng would be sacked.