Home Business The death of Liz Truss ended the revival of Thatcher’s libertarian economy

The death of Liz Truss ended the revival of Thatcher’s libertarian economy


“Now I expect the language of free markets and libertarianism to be scrapped for a while. I am sober and realistic about it,” he said.


“I can briefly smile at the irony of what happened, but it’s also incredibly frustrating because I remember that the UK’s growth prospects for the next decade are woefully low.”

In a brief resignation statement, Truss said she was elected to introduce “low taxes, high growth” but admitted she could not deliver on that mandate.

A poll this week showed her Conservative Party – which has dominated British politics since the Second World War – would not even be in official opposition if a general election were held now.

Truss spent the summer campaigning for the party’s leadership complaining about weak economic growth, productivity and low wages in the UK since the 2008 global financial crisis. It recently overtook India as the fifth largest economy in the world.


Her solution was to challenge economic “orthodoxy” and demand faster, more radical action to bring the economy out of its doldrums.

Truss and Quarteng’s initiative – a big tax cut with the promise of deregulation to capture what they called the benefits of Brexit – echoed the policies of British and American leaders in the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

Their thinking can be traced to their links with British free-market think tanks, which advocated similar policies and urged business and government to take advantage of the opportunities offered by leaving the European Union.

A Brexiteer, Truss founded a group of libertarian Tory lawmakers called the Free Enterprise Group a year after she was elected to parliament in 2010. Kwarteng was chairman of the right-wing, free-market group Bow Group in 2005-6. .

Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were very close – and both believed deeply in deregulation.credit:AP

Truss’s Downing Street team included former staff at the Institute of Economic Affairs, another free-market think tank that said its role was to “think the unthinkable”, and the Adam Smith Institute.

The Institute of Economic Affairs said of the economic plan: “This is not a budget that flows down – it is a budget that flows up.”

Since then, think tanks have said the government mishandled the policy statement, including ignoring the Office for Budget Responsibility, raising fears the tax cuts would blow a hole in public finances.

An independent monitor usually issues a verdict on how public finances are being managed along with the budget reports.


Andy Mayer, chief operating officer of the Institute of Economic Affairs, said the government was trying to push too many policies too quickly without explaining the strategy.

Mayer also said he made the mistake of promising to scrap the 45 percent income tax rate that applies to top earners, which was unpopular and ultimately a distraction.

“I think they got into a moment of a historic victory over an establishment candidate,” he said, “and decided they could take some unpopular action beforehand.”

Mayer said Truss and Kwarteng should have focused on reforms to the proposal, such as changing rules governing how residential and commercial space is built.

John Longworth, a pro-Brexit businessman who was part of Thatcher’s “deregulation task force” and is now chairman of the Independent Business Network, said the Truss could deliver on its plans if it broke the policy down into “sizeable” pieces and presented them after some time.

But after the Sept. 23 “mini-budget” undermined investor confidence, Longworth believes it will be another decade before the policy can be tried again. He also fears that Brexit could be in jeopardy.

“I don’t think it destroyed the philosophy, I think what it did was destroy any possibility of expanding it for a very long time,” he said.

“Even in this situation, there are still benefits to be gained from Brexit. But of course what will happen, and what is happening, is that the naysayers use the situation as an excuse to blame it on Brexit, when it’s really nothing to do with Brexit.”


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