Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak bad choice, half the Britons want a mid term poll

More than half of Britons support holding a general election before the end of 2017. Results of the Conservative Party members' vote will be revealed on September 5. Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, is currently the front-runner to succeed Boris Johnson as the leader and prime minister. Truss has remained mum regarding how she will address the cost-of-living crisis brought on by the West's sanctions against Russia. The British media has speculated that she intends to reduce the value-added tax (VAT), which is charged at 20% on the majority of goods. Elizabeth Truss' proposed £30 billion in tax cuts is not as absurd as her detractors claim. The risk of borrowing, which Rishi Sunak has been highlighting, is that it will raise interest rates, hurt consumers and the cost of the government's debt service will increase.

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Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P. Chacko is the publisher of Frontier India, portal publishing news and current affairs. He holds an M.B.A in International Business from the Maharishi University of Management, Iowa, USA. Twitter: @chackojoseph *views are Personal.

After the new prime minister assumes office, more than half of Britons support holding a general election in the nation before the end of this year, according to an Ipsos poll released on Tuesday. 

The results of the members’ vote will be revealed on September 5. Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, is currently the front-runner to succeed Boris Johnson as the leader and prime minister of the Conservative Party. The campaigns of Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak have engaged in “blue-on-blue” underhanded criticism of each other’s positions and moral character during the Conservative Party leadership race. However, neither has been able to put forth a clear strategy for addressing the cost-of-living crisis.

The poll found that 20% of UK citizens opposed holding a general election this year, leaving 51% in favour. A quarter of respondents (24%) declined to provide a definitive response. The opposition leader, Kier Starmer, has already said he favours a mid-term poll.

A majority, or 46% of those who supported the elections, believe that new policies are necessary to address the nation’s crisis; 39% believe that a new administration is needed, and 38% believe that the public should be more involved in political decision-making. 

According to Kelly Beaver, Chief Executive at Ipsos, the public won’t be giving the new prime minister much time to get used to their position come September, with half already calling for one and even more Conservative voters wanting one than not. 

The survey involved 2,164 British citizens between the ages of 18 and 75. Online interviews took place from August 5 to 8. 

The UK’s Conservative Party leader and Theresa May’s successor, Boris Johnson, announced his resignation as prime minister and leader of the party on July 7. Until a new appointment is scheduled, he will stay in the office. On September 5, Johnson’s successor will be made public. The date of the next general election is set for January 28, 2025, at the latest.

Britain will suffer under Liz Truss

The UK may get through the “self-inflicted” inflation crisis under the next prime minister — but it won’t be painless.

Rishi Sunak, Truss’ opponent, has criticised her for her plans to reverse his corporation tax increase from 19 to 25 per cent, which is set to take effect in April, along with other proposed tax cuts totalling about £30 billion, as her response to the energy crisis that threatens to pull millions of households into fuel poverty this winter.

To help pay off the approximately £400 billion in debts accrued during the COVID-19 pandemic and to help the nation’s National Health Service (NHS) clear the ensuing backlog of non-urgent cases, Sunak raised corporation tax in addition to national insurance, the British social security tax. He has stated that once “we’ve gripped inflation,” if elected leader, he will again lower those taxes.

However, he also announced this year that households would receive billions of dollars in assistance to help them pay their energy bills. This assistance would be paid for out of their own future taxes and by a “windfall tax” on oil and gas producers who continue to make record profits as market prices rise globally. 

Truss has remained mum regarding the specifics of how she will address the cost-of-living crisis brought on by the West’s sanctions against Russia over its special military operation in Ukraine. It appears that Truss has “no viable strategy.”

The British media has since speculated that she intends to reduce the value-added tax (VAT), which is charged at 20% on the majority of goods and 5% on household bills of energy but not business bills, by 5%.

VAT is a tax on consumers. Consumer taxes are typically viewed as more regressive than income taxes, which have rising rates. 

So, in some cases, lowering the consumer tax is progressive rather than regressive.

The VAT reduction has no impact on the poor, who spend a more significant portion of their income on food in the UK, where most food purchased at supermarkets is exempt from VAT.

While continuing to provide aid to hard-hit Britons, Truss’ proposed £30 billion in “unfunded” tax cuts is not as absurd as her detractors claim.

Borrowing is a straightforward way to reconcile tax cuts and increased spending. 

The risk of borrowing, which Rishi Sunak has been highlighting, is that it will raise interest rates, hurting consumers in debt, especially those with large mortgages. 

Additionally, the cost of the government’s debt service will increase. 

Truss claims that until the energy crisis is over, she will postpone paying back the national debt accrued during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Truss appears to believe she can pull this off and extend the repayment schedule. 

Sunak appears to believe that the best course of action is to deal with inflation now rather than adding what one might refer to as fuel to the fire by raising public or individual spending, as doing so would make inflation worse than it already is.

 Whoever wins the vote will be “confronted with reality next week when they have to start making tough decisions” instead of appealing to the “selectorate” of between 160,000 and 200,000 members of the Conservative party.

As per some, the UK won’t get a good prime minister, buyer regret will soon set in, and “every decent person is ashamed of the government they live under,” regardless of the outcome of the “appalling” Tory leadership race. Through self-imposed austerity, households and businesses would find their own solutions to the energy crisis.

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