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Liz Truss appointed UK Prime Minister amid energy and inflation crises

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at St. Andrews chapter.

With the smallest margin of victory than any preceding UK prime minister, Liz Truss was appointed as leader of the Conservative Party on Monday, September 6th. Finishing at 57% to 43% for her competition, former finance minister Rishi Sunak, Truss enters her position amid ongoing economic crises in the UK. The primary concerns are a spike in energy costs and rising inflation nationwide. These changes are attributed to the ongoing war in Ukraine, along with the rolling effects of the pandemic and economic policy.  

As a member of the Conservative Party, Truss is expected to encourage the initiation of tax cuts, but also to focus on energy assistance for businesses and households. The newly appointed prime minister was previously Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Affairs since September 2021. Before this, Truss held roles as Minister for Women and Equalities, Conservative MP for southwest Norfolk, and Secretary of State for Education and Childcare all since 2010. The prime minister has held a variety of positions in the Conservative Party since entering politics, consistently showing conservative political views. This has resulted in criticism for being a political chameleon: before her role as leader of the UK, Truss did not focus her career on specific political stances. 

Regardless, the primary aim of Truss as prime minister will be managing inflation and energy costs in the coming months. This past August UK inflation passed 10%  for the past 12 months, disproportionate to wage increases. In an opening speech on 8th September, Truss described an Energy Price Guarantee which will place a temporary price cap of 2,500 pounds a year for the next two years.   This is in addition to the Energy Bills Support Scheme, which automatically supplies a 400-pound energy grant through energy suppliers. These schemes suspend green levies aimed to reduce greenhouse gas consumption. Although arguably necessary for households facing direct cost threats this winter, it raises questions regarding Truss’ focus on conflicting UK goals to be net zero by 2050. 

Truss also has an influence on Scottish independence and post-Brexit policy. In a report by the Sunday Times, a new referendum bill is described, which requires more than half of Scottish voters to vote in favour of independence. This is more beneficial to those wanting to remain in the United Kingdom, rather than the current requirement of a simple majority. In the previous 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum independence was rejected with just 45% in favour. The passing of the proposed bill demonstrates a crucial conflict between First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, along with political discrepancies for citizens of Scotland and England. 

As the leader of the Conservative Party, Liz Truss is expected to follow staunchly conservative strategies. The prime minister is expected to tackle rising energy costs and inflation whilst committing to tax cuts and support of businesses. With the UK general election scheduled for before January 2025, the next two years place pressure on both addressing UK economic policy and encouraging support for the Conservative Party.

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Natalie Olofsson

St. Andrews '25

Natalie is an economics student at the University of St Andrews originally from Boston, USA.