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Liz Truss of the UK has set about choosing her new cabinet and has tapped “ideological ally” Kwasi Kwarteng as Finance Minister.
Newly-elected UK Prime Minister Liz Truss has appointed business, energy, and industrial strategy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng as Britain’s new Finance Minister. Under Truss’ new administration, Kwarteng will face a string of substantial challenges as the newly-installed Finance Minister. One of these is the mounting cost of living currently plaguing the country. Furthermore, Kwarteng will need to successfully navigate the British economy amid a 40-year high inflationary crisis and limited growth options.
Kwarteng, born to Ghanaian immigrants, already seems set on the uphill task at hand. The new minister and ideological ally of Truss suggested that the new UK government could provisionally afford to borrow more. Borrowed funds will go solely towards propping up financially-strapped households and businesses on their energy bills. As Kwarteng put it, “given the severity of the crisis we face, there will need to be some fiscal loosening to help people through the winter. That is absolutely the right thing to do in these exceptionally difficult times.”
Furthermore, the newly-appointed UK Finance Minister also added:
“We know households are worried, and decisive action is needed to get families and businesses through this winter and the next. They need certainty.”
However, Kwarteng also stated that despite these palliative gestures, the UK government would remain responsible for the public funds. His statements come even as forecasts indicate that the European superpower will likely go into a long recession later this year.
Truss & New UK Finance Minister Share Same Commitment to Free Market Economics
Under Truss’ new administration, Kwarteng, as Finance Minister, is expected to tackle the economic constraints with her low tax, free market approach. As Jill Rutter, a senior fellow at the Institute for Government think-tank and a former Treasury official put it:
“Kwasi Kwarteng clearly has been a big part of Team Truss… So she’s putting in someone who she thinks shares her sort of governing philosophy and priorities.”
The implied ideological harmony between the new Prime Minister and the new Finance Minister could make for a smooth dispensation. Furthermore, this also sharply contrasts the prevalent rift between former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his finance minister Rishi Sunak.
During his tenure as Finance Minister, Sunak had plans to transform the United Kingdom into a crypto hub, before he resigned in July. Now it remains unclear how much of Sunak’s crypto vision will be adopted by Kwarteng – if at all. However, it is worth noting that during his time at the government’s business and energy department, Kwarteng’s tenure also supported blockchain innovation. In a report from June last year, the department identified blockchain systems as a key component in transforming the economy. Furthermore, in July of the same year, the department also announced a 53-million-pound ($61.3 million) fund for technological innovation. Among these innovations is the deployment of blockchain in supply chains.
Prior to once helming the UK’s business and energy sector, Kwarteng also held a junior role in the department. The newly-appointed Finance Minister also worked in the Brexit ministry.
Kwarteng won a scholarship to Eton at the age of 13 and went on to study history at Cambridge University. He eventually earned a PhD in British history.