Liz Truss took over as Britain's prime minister on Tuesday, vowing immediate action to tackle one of the most daunting set of challenges for an incoming leader in post-War history led by soaring energy bills, looming recession and industrial strife.
Truss, the fourth Conservative prime minister in six years and successor to Boris Johnson who was forced out over multiple scandals, acknowledged the severe global headwinds from Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I am confident that together we can ride out the storm. We can rebuild our economy, and we can become the modern brilliant Britain that I know we can be," the 47-year-old former foreign secretary said outside her new Downing Street home and office.
Truss appointed close allies to top jobs such as Kwasi Kwarteng as finance minister, Therese Coffey as deputy prime minister and health minister, and James Cleverly as foreign minister. It was the first time a white man will not hold one of Britain's four most important ministerial positions.
The new cabinet will be charged with delivering on Truss' three stated priorities: tax cuts to boost the economy, help over rising energy costs, and sorting out the state-run National Health Service.
She inherits an economy in crisis, with inflation at double digits and the Bank of England warning of a lengthy recession by the end of this year.
Already, workers across the economy have gone on strike.
Truss has promised to scrap plans to increase corporation tax on big firms, and to reverse an increase in a payroll tax on workers and employers, designed to raise additional funding for health and social care, with the extra spending coming from general taxation instead.
Her plan to revive growth through tax cuts, as well as potentially providing around 100 billion pounds ($116 billion) to help with energy bills, has rattled financial markets.
British 30-year government bonds suffered their sharpest one-day fall since March 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic caused turmoil in financial markets, as investors honed in on the extra borrowing Truss's plans are likely to require, while 10-year borrowing costs rose to their highest since 2011. read more
"I know that we have what it takes to tackle those challenges. Of course, it won't be easy, but we can do it," Truss said, adding that Britain would also continue to stand up for freedom and democracy around the world.
One major global ally, U.S. President Joe Biden, offered his congratulations.
"I look forward to deepening the special relationship between our countries and working in close cooperation on global challenges, including continued support for Ukraine as it defends itself against Russian aggression," he said on Twitter.
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