Boris Johnson was often described as “the gambler”. It was even the title of a biography about him. Yet Liz Truss is about to embark on a much bigger economic and political gamble than her predecessor ever contemplated.
On Friday, her chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng is expected to rip up the economic playbook that has guided the Conservatives since they took power in 2010. He will worry less about balancing the nation’s books and announce a huge increase in borrowing, as his mini-Budget gives top priority to securing the growth that has eluded the UK since the 2008 financial crisis.
A mixture of tax cuts and economic reforms will aim to secure growth of 2.5 per cent a year, the Treasury’s new overriding priority. Raising it from the current 1 to 1.5 per cent will be far from easy, requiring a big increase in business investment. And the drive for growth won’t be helped by the elephant in the Tory room: Brexit has brought a 4 per cent hit to gross domestic product and the Truss government is in no mood to reduce trade barriers with the EU.