Truss government to ‘hit the ground running’ following cull of senior ministers
New Prime Minister Liz Truss will “strain every sinew” to get the economy growing, her deputy said.
The new-look Cabinet was meeting on Wednesday morning to consider a plan to freeze energy bills in order to save households and businesses from financial ruin.
Deputy Prime Minister Therese Coffey said Ms Truss recognised the need to “hit the ground running”, with the energy plan expected to be announced in Parliament this week.
Ms Truss will face her first Prime Minister’s Questions at noon after the meeting of a Cabinet which has been packed with allies.
Ms Coffey defended the make-up of the top team following the cull of senior ministers loyal to former leadership contender Rishi Sunak, insisting it is “a government of all the talents that we have in this party”.
“Liz has appointed a Cabinet of a mixture of whether it’s people of her proactive supporters, people who did not support her as well,” Ms Coffey, who is also the Health Secretary, said.
The Prime Minister is expected to announce a plan to freeze domestic bills in England, Scotland and Wales at around £2,500 – some £500 higher than the current cap but £1,000 below the level they are expected to hit in October and many thousands below rises predicted over the next six months.
The policy – which could cost as much as £150 billion according to The Times – will be funded through borrowing and general taxation and is still being finalised by Ms Truss, Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng and other ministers and officials.
Asked about the funding for the scheme, Ms Coffey told Sky News: “Ultimately, we receive money through taxation from people and businesses and then redistribute that accordingly to the priorities set out in our manifesto and the needs of the country. So more will be said about that, aspects of that during this week”.
She added people “will just have to wait for the detail of that”.
Ms Coffey said the new Cabinet “will continue to make sure that we do strain every sinew, put everything that we can in order to get our economy growing again”.
The early announcement by the new administration is expected on Thursday and the Deputy Prime Minister said it was a sign that Ms Truss is a “serious person” who recognised “we need to hit the ground running”.
New Chancellor Mr Kwarteng has summoned the bosses of major banks to discuss the fresh economic strategy.
In her first speech as PM, Ms Truss insisted the nation can “ride out the storm” caused by Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.
She conducted a major overhaul to leave few survivors from Boris Johnson’s Cabinet, as she failed to find a role for her leadership rival Mr Sunak.
Allies insisted the changes would “unify” the Tory party, pointing to senior roles for five leadership rivals, Penny Mordaunt, Tom Tugendhat, Suella Braverman, Kemi Badenoch and Nadhim Zahawi.
But Dominic Raab, Grant Shapps, George Eustice and Steve Barclay were among the Sunak supporters dispatched to the backbenches.
Along with Mr Kwarteng, the appointment of Ms Braverman as Home Secretary and James Cleverly as Foreign Secretary mean that for the first time in history none of the great offices of state are held by white men.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the hardline Brexiteer who has decried “climate alarmism”, was appointed as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
As well as appointing her Cabinet, on her first night in No 10 Ms Truss made her first call to a fellow foreign leader, to President Volodymyr Zelensky, accepting an invitation to visit his nation soon.
She went on to speak to Joe Biden, with the White House’s account of the call making clear the US President stressed the need to come to an agreement with the EU over post-Brexit legislation on Northern Ireland.
The transatlantic relationship could be strained if Ms Truss pushes ahead with the plan to override parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol, with Mr Biden proud of his Irish roots and taking a keen interest in the issue.
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