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Worse and worse

By Jim Hancock

By Jim Hancock

Jim comments on the worsening crisis for the government, analysing the latest wrong moves of the Prime Minister and wonders if it will end in the unthinkable.

TRUSS OUT?

The idea that we could see the removal of a second Prime Minister in a matter of months, still seems far-fetched. However, the continued bungling by the government of the crisis this week, makes all things possible.

Where to start? What is the point of the Halloween Budget. Even choosing that date to give the papers easy headlines about horror shows and nightmares, seems inept. The substantive criticism is that October 31st is a long time in politics and for financial markets in their current twitchy state.

Andrew Bailey is in despair. The governor of the Bank of England is trying to slow inflation with higher interest rates but is having to take emergency action in the opposite direction to save pension funds. He announced this will stop on Friday. An unwise move, in my opinion, as there was a predictable market reaction. The latest indications are that the deadline may be softened.

Relations between the Bank and Chancellor are rancorous. It may be the case Bailey didn’t tackle inflation early enough, but he doesn’t deserve the criticism he’s getting from ministers. But that is the way with the Truss government, and Business Secretary Jacob Rees Mogg in particular. Blame the Bank, blame the Office for Budget Responsibility, but don’t blame the government for a dash for growth in the middle of an inflation and energy crisis.

The Prime Minister seems to be backing herself into a tighter and tighter corner, ruling out a reversal on tax cutting measures and now saying there won’t be spending cuts. That leaves the giant question of how the government intend to reassure the markets. Halloween is too far away.

BACK ON TRACK?

Amid the mayhem the Prime Minister has promised a brand-new electric train line from Liverpool to Hull, with a stop in Bradford.

The northern travelling public need some good news with the continued severe problems with the Avanti service from Manchester to Euston. But before we crack open the champagne let’s remember that there have been endless promises about rail improvements since George Osborne launched the Northern Powerhouse Partnership in 2016.

Under Boris Johnson’s Premiership, the plans were scaled down and Bradford cut out. Now Liz Truss is promising the project is back on track. She said “yes” when asked if she backed it. She was equally emphatic in saying the 45p income tax cut was to take place. Given all the economic turmoil, I think we should watch this space.

CONGRATULATIONS AND JUBILATIONS!

Well done Liverpool in getting the Eurovision Song Contest next year. I was worried that Glasgow would be chosen because of the wider issues about the independence issue.

It feels a great fit considering the city’s musical and cultural heritage and will be a great boost for the local economy.

The city needed some good publicity amid the continuing crisis at the Town Hall where commissioners and improvement chiefs have been called in. Liverpool has always had an international outlook and I’m sure there will be due recognition of Ukraine who should have been hosting the event.

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