Podcast Episode 21 – In Liz We Trus(s)t with Andrew Webb, Grant Thornton – September 2022

The podcast that keeps you up to date with what is happening economy-wise in Northern Ireland.  Telling you what you need to know but not necessarily what you want to hear. It is better to be prepared for the economic environment we are operating in and not the world we would like to be in.

Featuring Andrew Webb, Chief Economist at Grant Thornton 

To say that September has been a dramatic month in politics is an understatement. 

It marked the end of an era in so many ways. Queen Elizabeth II’s 70-year reign has come to an end with the longest serving monarch of all-time replaced by King Charles III. 

The end of one Elizabethan era has coincided with the start of another, with Liz Truss replacing Boris Johnson as Prime Minister. Kwasi Kwarteng became the third chancellor of the exchequer in three months. Similarly, Northern Ireland saw the appointment of Chris Heaton-Harris, its third Secretary of State in three months and the first Northern Ireland Secretary of State with a double-barrelled name.  

These personnel changes will bring with them a new approach for a new era. Indeed, “a new approach for a new era” was a key message within Kwasi Kwarteng’s ‘mini-budget’ on 23rd September, a date that will go down in the history books of both the UK government and the Conservative party.

For Kwarteng his new era and approach is focussed on growth. To help deliver on this the new Chancellor chose to sack the old hand at HM Treasury Sir Tom Scholar – its Permanent Secretary since 2016, and veteran of previous chancellors and prime ministers.

This move was clearly part of Liz Truss’s desire to make a clean break from her predecessors and the prevailing economic orthodoxy. Part of this new approach has included junking the old approach of the chancellor before last – Rishi Sunak.

During the election campaign for the Tory leadership, households and businesses eagerly awaited the new regime’s first fiscal event to address the issue of energy costs.

Last week’s fiscal event duly delivered with an Energy Price Guarantee amounting to £60bn over the next six months alone. And in Northern Ireland we await to see how that package will be applied and rolled out here.

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