Trussonomics May Be a Gift for Labour and Keir Starmer

Who is the real “change candidate” after 12 years of Conservative government in the UK: Keir Starmer, the leader of the opposition Labour party? Or Liz Truss, the fourth successive Tory prime minister?

That is the question Starmer must answer at his annual party conference in Liverpool this weekend. The result of the next general election in two years’ time hangs on it.

Truss stood as the figure heralding a change of direction in order to clinch the leadership of her party against her chief rival, former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak. She trashed the Conservatives’ record of low growth, low investment and poor productivity. Starmer himself couldn’t have put it better. And yesterday her new chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, unveiled a radical shift in economic policy in his first mini-budget. The message to the country is that the Tories are under new management — and weary voters are being asked to give them a fresh look.

Decades ago, Margaret Thatcher taught Tory chancellors to treat the public finances as if they were a household budget that needed to be balanced. Yesterday’s mini-budget turned that homespun wisdom on its head. In pursuit of an ambitious 2.5% growth target, Truss has gambled upon a massive program of tax cuts turbocharged by borrowing and a libertarian dim-sum menu of deregulation. Treasury orthodoxy has gone out of the window.