Treasurer Jim Chalmers, Finance Minister Katy Gallagher to speak on October budget, fuel excise


British politics return to center stage after the Queen’s funeral on Tuesday, when Prime Minister Liz Truss travels to the United Nations for her first major summit and pushes ahead with measures to try to avert an economic slump.

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Since the Queen’s death on September 8, politics – or at least discussion of its pros and cons – has been on pause for a period of national mourning for the country’s longest-serving monarch, who reigned for 70 years.

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British Prime Minister Liz Truss leaves Westminster Abbey after Queen Elizabeth’s funeral service. Getty

The timing of the policy hiatus has been frustrating for some in government as it comes after a two-month leadership campaign and Britain is at risk of falling into a protracted recession and facing an energy crisis threatening the finances of millions.

But it has given some Truss ministers time to settle into their new departments and refine their policies, according to sources. It just makes for a busy week ahead.

New guidelines will be crammed into the few days at the end of the week in parliament, which the government hopes will sit for an extra day on Friday before rising for the annual season of caucuses.

These include a support package to help companies cope with soaring energy prices, a statement on potential reductions in waiting times for National Health Service treatments and much-promised tax cuts to boost growth.

She will also meet US President Joe Biden at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday (Thursday AEST) after meeting several leaders who had come for the Queen’s funeral where 2000 people paid their last respects.

“I think we’re going to see a focused, punchy start that shows momentum and direction free of distractions and side drama,” said a veteran Conservative Party member. “The guidelines were already there, but they were embedded in the departments [during the mourning period].”

On her second full day in office, Truss made a big announcement about action to ease the pain of sky-high energy prices, but this was overshadowed hours later by news that the Queen had died.

The new prime minister needed to switch gears immediately and focus on getting the right tone in speeches and tributes to the Queen. For some in her ruling Conservative Party, the pause softened any criticism of her expensive first steps.

Although her spokesmen were careful not to make any announcements during the mourning, her government continued to operate, with a source saying her ministers were at the Treasury Department on Sunday.

Other institutions also scaled back outreach, with Britain’s financial industry canceling events and postponing gatherings during the period of mourning, culminating in a bank holiday on Monday – something that could hurt economic output by 0.2 percentage points this month.



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