British newspaper claims UK Chancellor gave guests insight on tax cuts, news unlikely to help PM Liz Truss’s collapsing approval rating
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It has been alleged that UK Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng attended a private Champagne reception with billionaire hedge-fund managers hours after delivering a mini-budget which included a £45 billion tax giveaway for the highest earners.
According to the report in the UK’s Times newspaper, Mr Kwarteng provided the coterie of financiers who had gathered at the Chelsea home of Conservative donor and financier Andrew Law on the evening of September 23 with information on “forthcoming government spending cuts”.
The report went on to say guests drank wine, Champagne and cocktails and praised the chancellor for the tax cuts in the mini-budget, a strategy which forced sterling to a 37-year low.
One Times source described the mood as “very, very positive” while a guest supposedly told Mr Kwarteng to “double down” on his tax-cutting approach.
Other Times sources said Mr Kwarteng called the day of the mini-budget a “great day for freedom” and committed not to making changes “incrementally”.
The revelation will pile further pressure on the chancellor and his ideological soulmate at No 10, UK Prime Minister Liz Truss, who on Friday acknowledged her strategy had caused economic disruption.
The challenge she faces was underscored by a survey on Saturday showing her approval rating has plummeted during the week.
Opinium’s poll found 55 per cent of the public disapprove of the job she is doing against 18 per cent who approve, a net rating of minus 37.
Support for Mr Kwarteng showed a similar drop, with 55 per cent disapproving against 15 per cent approving — a net rating of minus 40 and down 30 points on a week ago.
By contrast, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s rating was 38 per cent approval against 29 per cent disapproval — a net rating of plus nine, up from minus four last week.
Overall, Labour has opened up a 19-point lead over the Tories, with support for Sir Keir’s party up seven points on 46 per cent while the Conservatives are down seven on 27 per cent.
On the economy, just 20 per cent think the Conservatives are best placed to handle it, down 10 points on the week, while 39 per cent believe it would do better under Labour, a 10-point rise.
It means that in the space of a week, a one-point lead for the Tories on the issue has turned into a 19-point advantage for Labour.
Updated: October 02, 2022, 3:59 AM