Kwasi Kwarteng has today been sacked as Chancellor after being met with widespread backlash over his latest mini-budget.
Kwarteng was appointed to the role by Prime Minister Liz Truss only 38 days ago, but many detractors believed he was on his way out the door after he unveiled his mini-budget on 23 September – where he notably and controversially announced £45 billion in unfunded tax cuts.
Kwarteng confirmed in a letter written to the Prime Minister and shared to social media this afternoon that he was asked to “stand aside” as Chancellor.
His letter reads in full: “You have asked me to stand aside as your Chancellor. I have accepted.
“When you asked me to serve as your Chancellor, I did so in full knowledge that the situation we faced was incredibly difficult, with rising global interest rates and energy prices.
“However, your vision of optimism, growth and change was right.
“As I have said many times in the past weeks, following the status quo was simply not an option. For too long this country has been dogged by low growth rates and high taxation – that must still change if this country is to succeed.
“The economic environment has changed rapidly since we set out the growth plan on 23 September. In response, together with the Bank of England and excellent officials at the Treasury we have responded to those events, and I commend my officials for their dedication.
“It is important now as we move forward to emphasise your government’s commitment to fiscal discipline. The medium-term fiscal plan is crucial to this end, and I look forward to supporting you and my successor to achieve that from the backbenches.
“We have been colleagues and friends for many years. In that time, I have seen your dedication and determination. I believe your vision is the right one. It has been an honour to serve as your first chancellor.
“Your success is this country’s success and I wish you well.”
Kwarteng’s sacking this afternoon following growing backlash from various sides comes after he suddenly U-turned on his plans to scrap the 45p rate of income tax for the UK’s highest earners at the start of this month.
The change of heart came just 10 days after he unveiled his mini-budget, which led to 10 day of market turmoil and fierce pressure from both within Conservative party and from opposition.
Kwarteng said that the proposals had “become a distraction” in his U-turn statement.
His statement read: “From supporting British business to lowering the tax burden for the lowest paid, our Growth Plan sets out a new approach to build a more prosperous economy. However, it is clear that the abolition of the 45p tax rate has become a distraction from our overriding mission to tackle the challenges facing our country.
“As a result, I’m announcing we are not proceeding with the abolition of the 45p tax rate.”
Featured Image – Kyle Heller (via 10 Downing Street)
Health Secretary insists there’s ‘no shortage’ of antibiotics amid Strep A outbreak
Health Secretary Steve Barclay has addressed claims that there is a ‘shortage’ of antibiotics amid the ongoing outbreak of bacterial infection Strep A.
Barclay appeared on Sky News this morning, where he told Kay Burley that there was a ‘good supply’ of antibiotics.
It comes after pharmacy director Zeshan Rehmani claimed that ‘there’s no drugs’ when the schools minister Nick Gibb proposed giving out antibiotics to children in schools.
Rehmani said: “Today, we haven’t been able to get any penicillin in stock at all.”
But Barclay has now refuted those claims and says he’s been assured that the country has a ‘good supply’ of Penicillin.
He added that stock may need to be moved around if there are surges in demand in certain areas.
Antibiotics can be prescribed to treat infections linked to Strep A, including tonsillitis, pharyngitis, scarlet fever, impetigo and cellulitis, which ‘rarely become serious’.
Nine children have now died from an illness linked to the infection.
The rise in infections is thought to be linked to that fact that children mixed less during the Covid pandemic and therefore their systems aren’t immune to a number of different infections.
Barclay said today: “I checked with the team last night – we have an established team in the department that does this on a permanent basis – and they reassured me we have good supply.
“The medical suppliers are required to notify us if they’ve got shortages.
“Now, sometimes, GPs can have particular surges if they’ve got a lot of demand in an area, and that’s quite routine, we can move the stock around our depots.
“As of last night, when we checked (with suppliers), they said they could reassure us that they’ve got good stock and were moving that around to meet demand.”
your child is feeding or eating much less than normal
your child has had a dry nappy for 12 hours or more or shows other signs of dehydration
your baby is under 3 months and has a temperature of 38C, or is older than 3 months and has a temperature of 39C or higher
your baby feels hotter than usual when you touch their back or chest, or feels sweaty
your child is very tired or irritable
Call 999 or go to A&E if:
your child is having difficulty breathing – you may notice grunting noises or their tummy sucking under their ribs
there are pauses when your child breathes
your child’s skin, tongue or lips are blue
your child is floppy and will not wake up or stay awake
Featured image: Sky News
BrewDog advert claiming fruit-flavoured beer is ‘one of your five a day’ banned by ASA
A BrewDog advert claiming its fruit-flavoured beers can be considered “one of your five a day” has been banned by authorities.
As part of an email that was sent out to customers back in July this year promoting beers with names such as ‘Lost In Guava’, ‘Pineapple Punch’, and ‘Lost In Lychee & Lime’, popular brewery and pub chain BrewDog claimed the drinks could be considered “one of your five a day”.
But after someone complained to the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) that the phrase was considered misleading, the advert has now been banned.
The ASA said consumers “would not expect advertisers to include such claims”.
Addressing the complaint and confirming the banning of the advert, the ASA said: “The ASA acknowledged that the subject heading ‘one of your five a day’ might be interpreted by some consumers as a humorous nod to the fruit-flavoured beers featured in the body of the email.
“However, because the claim referred to well-known government advice on health and wellbeing, we considered that, in general, consumers would not expect advertisers to include such claims unless the advertised product was recognised as meeting the requirements of that advice.”
The ASA added that many consumers would be aware that some craft beers contain an unusually high amount of fruit, but in general, they would be uncertain as to whether this would be counted as a portion.
Because of the this, the advert has been banned and must not re-appear in its current form.
BrewDog then agreed in response to the ASA ruling the advertised beers did not count towards a consumer’s five a day.
Yet, the company sarcastically followed this up by admitting the advert was just “tongue in cheek” and only sent out via email to existing customers likely aware of BrewDog’s “playful” marketing style, believing they would generally understand that alcoholic beverages are not equivalent to portions of fruit or vegetables.