Liz Truss will be the UK’s next Prime Minister after winning the Conservative Party’s leadership contest on Monday. She will begin the mammoth task of taking over Boris Johnson’s post as she is set to face a series of challenges including the cost-of-living crisis, the aftershocks of Brexit and a war in Europe. Liz won 57% of Conservative Party members’ votes in a landslide victory over her opponent Rishi Sunak, who lost with a small margin of 43% votes.
The UK is facing a cost-of-living crisis, with rising energy bills, food and petrol prices skyrocketing. According to the Bank of England, inflation will soar to 13% by the end of the year. Businesses are urging the Prime Minister to step up to the plate and help them navigate through these difficult times. National Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Martin McTague, said: “The challenge now is to deliver action that is big and bold enough to match the scale of the crisis threatening the existence of many small firms, and the jobs, livelihoods and communities which depend upon them.
“Small firms, not protected by an energy price cap, are seeing bills soaring out of control. This is at a time of sky-high taxes, rampant inflation and supply chain disruption, creating a toxic mix which must be addressed urgently. Small businesses are crying out for a comprehensive response which cuts taxes, limits spiralling bills, and provides direct cash support for the smallest businesses.
“During the leadership campaign we were pleased that Liz Truss listened to our calls to reverse the recent hike in National Insurance and to look at lifting more small firms out of business rates. As she prepares her full package of emergency plans, we are ready and willing to work with the new Prime Minister and her team to protect the UK’s 5.5 million small businesses and the 16 million jobs within them, in communities in all parts of the UK.”
Meanwhile, some business leaders are urging Liz to tackle skill shortages in the workforce and bring more support to self-employed and independent contractors with the introduction of the Employment Bill. Tania Bowers, Global Public Policy Director at APSCo said: “The country has experienced change on a huge scale in the last few years as a combination of Brexit, IR35 and the pandemic changed the world of work as we knew it, with the impact of continued global economic uncertainty and rising inflation adding to this difficult climate. The Tory leadership challenge only exacerbated these issues, and we hope that today’s announcement will provide some much-needed stability.
“With the new Prime Minister now in place, we believe it is crucial that the employment and skills agenda is moved back up the list of priorities. The UK economy is facing a wealth of struggles from the cost-of-living crisis to concerning skills shortages and staff strikes across a range of sectors. A huge number of these challenges can be alleviated to some extent by a stronger and more dynamic labour market – an ideal that APSCo and its members are well-placed to help achieve.”