It’s going to take an almighty skeleton found in her closet to derail Liz Truss’ bid to be the next Prime Minister.
She is as short as 1.06 on the Betfair Exchange to be sworn into Downing Street – that’s an implied probability of some 94.3%. Even in the mad, bad world of UK politics, that is surely an insurmountable lead.
You could label anyone wanting to lead this sceptred isle as somewhat maniacal – the ‘ego’ bit at the front of that word can be used at your own discretion, and Truss is set to inherit one of the worst economic disasters that the UK has faced in 50 years.
If timing is everything in life, she might want to rewind her watch to 2019.
There is sympathy to be had, of course. Truss inherits the leadership of a Conservative Party that has been losing the trust of the electorate for a good few years now, and many of the fiscal woes being faced are as a result of macro-economic factors rather than poor policy-making domestically.
Even so, the Betfair charts also reveal that the odds of the next General Election taking place as far away as 2024 are dwindling – out from a low of 1.12 to a current price of 1.30….and climbing.
Whatever the Prime Minister elect has in mind, she might not have very long to implement it.
The Liz Truss Energy Policy
Okay, first things first. How does Truss plan to alleviate the current catastrophe-in-waiting of rising energy bills?
She has promised ‘immediate support’ for the worst-hit families, and will hold an emergency budget meeting as one of her first acts as Prime Minister.
The average household energy bill – combining gas and electricity – will hit £3,549 a year from October, and charity Save the Children has issued a dire warning that the lives of many young people will be put in danger if more isn’t done to help out.
Every household will pick up a cheque of between £450 and £1,050 to help out with the cost of their bills, but critics are suggesting that doesn’t go far enough for families who may have stark choices to make this winter.
The implications for many businesses of increasing costs will also be dire, and as inflation continues to rise – unavoidably putting up the price of many goods and services – it seems a formality that penny-pinching homeowners will tighten their belts….forcing some firms to shutter their doors permanently.
Truss has decided against revealing details of a full emergency bill until her leadership battle with Rishi Sunak is concluded, and has previously – her words not mine – declared her opposition to ‘giving out handouts’.
The situation in the Ukraine, and Vladimir Putin’s anger at how much of the civilised world has reacted to it, could see energy costs continue to rise until April next year – potentially as high as £4,500 a year.
The Liz Truss Gambling Policy
Sliding further and further Truss in-tray is the Gambling Act overhaul that has been in the works for years.
The government’s white paper, which is thought to be completed, will outline changes to the gambling sector in the UK, with a raft of possibilities – including affordability checks, a ban on VIP programmes and a partial cessation of free bet offers – apparently in its contents.
The presiding Prime Minister will then talk through its ideas with her most trusted advisors, before implementing any legislative changes – probably in 2023 now, given how time is racing away.
You can check the voting record of any elected MP at They Work For You, and in encouraging news for the gambling sector Truss has, on seven occasions, previously voted against tougher regulation.
She even voted against giving local councils the power to control betting shop FOBTs, although in a curious move she gave a thumbs down to extending the horse racing betting levy to overseas bookmakers – not a move that would ingratiate her to the sport now, you fancy.
So it could be good news for betting firms hoping for more lenient industry reform, although for the rest of us hoping for a progressive, fair and representative society in the post Boris Johnson years, Truss’ voting record on other matters makes for pretty terrifying reading.