‘Oven ready’ energy package awaits new PM
Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi said he has pulled together a package of financial support for hard-pressed households that will be “oven-ready for the new Prime Minister.”
Mr Zahawi returned from key meetings in the US today (Friday) with fresh impetus to ensure the new incumbent at Number Ten can get to work in rolling out further cost-of-living support.
He said he will build on a £37 billion package of support for families across the UK in the face of global pressures exacerbated by Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.
The Chancellor has been proactively working up further avenues of support in recent weeks in preparation for the inbound Prime Minister, likely to be Liz Truss who is expected to be named new Tory leader on Monday.
Mr Zahawi’s visit to the US is likely to be his last as Chancellor amid speculation he will be replaced by the Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.
His trip was designed to seek international solutions rising inflation and slow growth. During the visit, he encouraged close cooperation in areas of financial services, tackling climate change and collective energy security.
He said: “The scale of the economic challenges facing both the UK and our allies is huge, and it’s through working together and tackling those challenges head on that we will forge stronger, resilient economies.
“This was recognised in all quarters during my visit to the US. I’m pleased to say that we are in lockstep with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and her team on the global economic outlook, ongoing support for Ukraine and collaboration between the UK and US on energy security, our financial services and civil nuclear cooperation.
“My full undivided efforts and attention are on building upon our £37 billion of Help for Households and ensuring further support is oven-ready for the new Prime Minister once they take office next week.”
The first leg of the visit began in New York on Tuesday at the New York Stock Exchange. Zahawi met with the vice chair John Tuttle before the opening bell ceremony, discussing the UK Government’s ambitious Financial Services and Markets Bill and the importance of capital markets in the global economy.
The Chancellor then met with bank executives, to understand their respective priorities for UK-US cooperation in the field of financial services and to stress a commitment to strengthening the transatlantic financial services relationship.
He also held talks with Blackrock CEO Larry Fink on the role of the asset management sector, productive finance and new technologies in financial services.
On Wednesday, Mr Zahawi travelled to Washington DC for a day of bilateral meetings in the US capital. He met with Kristalina Georgieva of the IMF and David Malpass of the World Bank in the morning, with financial support to Ukraine and the food security challenges of vulnerable countries high on the agenda.
Mr Zahawi commended the World Bank on its $170bn Global Crisis Response Package, with many countries across the world facing major debt, energy crises and famine risks.
The Chancellor later met with the United States Secretary to the Treasury Janet Yellen to discuss how the UK and US can work together to deal with the challenge of high energy costs and further undermine Putin’s illegal invasion.
Both reiterated their resolve to support the people of Ukraine in their fight for freedom and agreed to pursue today’s G7 oil price cap agreement to collectively ramp up the pressure on the Russian President and his war machine.
The pair also spoke at length about the parallels between the UK and US economies in facing the challenges of inflation and the cost-of-living – which was also discussed during a meeting with Federal Reserve vice-chair Lael Brainard.
Mr Zahawi also took part in an ‘in conversation’ talk and Q&A with American Enterprise Institute Director of Economic Policy Studies Michael Strain to discuss fiscal and monetary policy, the drive towards net zero and the UK as a competitive, green tech and economic hub.
Before returning to the UK, the once Vaccines Minister stopped by the AstraZeneca research and development facility in Gaithersburg to talk on AZ’s net zero healthcare ambitions and ongoing international work on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.