It’s all in the delivery

We will deliver. Liz Truss stated boldly. Her assertion sounded a combative tone. One she will need to strike time and again over the next two years, I believe. But, the immediate question is: what can Liz Truss really deliver?

The public saw a lot of posturing by both candidates prior to the result, where now we see the UK’s new PM secured more than 81,000 party member votes compared with just over 60,000 for her rival Rishi Sunak.

I don’t doubt she’ll hit the ground running. But it’s crunch time as promises have to be met and an election win fought for. There’s very little room for manoeuvre and many mouths to feed.

The pressures are there for everyone to see and have been there for some time. The food and drink sector’s various parts have set out their ambitions. Farming wants policies to raise productivity and bolster food security. They believe years of neglect have led to a productivity gap that needs to be filled. They want growth, “genuine” planning reform, a simpler tax system for diversified businesses, and a Whitehall shake-up to encourage cross-departmental co-operation.

Otherwise, her party “risks losing the hearts and minds of 12 million rural voters.”

The unprecedented rise in input costs is leading to a cost of production crisis for manufacturing businesses. AIMS members are facing triple digit percentage rises in energy, and are looking at using cash in the bank to pay bills rather than expand, or upgrade sites.

If prices continue rising, the increased cost of production will be passed to consumers who have their own concerns.

Retailers have a to-do list comprising everything from business rates and energy bills to climate change and the digital skills gap.

The positives for Liz Truss are largely around her roles in government and the hope that this helps her see manufacturing as essential to the economy. She brings relevant knowledge and experience from her past roles as Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade.

She has also talked about being a government that is unashamedly pro-growth.

All within food and drink want Ms Truss to honour her campaign pledges, by tearing up red tape, reducing electricity bills and helping with labour shortages.

She worked the audience for members’ votes. Can she do the same with a party looking at 2024 and a nation facing plenty of ongoing challenges?

The new PM will have to act decisively in a way that speaks the truth over and above her predecessor and in ways that satisfies many. Liz Truss will even have to show political sleight of hand we haven’t seen from her before – this time in full public gaze.

Delivery is what she’s come to the table with so deliver she must or face the ire of not just her party, but business and the public at large. Over to you, Prime Minister.

 

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