How Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget hit UK economy – in numbers

Reckless ‘fiscal event’ may have damaged Liz Truss’s government beyond repair

It’s been a week since the chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, delivered his “fiscal event”, heralding “a new approach for a new era” that left the Daily Mail cooing: “At last! A true Tory budget.”

The impact of which has been devastating, with even the generally Tory-supporting Economist saying the government’s reckless incompetence may have already damaged it “beyond repair”. Here we look at the key figures that defined one of the worst probation periods in history.

£65bn

The Bank of England triggered an emergency £65bn bond-buying programme on Wednesday to stem the crisis triggered by Liz Truss and Kwarteng’s growth plan, which put entire pension funds at risk of insolvency.

4.3%

The yields on 10-year gilts – UK government bonds – surged after Kwarteng’s Friday announcement, rising from 3.5% to 4.3% before falling back to about 4.05% on Friday after the Bank of England’s intervention. Yields are effectively the cost of borrowing to an issuer, in this case the UK government. Rising bond yields suggest a lack of willingness among investors to own the debt, as buyers demand a lower price to buy them.

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10.6%

The British Retail Consortium revealed food price inflation surged again to 10.6%, compared with an already staggering 9.3% last month.

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232

The FTSE 100 has fallen by about 232 points since last Friday as jittery investors took flight.

The Labour party leader, Keir Starmer, and the deputy leader, Angela Rayner, at the Labour party conference in Liverpool.
The Labour party leader, Keir Starmer, and the deputy leader, Angela Rayner, at the Labour party conference in Liverpool. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty

33

Labour holds a 33-point lead over the Conservatives, according to a poll from YouGov. It is thought to be the largest poll lead held by a political party since the late 1990s. Labour is widely considered to have enjoyed a successful party conference, where it announced plans to form a publicly owned green energy company called Great British Energy.

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1.03

The pound fell to a record low of 1.03 against the US dollar on Monday after Kwarteng doubled down on his £45bn package of tax cuts by pledging to go further. The pound-dollar was about 1.12 on the day of the mini-budget, hit its low on Monday, and has returned to close to 1.12 on Friday.

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1,621

As of Thursday, spooked lenders had withdrawn 1,621 mortgage products from the market, according to Moneyfacts, amid uncertainty over the future trajectory of base rates and the lack of faith in the government’s plan.

Eight

The prime minister, Liz Truss, experienced a bruising round of eight BBC local radio interviews on Thursday morning. From Bristol to Stoke, and Lancashire to Kent, Truss was up against the ropes for much of the excruciating hour of exchanges, in which she frequently drifted off into uncomfortable silences, resorted to challenging “the premise of the question” and in many cases providing answers to questions that had not been asked.

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Jamie Grierson

The GuardianTramp

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