Top 5 reasons you should be terrified about Liz Truss as Prime Minister

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From workers’ rights to the climate crisis – Liz Truss running the country is a scary prospect

Liz Truss

The results are in. Liz Truss has won the Tory leadership contest and will become the country’s next Prime Minister.

After the scandal, bigotry and incompetence of the Boris Johnson era, what can we expect from the new PM?

It’s not looking promising. Truss’ leadership campaign has pitched to the hard right of her party, and there are many reasons we should all be worried about what’s to come. Here are five of the biggest reasons you should be terrified about Liz Truss as a Prime Minister.

1. Making the climate crisis worse

After a summer of record-breaking temperatures and drought across the UK, Truss appears to have missed the memo on the climate crisis. At a hustings during the leadership campaign, Truss said she would “change the rules” to prevent fields being used for solar power. She has also committed to approving a raft of oil and gas drilling licenses as one of her first acts as prime minister.

With urgent action on the climate crisis becoming ever more necessary, Truss’ plans to ramp up fossil fuel extraction while making renewable energy production harder are extremely worrying. They’re also bad news for the future of energy prices in the UK. The cost of living crisis is partially driven by the failure to transition quickly enough to renewables, and an over-reliance on fossil fuels.

And with the average time from a license being granted to oil and gas production taking place being 28 years, this could be one of the most absurdly short-sighted policies from a UK Prime Minister.

2. Attacks on workers and trade unions

Another area where Truss has pledged to act quickly is on industrial relations. During the leadership campaign, Truss said that within 30 days of becoming PM she would legislate to ensure minimum service levels on infrastructure such as the railways in the event of strike action. RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch has branded these proposals, “the biggest attack on trade union and civil rights since labour unions were legalised in 1871”, saying they would “make effective trade unionism illegal”.

In addition to seeking to neuter trade unions, Truss has other plans to attack workers’ rights. According to reports in The Times, team Truss is planning widespread reforms to UK labour laws. Among workers’ rights to potentially be torn up are protections against workers being sacked for refusing to work more than a 48-hour working week, rules on taking breaks and guarantees of four weeks’ holiday per year.

3. Chaos in the NHS

Despite the country emerging from an unprecedented global pandemic, the future of the NHS has been largely absent from the debate in the Tory leadership contest. That’s not because it’s in good health.

In England over 6 million people are waiting for hospital treatment. Over 350,000 of those people have been waiting for treatment for over a year. Heart attack and stroke patients are waiting over half an hour longer for an ambulance than before the pandemic.

Truss’ proposals to tackle this crisis have been pledges to ‘cut red tape’ and introduce measures to prevent doctors from retiring early. Given the scale of the problems facing the health service, this won’t even scrape the surface. And there’s nothing in her plans to give the NHS the massive funding injection it needs, nor to end the scourge of outsourcing and privatisation.

4. Expanding the Rwanda deportation policy

One of the most toxic legacies of the Tories’ 12 years in office has been their increasingly restrictive and punitive changes to the migration system. The latest iteration of this is the widely condemned Rwanda deportation policy.

Truss has backed the Rwanda policy to the hilt, and has also committed to expanding the policy of offshoring asylum processing for migrants that cross the English Channel to more countries. Alongside this, she has touted increasing the size of the UK’s border force by 20 per cent,

More nebulously, Truss has said that a new ‘British Bill of Rights’ would give the government the powers to implement a more hard line migration policy.

5. Victimising the LGBT+ community

The opening weeks of the Tory leadership contest were marked by the contenders out-bidding each other to be the most hostile to trans people. Truss didn’t hold back in this scapegoating contest.

She has form in this area. As Equalities Minister, it was ultimately Truss’ decision to exclude trans people from the ban on conversion therapy – a practice a UN expert has said can amount to torture.

During her time in that post, Truss also scrapped plans to reform gender recognition laws. This would have removed the lengthy medical process for trans people to have their gender recognised by the state and obtain a gender recognition certificate.

Truss has also called for all government departments to withdraw from the Stonewall Diversity Champions programme. The programme promotes inclusive workplaces for LGBT+ staff members and advises employers on how to support their LGBT+ staff.

Chris Jarvis is head of strategy and development at Left Foot Forward

Image credit: Simon Dawson / Number 10 Downing Street – Creative Commons

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