Liz Truss is preparing to hit the ground running immediately after the Queen’s funeral, with a speech at the United Nations and a tax-slashing ‘mini-budget’ next week.
Parliament could also resume as early as Wednesday – the day after world leaders gather at Westminster Abbey – as official business returns to what Downing Street describes as “more to normal”.
No 10 says it does not need to pass legislation to enact the energy price freeze that will, from 1 October, hold down average annual household bills to £2,500 until 2024.
But the new prime minister won the Tory leadership race on a promise to slash taxes by around £30bn, reversing the National Insurance rise and scrapping the planned Corporation Tax hike.
Ms Truss downgraded her planned emergency budget to a “fiscal event” – to avoid scrutiny by the Office for Budget Responsibility – which was pencilled in for next week.
She is expected to fly to New York for the UN leaders’ meeting as early as Monday evening, within hours of the funeral, returning to the UK late on Wednesday or early Thursday.
That would allow the mini-budget to be held on Thursday next week, before parliament breaks up again for the Labour and Conservative party conferences.
“We are still planning to deliver a fiscal event this month,” the prime minister’s spokesman told reporters. It would not be unveiled during the Labour conference week, starting on 25 September.
The chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, is also under fierce pressure to unveil the cost of the energy price freeze – which the government faced criticism for failing to do last week.
The £100bn-plus bill will be met through much higher government borrowing, after Ms Truss rejected Labour calls for a beefed-up windfall tax on the excess profits of energy firms.
Some legislation might be needed to push through the package of support for businesses, but there is not yet a date for this to be provided.
Plans to rescue the NHS from its deepening crisis were due to be unveiled this week, but have been postponed because of the national period of mourning.
And the spokesman declined to comment on Ukraine’s surprise defeat of Russian forces in the east of the country, or on whether there had been a fresh call for miliary aid, while the mourning continues.
However, the government will meet Thursday’s deadline to respond to the EU’s seven legal actions against the UK for failing to implement border checks agreed in the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The crisis is approaching another tipping point – after the EU reactivated the infringement proceedings over the Bill before parliament to tear up the protocol.
Ms Truss must decide whether to agree to talks, or ask for further time to respond to the legal threat, having insisted she will not back down over the Northern Ireland Bill.
She has backed away from suggestions she would escalate the dispute by triggering Article 16 of the Protocol – but launched the UK’s own legal action over the block on access to Horizon and other science programmes.