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Why UK Prime Minister Truss fired her finance minister — and what happens next as the economic storm worsens

Britain’s new leader has had a historically rough first six weeks in office.

As he leaves, Kwarteng is assured an unhappy place in British political history: At 38 days, his was among the shortest tenures for any British chancellor. His only rival in modern times is Iain MacLeod, who died in office 30 days after being appointed finance minister in 1970.

Kwarteng’s exit might only heighten the sense of crisis now engulfing Truss’ six-week-old administration: The economic picture remains perilously fragile as the government’s accounting remains in question, and Truss herself is facing the prospect of an internal party rebellion that puts her own future as Britain’s leader in question.

Economy: Balancing the books

At the heart of the turmoil in Britain are wide-ranging tax cut proposals that, coupled with the new government’s plans to limit energy price rises for ordinary Britons, had raised a key question for economists and investors alike: How on earth was Truss going to pay for her plans?

For weeks now, both Truss and Kwarteng have insisted that the measures — dubbed by them the “Growth Plan 2022″ — would spur economic growth, which in turn would help balance the government’s books. Their logic: The revenue generated by growth would be enough to offset the costs of both the government’s proposals to cut taxes and its plans to limit sudden rises in energy bills.

But market response to the Truss government’s plans to deal with these accumulating crises has only made things worse. It is why Truss fired Kwarteng and why on Friday she also reversed a second recently announced policy, saying she would scrap a proposed tax cut for companies. The U-turn will save her government around 18 billion pounds, less than half the amount analysts say she needs to balance the books.

Politics: Truss holds on — but for how long?

Truss’ problems don’t stop with the economy.

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