On Monday, October 24, Rishi Sunak, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, became UK’s Prime Minister after the resignation of Liz Truss. While Sunak isn’t without his critics, the appointment brought new hope to those in the tech industry familiar with his work.
Sunak, a 42-year-old from Southampton, is one of the richest people in Britain. He worked for Goldman Sachs and was a partner in various hedge funds and investment management operations. He’s the first Prime Minister to assume office under King Charles III.
Mr. Sunak has yet to reveal his proposed plan for the economy as the Tories looked to replace Liz Truss quickly. Nonetheless, here are a few agenda points that will be in focus during Sunak’s tenure:
- Primary focus will be on bringing stability to the UK economy
- Sunak will support a new digital strategy
- He’ll keep pressing on with the Brexit deals
Moreover, Sunak has received massive support from his Conservative Party and a little goodwill from across the aisle. But will Sunak and his cabinet be able to rally before the next UK elections, which will be held before January 2025?
Elizabeth Truss’s 44 Days in Office
The UK’s Conservative Party contested Liz Truss’s appointment as PM from the start. Since her primary focus on the EU bill failed to gain any support from the party, she had to resign.
Additionally, with the ill will left from Boris Johnson’s time in office, the EU and UK don’t see eye to eye on the biggest UK issue today, Brexit. Thus, the EU officials in Brussels don’t assist the UK in many deals.
The biggest failure of the short-lived Truss cabinet was its instability. Even without the support for the EU bills, voters and economic stakeholders expected Liz Truss and her cabinet to reach an agreement. Now, voters expect the same from Rishi Sunak.
Sunak Is Good News for Crypto
Speaking with the British news publisher Verdict, the head of research at Uphold Inc., Martin Hiesboeck, said Sunak is good for the crypto markets. He further added that Sunak had proposed the digital platform as Chancellor. So, it’s certain that, as the new PM, he’ll be open to new digital solutions.
For a while now, Britain has been opening to cryptocurrencies and how they can assist businesses and individuals. The country has been warming up to decentralized currencies despite the recent fall of the main crypto options, such as Bitcoin. In recent years, Britain’s focus has been on international trade and digital services. In both those fields, the UK falls behind other developed markets, like the US and Germany.
Following Sunak’s proposed digital platform, crypto enthusiasts are expecting Westminster to open up to the idea of trading and selling in decentralized currencies. Yet, it’s doubtful if any meaningful change will occur in the next two years.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK’s lack of digital penetration came to light. At that time, the government found that many in the country lacked access to digital services and the internet. Millions in Britain lack even basic digital skills.
Technocracy Is Bad for the Democracy, but Good for the Economy
Mr. Sunak’s critics point out that his appointment, while broadly supported among the Tories, is anything but democratic. British Prime Ministers must normally undergo political debates to discuss their policies to get elected. Mr. Sunak didn’t have to come through normal democratic channels of elections and campaigning but was elected from among the Tories.
Early elections are unlikely, and even the opposing Labour Party in the UK is unwilling to push for them now. With massive support among the Tories, the “technocratic regime” under Sunak may stay until the end of the term.
The UK’s economy will improve if the government is stable for the next two years. The country has been reeling ever since the housing crisis of 2008. The pandemic has further worsened the state of the UK’s economy.
For economic and tech experts, the main reason for the decline in local business activity is the lack of agility in the markets. Compared to the US, the UK has innovated less and has a small tech infrastructure, despite the higher population density.
The UK also has a smaller and less diverse market than the European Union. Much of the EU’s population moved to other EU countries to cope with the economic fallout from the pandemic. Moreover, people also moved to countries with better housing situations. This relieved the pressure on individual countries that were facing crises.
Stability Is the Primary Goal
The new government’s main goal will be stability. Other issues, such as cybersecurity and bridging the digital divide in the country, will remain important, but without the rule of law, those developments wouldn’t bring much progress.
That said, Mr. Sunak’s cabinet will bring new technological innovations and solutions. The UK Conservative Party is economically liberal and will seek wider public support through such programs.
The current Prime Minister is familiar with what makes investors want to pursue tech ventures. If he applies his knowledge to legislation, the Sunak cabinet may succeed in making Britain a tech and finance hub.
Will Britain Rule the Internet as It Did the Seas?
It’s a fact that the UK is still a global cultural powerhouse. British artists are well-known for their music, television, movies, and literary achievements. But could its cultural impact translate into economic gains?
For the average Brit, being a cultural powerhouse doesn’t improve their standard of living. Voter confidence will reduce with increases in housing prices, consumer prices, and inflation.
For Sunak, the situation he now finds himself in is both a risk and an opportunity. On the one hand, Tories will scapegoat him if they lose future elections. But, if his pro-tech approach does bring back Britain’s thalassocracy, in the digital realm this time and not in the seas, it will pull the country out of its economic crisis.