On the 11th of July 2016, Theresa May became the Leader of the Conservative Party, succeeding David Cameron who resigned following the UK’s vote to leave the EU. The significance of this is that Ms May also became the only female PM we’ve had in the 21st Century and only the second in our political history, behind Margaret Thatcher.
Such an appointment is clearly quite a progressive action in what can often be seen as quite a male-dominated environment, and already Theresa May has shown her intent to succeed by laying out plans for the country, focusing in particular on the economy. Here, we look at some of these plans and question how these could affect the economy and UK businesses in the coming years of her tenure as PM.
What Lies Ahead for Europe?
The biggest economic challenge will be making sure that the UK’s exit from the EU doesn’t lead the country back into a recession. For the moment, Ms May hasn’t revealed her full strategy but has targeted ‘major free trade deals’ with several nations. The obvious factor here is that these will be essential to supporting our infrastructure; in short, getting these secured is a hugely important task.
What About America?
With Donald Trump recently winning the US election, eyes will also be on how Theresa May decides to work with this controversial figure and how this will affect us financially. Immediately after his victory she announced how Britain and the US will remain ‘strong and close partners on trade’. Again, this is a relationship that will need to be maintained, as businesses will rely on the US as an import and export partner as our commercial future with Europe is thrown into upheaval.
Will Her Cabinet Make a Difference?
Ms May has also put her trust into her newly appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond and for the moment forecasts like these in The Guardian, expect a continuation of the cuts we saw under George Osbourne. However, a positive due to the Brexit decision is that any budget choices will be presented more ‘cautiously for now’.
Will Faith be Restored in the Economy?
The combination of the above also lead to another challenge for Ms May in restoring faith in the UK economy. The decisions she makes will always be met with a mixture of backlash and praise, but everyone from big business investors to those with savings accounts will want assurances that their money is being put somewhere beneficial for them. If not, growth will become even more difficult and the value of the pound may continue to fall.
A Final Thought
It’s fair to say that Theresa May does have a lot to contend with as PM – especially in relation to the country’s financial situation. The Brexit process and fallout will of course have the biggest bearing on our economic future, but coming off the back of years of austerity, many UK citizens will more than likely be pleased with any economic positives that do indeed manifest themselves in the coming years of her term.
What does eventually happen of course remains to be seen; the hope is of course for the sake of the strength of the nation is that Theresa May handles the situation and that the actions she is taking now do turn out to be beneficial in the long run.
Written by Marcus Turner Jones