The new Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, looks after public finances (Picture: Chris J. Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Things have been changing fast in the Conservative Party, especially the holder of the Chancellor of the Exchequer position.

Rishi Sunak resigned from the job before taking on new Prime Minister Liz Truss in the Tory leadership contest, with MP Nadhim Zahawi briefly stepping into the role.

When Ms Truss took over Number 10, she appointed then Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng to be Chancellor – and Mr Kwarteng quickly giving his first ‘mini budget’ statement on September 23.

Kwasi is now charge of the public purse and will be responsible for deciding the Budget each year.

But what exactly does the Chancellor’s job entail?

What does the Chancellor of the Exchequer do?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (often shortened to ‘Chancellor’) is a very senior government role.

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In a nutshell, the government website describes it as ‘the government’s chief financial minister and as such is responsible for raising revenue through taxation or borrowing and for controlling public spending.

‘He has overall responsibility for the work of the Treasury.’

The key priorities include setting the annual Budget, managing tax rises and cuts and setting inflation targets.

Chancellors also lead the Treasury’s response to crises such as the cost of living and Covid, something we saw Mr Kwarteng’s predecessor Mr Sunak do a lot of.

In addition to the Budget, Mr Sunak created the furlough scheme, which was designed to stave off millions of job losses during lockdown – as well as the ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ scheme.

More: British Government

We’ve already seen Mr Kwarteng deliver a stamp duty holiday, promise a range of income tax cuts for April 2023, and confirm a two-year freeze on the soaring energy price cap, previously announced by PM Truss.

Mr Kwarteng has also spoken about the creation of ‘low tax investment zones’ in parts of England, including the Tees Valley, Derbyshire and Essex, among others elsewhere in the UK.

The Chancellor also holds the title Second Lord of the Treasury – a ministerial role – with the First Lord of the Treasury being the Prime Minister.


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