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Each day FT Leader writers on the Editorial Board meet to discuss the topics to be considered for Leader columns. Here are the issues that dominated this week:

After a series of damning leaders on the premiership of Liz Truss and her unfunded tax-slashing, the Editorial Board had something to praise: we welcomed her appointment of Jeremy Hunt as chancellor and the junking of “Trussonomics” .

“After promising ‘growth, growth, growth’,” we concluded, “it is ironic that the most important economic measures put in place during Truss’s turbulent premiership… may just be the ones announced today by the chancellor to reverse the majority of her policy agenda and put the UK back on a path toward stability.”

Earlier, in commenting on the IMF’s bleak view of the global economy, we had bemoaned the vulnerabilities left by loopholes in financial regulation and a failure to make hay while the sun was shining.

“While the banking system was strengthened after the financial crisis, policymakers did too little to bolster the non-bank financial system. Many will also lament the lack of productivity-enhancing and inflation-busting investments in skills, technology and fossil fuel alternatives over the past decade, when interest rates were low.”

In the coming days we plan to return to the topic of energy prices and, following the curtailment of the planned UK subsidy scheme, our Editorial Board will assess the policymaking options.
Tory turmoil laid bare

Liz Truss, the UK prime minister resigned today after failing to get a grip on party discipline when her signature “Trussonomics” policies collided spectacularly with reality.

Her resignation brings her 45 days in office to a dramatic close. It saw her preside over an economic meltdown and catastrophic damage to the ruling Conservative party.

For now, Truss’s implosion has sated her party’s appetite for a replacement leader from the Tory party’s ideological edge, argues Robert Shrimsley. Tory MPs will make the decision, and will not allow party members a say. Keir Starmer, the Labour opposition leader, is pushing for a general election.

All mooted contenders are from the party’s more moderate, centre-right wing - chancellor Jeremy Hunt among them. Hunt is scheduled to put forward a plan to fill a £40bn hole in the UK’s public accounts on October 31.

But while the grown-ups may be back, Brexit has robbed the UK of a grown-up economic policy.

“Until costly Brexit puritism is abandoned, there will remain a hole in Tory economic strategy,” says Shrimsley. “Even business tax cuts will not deliver inward investment if the rest of the world sees you as a bad bet.”

This video by FT senior writers explains how Brexit hit the UK economy, a “political conspiracy of silence” over facing up to its consequences, and why a convincing case for a “Brexit dividend” has yet to materialise.

The Tory party’s divisions have laid bare the bitterness over Brexit and the party’s wider, radically rightwing fiscal agenda.

Yesterday’s chaotic scenes in parliament during a vote on the government’s fracking policy were a case in point. Labour MPs claimed that Tory whips physically pushed the rebels in their party in order to force them to vote with the government against a fracking ban.

Earlier in the day, home secretary Suella Braverman quit ; five days earlier, Truss had sacked her chancellor, Kwasi Kwartang.

As Cat Rutter Pooley points out, Truss’s short-lived policies continue to have long-term damaging effects: UK shares look set to remain cheap .

A deindustrialised Europe?

Will the energy crisis crush European industry? Executives and businesses across the bloc are fearing a wave of deindustrialisation as they brace for shortages . Europe’s industrial base employs about 35mn people, and leading industrialists are warning of devastating economic impact.

The EU is calling for “energy union” in the face of a bleak winter, as temperatures begin to fall. Ahead of an emergency summit today, Brussels unveiled a fresh package of emergency measures.

But the eurozone is struggling to reach consensus. Martin Wolf argues that the eurozone has no choice but to tackle the energy crisis together. A common policy is essential to combat huge price rises following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he says.

A separate rebellion is growing among EU member states over an international energy treaty that allows multinationals to sue governments to protect their investments.

Campaigners say the Energy Charter Treaty, brokered in the 1990s, is an obstacle to curbing greenhouse gases. It covers more than 50 countries, including the EU bloc.

This week, the Netherlands became the third EU country to say it would withdraw from the pact, joining Spain and Poland.

Meanwhile in the US, president Joe Biden authorised emergency oil releases from reserves as Democrats prepare for midterm elections next month. The administration is battling high petrol prices, though Biden insisted the move was “not politically motivated at all”.

Best of the week’s business news

Also in the US, authorities are toughening their stance on anti-competitive conduct in business. Seven directors resigned from corporate boards this week after the US Department of Justice warned they were violating antitrust laws.

The seven executives left five boards. Among those to step down was an executive from the private equity firm Thoma Bravo, who also sat on the boards of two tech groups. Private equity has become the focus of US antitrust enforcers and regulators since President Biden appointed watchdogs to boost competition rules, with the DoJ “pioneering a new category of antitrust enforcement”.

In the UK, a ruling this week with potentially far-reaching consequences for companies advertising their ESG credentials: HSBC is facing allegations of greenwashing from UK advertising watchdogs.

The Advertising Standards Authority found two of the bank’s adverts misled customers by selectively promoting green initiatives, while omitting information about its links with companies with substantial omissions.

The ASA ruled the effect of two adverts was to lead customers to believe HSBC was making “a positive overall environmental contribution as a company”.

EY, too, has fallen foul of regulators - again. Its US partners flouted conflict of interest rules, with one in three failing to make proper financial disclosures according to 2018 checks, according to a Public Company Accounting Oversight Board report.

The group audits about 15 per cent of US public companies, and staff are supposed to adhere to numerous compliance rules to ensure independence. EY said it had “more work to do” to fix the problem. The revelations come hot on the heels of widespread cheating on professional exams , for which it paid a $100mn settlement this year.

Meanwhile, business travellers’ resilience to surging air fares is tested to the limits around the world, argues Peggy Hollinger. In the US, prices are up 43 per cent in a year. People are still flying - for now, but airlines may soon find demand falters.
Structured digital reporting - improving quality (UK Financial Reporting Council webinar)
Key tech trends for business leaders (McKinsey insight)
How to survive the AI revolution (Stanford Business School insight)
Why Web3 won’t go mainstream — yet (Wharton insight)
Sexual harrassment and home working: what boards need to know

This article is brought to you by FT Specialist’s Agenda, a publication that focuses on corporate boards.
On October 26 - 27, FT journalists Gillian Tett and Simon Mundy will host Moral Money Summit Americas, a live and virtual event focused on how companies can turn ESG pledges into action. Find out more here.

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