47-year-old Akwasi Addo Alfred Kwarteng was born in the London Borough of Waltham Forest on 26 May 1975, the only child of Alfred K. Kwarteng and Charlotte Boaitey-Kwarteng, who had emigrated from Ghana as students in the 1960s. His mother is a barrister and his father, an economist in the Commonwealth Secretariat.

After starting school at a state primary school in Waltham Forest, Kwarteng attended Colet Court, an independent preparatory school in London, where he won the Harrow History Prize in 1988. Then Kwarteng went to Eton College, where he was a King’s Scholar and was awarded the Newcastle Scholarship prize. He read classics and history at Trinity College, Cambridge, achieving a double first-class degree in 1993, and twice winning the Browne Medal.

He was a member of the team which won the BBC quiz show University Challenge in 1995. At Cambridge, he was a member of the University Pitt Club and has since returned to visit. He was a Kennedy Scholar for a year at Harvard University, and then earned a Ph.D. degree in economic history from the University of Cambridge in 2000, with a thesis titled Political thought of the recoinage crisis of 1695–7.

Kwarteng was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer by incoming Prime Minister Liz Truss on 6 September 2022. On 23 September 2022, he announced a set of economic policies named “The Growth Plan 2022” in what the Treasury described as a “fiscal event”; this was dubbed a “mini-budget” by the media. He refused to allow the Office for Budget Responsibility to assess the economic impact of the budget and provide a forecast.

Following criticism from several Conservative MPs, including Michael Gove, Kwarteng said on 3 October 2022 that the government would not pursue the plan to abolish the 45% higher rate of income tax paid by people earning over £150,000 a year. Kwarteng said the plan had become a “distraction from our overriding mission to tackle the challenges facing the country”. Following the Conservative Party conference in October 2022, Kwarteng had an approval rating of -51%, according to an opinion poll by The Observer.

Kwarteng was dismissed as Chancellor on 14 October after only 38 days in the post. This made him the second shortest-serving post-war Chancellor after Iain Macleod, who died in office. Kwarteng was succeeded by Jeremy Hunt.


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