Rishi Sunak Warns of Tough Year Ahead
The problems that we saw on the global stage in 2022 are still around. Russia’s illegal invasion into Ukraine has been the cause of many of the problems that have echoed throughout the world, from exacerbating an energy crisis to reducing imports and affecting the rising cost of living. Even the strikes from last year are still ongoing, leading to a snowball effect of more public sector workers picking up industrial action. Now that 2023 is under way, the world of politics is a fresh reminder that these issues need to be tackled.
The Prime Minister’s New Year message was a reminder that the problems affecting the UK in 2022 were not going to magic themselves away in 2023. After a rollercoaster of a year in politics alone, Sunak used his message to promise the very best of Britain to help ease the pressures the country is still facing. In still aiding Ukraine against the Russian invasion, there are going to be repercussions and sacrifices on home soil, not least through the energy crisis. Spending will need to be curtailed as costs are tightened, meaning sacrifices for all.
Rishi Sunak looked ahead to King Charles’ coronation and insisted that the event will be a much needed distraction in order to unite the country again. The coronation will be a chance for everyone to come together with pride in everything that makes the UK great. The PM also highlighted the support the government has given to the most vulnerable as a result of rising energy bills, which was launched, in part, by his short-lived predecessor, Liz Truss.
Sir Keir Starmer broadcast his own New Year message to reflect on how the country needs to change after an incredibly tough 2022. The Labour leader made a statement about a case for a “new Britain”, which would see better support for struggling public services in order for the economy to benefit for everyone. Specifically looking at the public sector strikes, Starmer's message was that he was on their side.
Due to the sanctions on Russia, inflationary pressures in the UK have intensified and added to the cost of living crisis. It’s also had the added effect of halting economic growth within the country. The Centre for Economics and Business Research even concluded that households would be worse off by a reduction of £2,500 in living standards. This means the rest of the year is going to be tough, especially if the Bank of England keeps raising interest rates to try to keep inflation under control.
According to the UK Government website, the UK has sanctioned £18.3 billion of Russian assets, across over 1,200 people and over 120 entities. Russia reported around $30 billion in frozen assets in June, which has had a massive impact on the Russian military machine. Only time will tell if this will be enough, along with the other military aid that will be sent to Ukraine.
The Home Energy Survey, conducted by Eco Quote Today, showed that only 17% of UK households believe the government is doing enough to combat the energy crisis. An overwhelming majority of 65% do not believe this is the case, wishing to see more of an effort by the Prime Minister to tackle the rising costs that households are facing.
Over 83% of UK households are in favour of further windfall taxes against oil and gas giants, which just goes to show how the public feels as though the government can be using funds to help households. Likewise, with energy security, 62.5% of people believe green energy generation is the key to lowering household energy bills. If the government were to lift the ban on on-shore wind farms, they would be appealing to this majority.