Rishi Sunak delivered his speech on the main stage at the Tory conference in Manchester today. The chancellor appeared to prioritize political positioning and had little to offer in terms of big new policies, only announcing that various schemes will be rolled out. This includes the ‘kickstart’ scheme that subsidizes eligible youth jobs with Universal Credit, which has only seen 77,000 start in these roles rather than a figure approaching the 250,000 projected by the end of the year.
In his first in-person speech at the conference, Sunak reiterated that he is a fiscal hawk, praising the past “ten years of strong conservative management of our economy” by his predecessors and telling the room: “I believe in fiscal responsibility and in everyone in this room. ” it does, too. “It has been widely noted that Labor might have a hard time differentiating itself on the economy from the Conservatives, who implemented the licensing scheme and other bold measures during Covid, but Sunak emphasized today:” We must never forget that economic differences Fundamentals between us and Labor runs very deep. ”
Labor’s main criticism of the speech so far has been the lack of attention paid to the climate crisis. Look for the words ‘climate’, ‘green’, ‘COP26’, ‘nature’, ‘carbon’ or ‘net zero’, and not a single mention is found in the Sunak address. Ed Miliband, Labor’s energy spokesman, called it “deeply troubling” and contrasted the speech with that of shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves, whose ideas for a green transition were at the center of her Brighton speech. The opposite of Sunak announced last week that Labor would put an additional £ 28 billion in capital investment towards a green transition “for each and every year of this decade.”
The other key attack by the opposition party has been to say that Sunak’s speech demonstrated that he “denies the magnitude of the economic crisis that he has overseen” and “has no plan or will to address it.” Bridget Phillipson said: “Rishi Sunak has overseen the worst economic crisis in the G7, with our economy contracting by 9.9% in 2020, deeper than Italy (8.9%) and France (7.8%) – and our recovery even further than any other. ” another G7 economy. Rather than come up with a plan to boost our economy and invest in the skills we need and the challenges we face, he pretends there is no work to be done. ”
The TUC pointed to flaws in Sunak’s repeated line that the government wants to see “good work, better skills, and higher wages.” Frances O’Grady said that “there is no serious plan to raise the standard of living” as if the Chancellor wanted higher wages “he should not freeze the salary of millions of key workers.” He added that, in the face of the cost of living crisis, Sunak should reverse the cut to Universal Credit. Similarly, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said: “The Chancellor may say that he has a plan for jobs but he does not have a plan to pay the bills … The government cannot credibly claim that it is going up while revenue is falling. of people”. But, by attacking Labor for wanting to increase profits and encouraging people to “increasingly lean on the state,” Sunak made it clear that this is exactly what he intends to do.
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