Rishi Sunak warns UK problems won’t ‘go away’ in 2023 after ‘tough’ 12 months

Politics

Rishi Sunak has warned the UK’s problems will not “go away” in 2023 after a “tough” 12 months in his New Year message.

The prime minister promised the “very best of Britain” will be on display in the coming months as he pledged continuing support for Ukraine.

And he also predicted King Charles’s coronation on 6 May would bring the country together.

But he admitted last year was “tough”.

“Just as we recovered from an unprecedented global pandemic, Russia launched a barbaric and illegal invasion across Ukraine,” Mr Sunak said.

“This has had a profound economic impact around the world, which the UK is not immune to.

“Now, I know many of you have felt that impact at home. That’s why this government has taken difficult but fair decisions to get borrowing and debt under control.

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“And it’s because of those decisions that we’ve been able to help the most vulnerable with the rising cost of energy bills.”

The PM, who only entered Number 10 in October after Liz Truss’s short-lived premiership, added: “Three months ago, I stood at the steps of Downing Street and promised I would work relentlessly on the things that matter most to you.

“Since then, this government has taken decisive action to back our NHS with record resources to tackle the backlogs – more funding, more doctors, and more nurses.

“We’re also tackling illegal migration and stopping criminals from abusing our asylum system.”

Read more: Cake ambushes to tractors – 2022’s political quotes

31/10/2022. London, United Kingdom. The Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty buy poppies, and a special 'poppy' dog collar for their pet Labrador Nova, from representatives of the Royal British Legion outside 10 Downing Street. Picture by Simon Walker / No 10 Downing Street
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Rishi Sunak only became prime minister in October

Mr Sunak said he was “not going to pretend that all our problems will go away in the new year” but said 2023 is an opportunity to “showcase the very best of Britain on the world stage”.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer used his New Year message to also acknowledge it had been a “very tough year” and said the UK “needs to change”.

Sir Keir, whose party is polling much higher than the Conservatives, mentioned the Queen’s death and the Lionesses’ Euro 22 success.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer speaks at the Labour business conference at Canary Wharf, London. The conference brings together Labour politicians and senior representatives from the world of business to discuss Labour's plans to reboot the economy. Picture date: Thursday December 8, 2022.
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Sir Keir Starmer’s party is soaring ahead in the polls

While he said the UK must continue to support Ukraine, he said next year is a “new chapter” for the country ahead of the coronation.

And he said Labour will continue to make the case for a “new Britain” that will fix struggling public services and “grow the economy for everyone”.

Promising to “restore faith” in politics as a “force for good”, he said: “For Britain to become a fairer, greener, more dynamic country – we need a completely new way of doing politics.

“After everything we’ve been through together, that’s what Britain deserves.”

Sir Ed Davey
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Sir Ed Davey said he is looking ahead to the new year with hope

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey also said times are “tough” but said the new year is an “opportunity to turn the page and look ahead”.

“Although things are tough for millions, I sense change is possible – so I look to the new year with hope and optimism,” he added.

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