Five promises Rishi Sunak: How are you? – BBC News

  • By Anthony Ruben
  • BBC news

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak set out his five priorities for 2023 in a speech on January 4.

“I fully expect you to hold my government and me accountable in realizing those goals,” he said.

Since then, he and members of his government have repeated it at every opportunity.

So, how are the results after six months?

Halved inflation

The government’s top priority is halving inflation this year.

The measure the government uses is called the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which tracks changes in the price of a basket of common goods.

It aims to halve inflation by 10.7% – which is the figure for the fourth quarter of 2022 (October to December).

However, inflation remained high and unchanged – at a rate of 8.7% – from April to May. It hasn’t fallen back in recent months in the way some other major economies have.

The big problem for the government is that it is primarily dependent on the independent Bank of England – which it has no control over – to manage inflation by adjusting interest rates.

When will we know? Inflation figures for the fourth quarter of 2023 will be published on 17 January 2024.

Growing the economy

Downing Street said Sunak’s promise to “grow the economy” would be fulfilled if the economy was larger in the fourth quarter of 2023 than the previous three months.

This isn’t usually seen as a tough promise, as the UK economy is usually growing. The economy has gotten smaller in just four quarters of the last 10 years.

But there hasn’t been much growth recently. In the last four quarters, GDP grew only 0.1% three times and shrank 0.1% in the other quarters. The UK economy is still smaller than before the pandemic.

Another problem for the government is that its promises to grow the economy are complicated by its promises to halve inflation.

The Bank of England has been setting up interest rates in an attempt to stop prices from rising so quickly.

The reason behind this is that higher interest rates can reduce the demand for goods. However, this slowed economic growth.

When will we know? GDP for the fourth quarter of 2023 will be published on February 13, 2024.

Debt falls

When governments talk about falling debt, they almost always mean it as a share of GDP.

The idea is that debt falls if it grows more slowly than the economy.

But that hasn’t happened recently.

The latest figures show that debt is above 100% of GDP for the first time since 1961.

And if Mr Sunak doesn’t hit his second priority of growing the economy, then getting debt down as a share of GDP becomes even more difficult.

It is not clear when Pak Sunak intended for his debt to fall.

This is in line with government regulations that it must be done within five years.

When will we know? The next update on the debt forecast will accompany the government’s plans for the economy, in the Fall Statement later this year.

The waiting list falls

Mr Sunak said: “The NHS waiting list will fall and people will get the care they need more quickly.”

His promise refers only to waiting lists in England, as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland administer their own health systems.

The overall number of patients waiting for treatment in the UK is still increasing – from 7.33 million in March, to 7.42 million in April.

The number of people waiting more than 18 months, for example, fell between February and March.

We asked Downing Street when the prime minister intended for the waiting list to drop. That led us to a plan to address the elective care backlog (pre-planned care), which says that the overall waiting list is expected to drop around March 2024.

When will we know?: Waitlist numbers are usually published on the second Thursday of each month.

Stop small boat

The last priority was establishing a plan to stop the small boats carrying people across the English Channel.

Since the government has an overwhelming majority in the House of Commons, the bill is likely to pass eventually.

Mr Sunak said his plan to tackle the small boat crossing “is starting to work”.

However, most arrivals usually appear in the summer months so we won’t know until the end of the year whether or not the plan is working.

When will we know? Arrival figures in small boats are collected daily.

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