'Fired up' Rishi Sunak vows to keep cutting inflation, but refuses to commit to cutting taxes

8 September 2023, 23:44 | Updated: 9 September 2023, 00:19

Rishi Sunak has vowed to cut inflation
Rishi Sunak has vowed to cut inflation. Picture: Getty

By Kit Heren

Rishi Sunak has pledged to keep bringing inflation down, but refused to commit to tax cuts.

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The Prime Minister is in New Delhi to attend a meeting of G20 leaders and hold talks with India's leader Narendra Modi.

But he leaves behind problems at home, including a country still struggling with high taxes, high inflation and wavering public services - including many schools that are literally crumbling.

Inflation has gradually been falling from a peak of 11.1% in October 2022, but the rate of price increases is still high, at 6.8% in the year to July.

Mr Sunak said recent falls in the rate of inflation and a drop in energy prices showed his "plan is working".

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Mr Sunak is in India for the G20 summit
Mr Sunak is in India for the G20 summit. Picture: Getty

"I want to put our country on a trajectory that they can see their lives improving and I'm confident we can deliver that," he said.

"We've got plenty of time between now and the next election. I'm not complacent, there is lots of work to do but I'm entirely confident we can deliver for people.

"And I can tell you - certainly in Downing Street, we are fired up."

Mr Sunak also pointed to a "massive upgrade" to UK growth estimates that was announced last week, suggesting it "completely demolished in one swoop the entire economic narrative of the past two years".

Inflation is dropping but continues to be an issue
Inflation is dropping but continues to be an issue. Picture: Alamy

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revised its estimate for UK GDP after getting access to new data, saying it indicated the country's economy had already returned to its pre-Covid levels by the end of 2021.

The revision means the UK's economy is now believed to have grown by 8.5% during 2021, compared to the previous estimate of 7.6%, the ONS said.

Mr Sunak said: "It turns out we were the fastest growing European economy throughout Covid, we recovered the quickest. "So that should give people confidence that all the things we have done and are doing are right and are going to make a big difference to them."

Mr Sunak's Conservative Party trail heavily to Sir Keir Starmer's Labour Party in opinion polls, with some surveys putting them as much as 20 points behind ahead of an election that could be less than a year away.

Labour are ahead of the Conservatives in the polls
Labour are ahead of the Conservatives in the polls. Picture: Getty

The party was hammered in recent by-elections by Labour and the Liberal Democrats in Selby and Ainsty and Somerton and Frome, with tough tests to come in by-elections in Mid-Bedfordshire and Tamworth following the resignations of Nadine Dorries and Chris Pincher.

But the country's leader said he was "entirely confident" that his party could reverse Labour's poll lead, pointing to the way the Tories pulled off a surprise victory in the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election in July.

Asked whether he could commit to serving a full second term if he does beat Sir Keir's party, Mr Sunak, who has been Prime Minister for nearly 11 months, replied: "I am focused on delivering for the people now and winning the next election.

"That will be my first full term. I will show the British people what I am capable of in the time I have now before the election.

"I will be saying to them, 'give me a full term and then let me show you what I can deliver for you'."

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