Starmer to promise 'decade of national renewal' after Sunak pledges to halve inflation

5 January 2023, 00:02

Sir Keir will respond to Rishi Sunak's blueprint for Britain
Sir Keir will respond to Rishi Sunak's blueprint for Britain. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Labour will hit back at Rishi Sunak's five point plan by promising a "decade of national renewal" in Sir Keir Starmer's first speech of the year, in which he will promise spending restraint.

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The party's leader will promise to "change the country" and generate "hope you can build your future around" but promised he would not "spend our way out of their mess".

Speaking in east London, Sir Keir is due to offer his own vision after the Prime Minister pledged to halve inflation, sort out NHS waiting lists and face up to the challenge of small boat crossings in the Channel.

Sir Keir will say: "We can give people a sense of possibility again, show light at the end of the tunnel."

But he is due to add his ideas will not see "Labour getting its big government chequebook out again".

"Of course, investment is required - I can see the damage the Tories have done to our public services as plainly as anyone," he is expected to say.

"But we won't be able to spend our way out of their mess - it's not as easy as that. There is no substitute for a robust, private sector, creating wealth in every community."

He will take aim at short-termism he will say dominates Westminster, "infecting" institutions that "try and fail to run Britain from the centre".

Read more: PM's five pledges for Britain: Halve inflation, grow economy, slash debt, cut NHS waits and tackle channel migrants

Sir Keir will set out an alternative to Rishi Sunak's blueprint
Sir Keir will set out an alternative to Rishi Sunak's blueprint. Picture: Alamy

And he will set out how he will respond to crises like the one engulfing the beleaguered NHS, saying the difficulties facing the UK have been "an iceberg on the horizon".

"I call it 'sticking plaster politics'. This year, we're going to show how real change comes from unlocking the pride and purpose of Britain's communities," Sir Keir will say.

Labour will set out "national missions" it wants to focus on and use those to build up an election manifesto.

The Prime Minister unveiled on Wednesday a five point plan to put the country back on track for 2023, promising "no tricks" and "no ambiguity" as part of his proposals.

Laying out his objectives from London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Rishi Sunak said he will set out to halve inflation, grow the economy, reduce debt, cut waiting lists, and "stop the boats" over the coming year.

Speaking of his respect for public sector workers in the midst of the largest wave of public sector strike action in recent memory, Mr Sunak said he understood the "anxiety" that surrounded NHS waiting list delays.

The announcement marks Mr Sunak's first major speech of 2023, urging the public to judge his premiership as PM on the key targets outlined and the “effort we put in”.

It also follows mounting criticism aimed at the PM who has not been seen or heard from publicly in weeks, amid a growing wave of public discontent which includes extensive public sector strike action and an NHS brought to its knees by winter pressure.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak set out his government's five goals for 2023 as part of his speech
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak set out his government's five goals for 2023 as part of his speech. Picture: Twitter

Read more: Tory spat as LBC reveals culture secretary to roll back on Channel 4 privatisation

Speaking today, Mr Sunak said his pledges would "deliver peace of mind", going on to note his plan would help "build a better future" for the next generation.

Setting out his mission to halve inflation, Mr Sunak's goal reflects predictions already announced by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), with inflation forecast to drop from 10.7% in November to 3.8% by the end of 2023.

"First, we will halve inflation this year to ease the cost of living and give people financial security," Mr Sunak said.

"Second, we will grow the economy, creating better-paid jobs and opportunity right across the country."

He continued: "Third, we will make sure our national debt is falling so that we can secure the future of public services.

"Fourth, NHS waiting lists will fall and people will get the care they need more quickly.

"Fifth, we will pass new laws to stop small boats, making sure that if you come to this country illegally, you are detained and swiftly removed."

Read more: More commuter misery in fresh rail strikes as Mick Lynch compares Government to repressive China on LBC

Speaking of his desire to create "a future that restores optimism, hope and pride in Britain", the Prime Minister's comments follow a tumultuous 2022 which saw Boris Johnson resign after a series of damaging revelations and then Liz Truss's disastrous, and brief, premiership.

Her handful of days in office saw her produce a disastrous mini-budget filled with a black hole in funding that spooked the markets.

Mr Sunak said: "No tricks… no ambiguity… we're either delivering for you or we're not. We will rebuild trust in politics through action, or not at all.

"So, I ask you to judge us on the effort we put in and the results we achieve."

"People don't want politicians who promise the earth and then fail to deliver. They want government to focus less on politics and more on the things they care about.

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