What are Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer’s pledges to the government? | policy news

Five seems to be the magic number for today’s political leaders – with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer offering the same number of pledges for government.

Below, we present the plans of the two party leaders – one who is in power and promises to deliver this year, and the other making his presentation to the public for the next election.

Sunak’s five ‘priorities’

The first of Mr. Sunak – a list he calls “the people’s priorities” – starts with half inflation until the end of the year.

The number reached records in recent months, reaching 11.1% in October, amid rising energy costs and rising food prices.

It started to fall, peaking at 10.1% this month, and the Bank of England predicted it could drop to 4% by the end of the year.

But the government is determined to hit its target and do its part to reduce the number.

The next step is economic growth, which Sunak says will be achieved by “creating better-paying jobs and opportunities across the country.”

In his speech announcing his priorities in January, he said the UK “needs to put innovation at the heart of everything we do”, adding: “New jobs are created by innovation. People’s wages rise through innovation. The cost of innovation goods and services is reduced by innovation.

“And big challenges like energy security and net zero will be solved by innovation.”

The prime minister said the government would increase public funding for research and development by £20 billion, “seize the Brexit opportunities” for a more flexible regulatory system and help growing companies get the finance they need.

And he said the government “will deliver on our promise to level up” with investments in local areas to “drive growth, create jobs and reinvigorate our streets and urban centers.”

Priority three for the prime minister is to ensure that the national debt is falling, which, he says, would allow the government to “secure the future of public services”.

The current level of borrowing or “national debt” is £2.49 trillion – much higher than in pre-COVID days. But borrowing costs also skyrocketedleaving the government paying even more.

This element was already on the rise last year, but it skyrocketed significantly last September, after the former PM Liz Truss announced its so-called mini-budget, sending markets into turmoil.

As a result, interest payments on government debt increased by 48% to £7.7 billion – a £2.5 billion increase from September 2021 and the highest level since monthly records began in 1997.

Markets – and interest rates – calmed after most of Truss’ unfunded tax cuts were reversed by new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, and they calmed further after Sunak took over at No. 10.

But the new prime minister still sees debt and its cost as a priority to be resolved.

Mr. Sunak laid out his priorities in the height of the NHS winter crisiswith ambulances queuing up outside hospitals and staff going on strike over their pay and working conditions.

The sector is also still feeling the impact of the pandemic, with record numbers of people stuck on waiting lists.

The prime minister said the government was already putting more money into the NHS and recruiting more doctors and nurses.

But he said he would address current problems by “putting patients in control”, using more technology to provide them with “informed choices”.

He also pledged a workforce strategy earlier this year and that the NHS would use more private hospital capacity where needed.

Rishi Sunak priorities

The prime minister’s final promise was to prevent small boats carrying people seeking asylum in the UK from crossing the English Channel.

The numbers making the treacherous journey have continued to rise in recent years – 2,000 have already made it since the start of 2023, with over 45,000 people making the trip last year.

Sunak said he will prevent that from happening by introducing a new law this year “ensuring that if you come to this country illegally, you are arrested and quickly removed.”

Starmer’s Five ‘Missions’

first in the labor leader’s list it is for the UK to secure the highest sustained growth in the G7 group of countries by the end of its ruling party’s first term.

He said “sustainable” was the key word as it would offer long-term improvements for Britain – namely “higher living standards, better public services, more hope and opportunity”.

Sir Keir promised that growth would not be London-centric, with “wealth created everywhere, by everyone, for everyone”, and would be “fueled by good jobs and higher productivity in all parts of the country”.

And he has promised learning reforms, planning systems and “fixing the Brexit deal” as broader parts of his growth strategy.

The second step for Sir Keir is to build an NHS that is “fit for the future” – but there are few details so far on how he plans to do that.

In the speech announcing his missions, he pledged to reform health and care services to “accelerate treatment, harness life sciences and technology, reduce preventable disease and reduce health inequalities”.

But the Labor leader is expected to make more appearances in the coming weeks and months to expand his plans, so keep an eye on this space.

As with the NHS, Sir Keir has not given many details about how he planned to make Britain’s streets safe.

There were glimmers of policies, with pledges to “reform the police and the criminal justice system, prevent early crime, combat violence against women and girls, and stop criminals from getting away with it”.

He also used Tony Blair’s famous quote, “tough on crime, tough on crime causes”, adding, “You’ve heard that before, but you’re right!”

But his secret secretary of the interior, Yvette Cooper, was outlining a series of proposals in recent weeksincluding a £360m package to recruit 13,000 additional ward officers and PCSOs.

Mission four was to break down the barriers to opportunity at each stage.

It was again hints at how Sir Keir plans to achieve this, saying his government would focus on “reforming child care, reforming education, raising standards everywhere and preparing young people for work and life”.

But as we said earlier, we’ll have to wait for another speech to get more details on these planned reforms.

Sir Keir’s final mission is one that the Labor Party laid stress on at its Liverpool conference last autumn, heralding the Great British Energy – a new public company that will generate renewable sources.

But he said his plan is bigger than one company as he wants to make Britain a clean energy superpower by ensuring Britain’s electricity is zero carbon by 2030.

The leader said he had spoken with companies and energy workers about the plan, adding: “The conversation always starts with a nod.”

But he says there is a “powerful urgency to make it happen”.

Other policies around this mission include insulating 19 million homes and training people to work with clean energy so they can become heat pump installers or green engineers.

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