22 May 2024

Sunak urges Tories to ‘stick to the plan’ as inflation falls

22 May 2024

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said inflation figures are evidence that the Conservatives should “stick to the plan” as opposition MPs claimed the country is “waiting for a Labour Government”.

Rumours about an imminent general election announcement swirled amid some rare welcome news for Mr Sunak, as official figures showed inflation slowed to 2.3% in April, the lowest level since July 2021.

During Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Mr Sunak told MPs only that it will be “in the second half of this year”.

Taking questions from Tory Party colleagues, the Prime Minister said the latest inflation figures are a “major moment” for the economy and evidence that “when you stick to the plan, we can look forward to a brighter future”.

Conservative MP Tom Randall (Gedling) said: “Forty years ago Mrs Thatcher described high inflation as a destroyer of industry, jobs and savings.

“Would (Mr Sunak) agree that that sentiment is as true today as it was then, and what assessment does he make of today’s announcement for my Gedling constituents who want to be able to save, get a good job and enjoy a reasonable cost of living?”

Mr Sunak replied: “(Mr Randall) is right that today does mark a major moment for the economy.

“Not only have we halved inflation, but it has returned back to normal thanks to the collective hard work and sacrifice and resilience of people up and down the country, and this is further proof that our plan is working.

“Mortgage rates have come down, energy bills have come down, taxes are being cut and inflation is now back to normal.

“That shows that when you stick to the plan, we can look forward to a brighter future.”

Later, Conservative MP for Basildon and Billericay John Baron asked how the reduction in inflation will “help both businesses and families with the costs they face”.

The Prime Minister responded: “Thanks to the difficult decisions we have taken, inflation today is back to normal, which is a very welcome moment.

“Of course, there’s more work to do. Of course, people are only just starting to feel the benefit, but it’s clear that the plan is working and that’s why we have also been able to deliver significant tax cuts worth £900 to the average worker in our country.

“This is all progress that would absolutely be put at risk by the party opposite.”

Earlier, Labour MP Janet Daby (Lewisham East) said the UK is “waiting for a Labour government” to tackle NHS waiting lists.

She told the Commons: “My constituent has recently applied to move from a council home because she can no longer walk up the stairs and she is in constant pain.

“She has been waiting for a knee operation for over two years, and she has become progressively worse. She feels forgotten and neglected.

“Does the Prime Minister agree with me that his Government is failing and this country is waiting for a Labour government to bring down NHS waiting lists?”

Mr Sunak replied: “(Ms Daby) talks about the difference the Labour Party has made to the NHS. Her constituents would just look to Wales to see what is happening when it comes to the NHS.

“A quarter of the Welsh population on a waiting list, the worst emergency care performance in Great Britain, people on long waiting lists five times more than they are in England, and on average people waiting 40% longer for treatment.

“That’s the reality of Labour and the NHS – failing.”

Elsewhere in the session, SNP MP Alison Thewliss (Glasgow Central) told members of a hate message she received as she called on the Government to ban misogynists from entering the UK.

She told MPs: “In the wee small hours of Saturday morning I received an email, and I apologise for my language, calling me ‘a f****** parasite’, ‘a rat’ and ‘a piece of shit’.

“This came in response to my challenging the appropriateness of a US citizen, Michael Franzese, who is doing a tour in the UK, and as part of that tour advocating publicly for the self-proclaimed misogynist influencers Andrew and Tristan Tate, who are encouraging toxic attitudes among young men in this country.

“Can I ask the Prime Minister, who has spoken about banning hate preachers from entering the UK, if he’ll extend this to misogynists?”

Mr Sunak replied: “Those who seek to divide us, undermine our values, and indeed intimidate and threaten others, have no place in our society and we will not hesitate to use not just the full force of the law, but also our immigration regime to make sure we have security and cohesion in this country.”

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