In his first speech of the new year, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak sought to bring peace of mind to Britons in times of economic and social instability. UK correspondent Leah van Beekhoven said: “The gist of his story was actually that he didn’t want to make false promises.”
In the speech – which lasted about half an hour – Sunak tried to explain to the British people why he has been at 10 Downing Street for more than 70 days, Van Beckhoven believes. “And what is his message exactly,” she says. He said he wanted to be judged on some of the promises he and his government had made. The most important thing is that the British government cuts inflation in half this year, but it also shortens waiting lists for healthcare and the flow of boat passengers from Calais stops.
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But interestingly, as Van Beekhoven points out, this is not what the British really want to hear. “He says he wants to keep these promises, but that’s not exactly what they want to hear,” she says. “But it can easily be said that it can meet predictions of, for example, halving inflation, growth of the economy and contraction of the national debt, because economists everywhere are already saying so.”
Van Beckhoven believes the goals of shortening waiting lists for care and stopping immigrants are more ambitious. But they don’t want to hear that. Instead, they want to hear how the government intends to resolve the strike wave that began in the fall.” “The strikers have plans to extend the strike until the summer.”
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Van Beckhoven also talks about a severe health care crisis. “She’s been on her knees for years, and now it’s a crisis every single day there,” she continues. Every day there are stories of care coming too late leading to deaths. According to doctors, every week about 500 people die unnecessarily because they did not receive timely help.
According to Van Beckhoven, there is a good chance that Sunak will be held accountable for the strike crisis in particular. She concludes, “The British want to know whether there is a plan, whether there is an exit strategy and how the government envisages the end of those strikes.” In particular, what actions does he want to take to get health care back on its feet? He didn’t mention all those details and pictorial points on the ‘i’, all the practical business plans. “
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