Rishi Sunak To Give Big Vision Speech, Union Leader Wants "Resolution" To Strikes, Labour MP Describes Hospital Work As "Heartbreaking"
Rishi Sunak, pictured in December 2022 (Alamy)
Rishi Sunak will insist that all pupils to study maths in some form until the age of 18 in a major new year speech setting out his priorities as Prime Minister, against a backdrop of strikes, crisis in the NHS and a soaring cost of living.
Sunak is expected to say: "Right now, just half of all 16-19-year-olds study any maths at all.
“Yet in a world where data is everywhere and statistics underpin every job, our children’s jobs will require more analytical skills than ever before. And letting our children out into the world without those skills, is letting our children down.”
Labour responded that the government appeared to “have nothing to offer the country except… double maths”.
The Labour source added: “As the health service falls to pieces after 12 years of Tory rule, criminals terrorise the streets, and working people worry how their wages will last the month, the country is entitled to ask: is this it?”
Later this week, Keir Starmer will also set out his vision during a speech due to be held in London in which he will pledge a Labour government will "create change, and fuel hope".
Union leader tells Sunak government should be “open and constructive” over public sector pay
Paul Nowak, the new leader of the Trades Union Congress, has told the Prime Minister that unions want to find a “resolution” to the current strike disputes, but government must take a “mature approach” which does not shy away from pay discussions.
Mr Nowak, who took up the general secretary position at the end of last month, told Sunak that public services are suffering after years of “underfunding and understaffing”, according to reports.
“We cannot fix the staffing crisis in our schools, hospitals and elsewhere if we do not fix the underlying causes,” he wrote.
“That means talking in an open and constructive way about improving public sector pay. But so far your ministers have refused to negotiate directly about pay with unions.”
Referring to ministers working with unions during the pandemic on the furlough scheme, he added: “That’s the kind of mature approach we need now.
“Unions have already made clear their willingness to sit down with the government and talk about boosting pay. But while your ministers continue to refuse point blank to discuss improving wages, there can be no resolution.”
His comments come as the RMT union continue their first of two two-day walkouts on the railways this week.
Labour MP and A&E doctor says hospital work is “heartbreaking”
Labour shadow health minister and NHS doctor Rosena Allin-Khan has said staff feel like they have “one arm tied behind our backs” as she described working in A&E through the current winter crisis.
The government is coming under increasing pressure to act amid reports of long waits for beds and patients being held in the back of ambulances.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast this morning, Dr Allin Khan said: ”It is really really heartbreaking for staff like myself to go to work and feel as though we have one arm tied behind our backs.
"We’re having to perform intimate examinations for example on people who are coming in worried they might have bowel cancer in cupboards, patients are sleeping on floors [...] and we have a government that are asleep at the wheel and trying to blame Covid and the flu.”
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