Mon, 27 May 2024

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By Lord Watson of Wyre Forest
Press releases

We will make the right long-term decisions for a brighter future

4 min read

I want to bring change to our country.

I have spent my first year as Prime Minister bringing back stability to our economy, your government, and our country.

This was hard, necessary work.

At the start of the year, I set out five priorities. I wanted the public to know what the government was focusing on, what we are trying to achieve so that they could judge our progress and hold us accountable.   

We are making good progress towards our first priority: halving inflation this year. Achieving that is the best thing we can do for our economy. It will ease the cost of living pressures on families and give more businesses the certainty they need to be confident investing.

Our economy is growing and has had the strongest post-Covid recovery of any economy in Europe.

For the NHS, we know the pressures that come with winter, with increased pressure from flu, Covid and seasonal illness. That’s why this year, the government started planning for winter earlier than ever before.

Our Urgent and Emergency Care Recovery Plan was backed by £1 billion to boost capacity in the health system by providing 5,000 additional beds, 800 new ambulances and 10,000 virtual wards.

Our Primary Care Recovery Plan will free up 15 million GP appointments and help to end the 8am rush.

But on waiting lists, we continue to be frustrated by industrial action. This has led to the cancellation of a million appointments and this number will continue rising as strikes go on. I urge those striking to be reasonable, to accept the recommendation of the independent pay review bodies and come back to work.

On small boats, we know our approach is working. Crossings have come down for the first time and remain down on last year compared to the same period in 2022. The legacy backlog has been reduced by a nearly a third since the start of December, down over 28,000.

And we have passed new legislation to ensure that those who come here illegally cannot stay. Showing that if you come here illegally, you will be detained and returned to your own country or removed to a safe third country such as Rwanda is how we will break the business model of the criminal gangs.  

But despite the progress we are making on our five priorities, I know there is more that needs to be done.

In the coming weeks, I will set out more of what I will do in government, of how I will address the big, long-term questions we face.

I started this recently, by changing our approach to tackling one of the biggest long-term challenges: climate change. For too long the debate around climate change has been polarised between those who deny it and want to abandon Net Zero altogether and those who want to go at breakneck speed with no thought to the impact this will have on hardworking families.

That is why I set out a new, pragmatic, proportionate and realistic approach to meeting Net Zero by 2050 that eases the burden on working people. We can do this and still meet all our domestic and international obligations.

I am determined to govern for the long-term, making the difficult decisions needed to prepare us for the challenges ahead – no matter the resistance I will encounter. Making the right decisions for the long term is the only way we will forge a dynamic economy with world class public services that we can all be proud of.

The choice between us and Labour is increasingly clear for all to see. Governing in the long-term interests of the country and making the tough but right decisions with the Conservatives or short-term politically motivated action under Labour, with no regard to the consequences.

In Manchester you will hear my party set out how we will tackle the challenges facing the country, by making the right long-term decisions for a brighter future. 

The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP is Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party

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