“I know this year has been tough, and there is still work to be done to help hardworking families across the country, but I’m proud of the steps we’ve made,” said Rishi Sunak as he marked the one-year mark of his historic milestone as Britain’s first Prime Minister of Indian heritage this week.
“I know that the rising cost of living is something families across the country are struggling with. It’s why we’re working so hard to halve inflation, reduce debt and grow the economy,” he said.
Pledging not to slow down, he faced off with Opposition Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer in the House of Commons as his Downing Street pitched October 25 as just another working day, without any anniversary celebrations planned.
Sunak added: “We've achieved a lot in the year since I became PM. But be in no doubt, there's so much more to do.
“We’ve also been focused on strengthening global partnerships. We’ve delivered agreements with world leaders including the Atlantic Declaration with the US, The Global Combat Air Programme and the next stage in AUKUS. Because it’s these sorts of agreements that deliver security for the British people and create opportunities for hardworking families at home.”
Conservative Party chairman Greg Hands praised the party leader on his one-year anniversary.
He said: “When Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister a year ago today, he took immediate action to support families with the cost of living, paying half their energy bills. Since then we have made good progress towards halving inflation, growing the economy, reducing debt, cutting NHS waiting lists, and stopping the boats.
"But for the last 30 years, the Prime Minister recognises that there has been too much short-term political decision making, politicians taking the easy way out, ducking the hard choices, rather than fixing the underlying problems. The Prime Minister as proven he is the only person who is determined to change that.”
Besides external challenges posed by the Israel-Hamas crisis and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Sunak faces a heavy domestic in-tray of inflation and cost of living pressures as the UK prepares for a general election next year.
In September 2022, he lost a Conservative leadership contest to Liz Truss, who took over as prime minister from the scandal-hit Boris Johnson. Then, Truss announced a mini budget that included billions in uncosted tax cuts and spooked the financial markets, leading to a historically short-lived premiership. The Tories turned to Sunak, who was named Britain's third Prime Minister of the year and the first of Indian heritage on Diwali day in October 2022.
And, as Diwali 2023 near on November 2023, there are hopes of a potential UK-India free trade agreement (FTA) getting the final sign off by Sunak and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as both countries head into a general election year in 2024.
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