Mr Sunak is set to become the first British Asian Prime Minister
Rishi Sunak has warned the UK faces a “profound economic challenge” in his first speech as the UK’s Prime Minister. The Conservative leader gave his first public address after winning the Tory leadership race. Speaking in a live broadcast, Mr Sunak said he will “serve with integrity and humility” and made a tribute to his predecessor, Liz Truss. The Tory leader warned that the UK faced a “profound economic challenge” and said the country needs “stability and unity” during these uncertain times.
Mr Sunak said in his speech: “But there is no doubt we face a profound economic challenge. We now need stability and unity. And I will make it my utmost priority to bring our party and our country together. Because that is the only way we will overcome the challenges we face and build a better, more prosperous future for our children and our grandchildren. I pledge that I will serve you with integrity and humility, and I will work day in, day out, to deliver for the British people.”
Mr Sunak won the Tory leadership race after his rival, Penny Mordaunt, withdrew from the contest just moments before the deadline for nominations to be submitted. Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee which organised the contest, confirmed only one nomination had been received. Mr Sunak’s speech as Britain’s new Prime Minister was brief. However, he has previously made his stance clear on several key issues.
The new Prime Minister was the driving force behind the rise in corporation tax from 19% to 25% and the (now scrapped) rise in National Insurance. However, he said he aims to bring down taxes overall in the future when it’s practical. Mr Sunak suggested scrapping the 5% VAT on domestic energy bills for next year and cutting the lower rate of income tax currently 20% by 1% from April 2024.
The Tory leader has stressed the need to bring down government debt and was very critical over the summer of Liz Truss’s plans to pay for tax cuts via extra government borrowing. He is known as a staunch supporter of Brexit, having supported the campaign for leaving the European Union in the lead-up to the 2016 referendum.
Business leaders are urging the new Prime Minister to introduce policies to boost economic growth and help firms across the country that have been struggling with years of uncertainty due to the spill over from Brexit, the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis. Ann Swain, Global CEO of the Association of Professional Staffing Companies, commented: “While we welcome the speed of this decision, we hope that this news will spark the end of the political turmoil we’ve experienced over recent months. Just as markets like stability, so do our members.
“We’ve faced several years of uncertainty following Covid and the last six weeks have only served to present additional challenges for the UK. Now is the time for Rishi Sunak to look at what will support the country. APSCo hopes that the new PM will focus on implementing policies to boost economic growth and international expansion – making the UK a global powerhouse. While the markets were hostile to the ‘mini budget’, we were disappointed with the Off-Payroll U-turn. APSCo will seek to engage in policy-making discussions with the new PM and members of his cabinet.”