London (Parliament Politic Magazine) – Rishi Sunak’s five pledges are becoming increasingly challenging to fulfill following a week filled with numerous setbacks. Shortly after assuming office, Rishi Sunak extended an invitation to the British public to evaluate him based on five crucial commitments: reducing inflation by half this year, reducing NHS waiting lists, decreasing national debt, fostering economic growth, and addressing immigration concerns.
Since delivering this speech in early January, the Prime Minister has consistently emphasized that the Government is fully dedicated to achieving these objectives. However, recent events have posed significant obstacles to their realization.
However, there has been minimal progress, and recent events have further exacerbated the challenges faced by the Prime Minister. For instance, recent figures indicate that Britain’s economy is experiencing sluggish growth, and the overall NHS waiting list has reached an unprecedented record high.
Stop the Boats
The Prime Minister made a firm commitment to “put an end to the influx of unauthorized boats” and to enact “new legislation” that would guarantee that “anyone who enters this country illegally will be promptly detained and deported.”
After months of heated debate, Mr. Sunak’s Government successfully passed the Illegal Migration Act before Parliament adjourned for the summer break. However, the implementation date for this legislation is still being determined by officials.
The Act imposes a legal obligation on the Government to detain and expel individuals who enter the UK unlawfully, either to Rwanda or another designated “safe” third country. However, it is important to note that there are currently no comparable agreements in place with any other nations, and the Court of Appeal has deemed the plan involving Rwanda to be unlawful.
Ministers are contesting the judgement, and the Supreme Court hearing is anticipated to take place this autumn. Moreover, earlier this summer, Mr. Sunak adamantly asserted that his plan was “beginning to yield results.”
He emphasized that the number of individuals embarking on the journey had decreased in comparison to the previous year. He downplayed the notion that this decline was attributable to unfavorable weather conditions rather than policy choices.
Grow the Economy
In the second quarter of the year, the UK economy showcased an unexpected performance, with a growth of 0.2%. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the gross domestic product (GDP) witnessed a 0.5% increase in June. This rise can be partially attributed to the robustness of the manufacturing sector.
However, migrant crossings have not only set a new record for the month of June, but the influx of fresh arrivals on Thursday has pushed the overall number of individuals crossing the English Channel on small boats since 2018 to a staggering 100,000.
The latest data indicates that the UK is now on a more favorable trajectory to steer clear of recession. However, according to forecasts from the Bank of England, growth is expected to remain sluggish in the years ahead.
Treasury Minister John Glen expressed on Thursday morning that it is a challenging task to attain elevated levels of growth while grappling with inflationary pressures. When questioned about his confidence in the Prime Minister’s commitment to bolster the economy by year-end, Glen responded: “We achieved the highest growth among G7 nations last year, and projections indicate that we will regain that level by 2025.”
Cut NHS Waiting Lists
Since Mr. Sunak pledged at the beginning of the year that “waiting lists will decrease and individuals will receive the necessary care more promptly,” the numbers have reached unprecedented levels. When he made this promise in January, there were 7.2 million individuals awaiting routine hospital treatment.
However, recent data published by NHS England on Thursday has revealed that by the end of June, the number of people waiting to commence treatment had risen to 7.6 million, compared to 7.5 million in May.
The latest data reveals that the current figure is the highest ever recorded since data collection commenced in 2007. At the conclusion of June, a staggering 383,083 individuals had been enduring a wait of over 52 weeks to commence routine hospital treatment. This number, although slightly lower than the 385,022 reported at the end of May, remains alarmingly high.
In addition, it is estimated that approximately 7,177 patients have been waiting for more than 18 months. This figure marks a significant decrease from the 11,446 patients reported at the end of May.