Rishi’s speech took place on the 4th October 2021 and he spoke about the aftermath of Covid-19 and was expected to introduce new policies to help the UK government pay back the large sums of money that they injected into the economy.
However this was not the case, the majority of the public believed that the majority of the things he spoke on was just what the public wanted to hear. The Guardian described it as offering ‘mood music but little economic meat’.
So what ‘economic meat’ did he speak about?
Sunak reassured the British public that supply problems are a global problem and there are ‘no magic wands’ to fix the supply of fuel and food and how the supply of it is distributed.
He hints that this is because of a large surge in pent demand(the build up of demand) from lockdown due to a rapid re-opening of the economy which has caused excess demand.
The response that the government has taken currently of deploying 200 military personnel to help deliver the fuel has gotten a lot of backlash as it has been estimated that the UK will need 100,000 lorry drivers to reduce supply pressures.
This shortage in HGV drivers has come because one in seven HGV drivers have left the UK since 2016, when the UK decided to leave the EU.
ONS data also suggests the lorry workforce are ageing and many leaving their jobs. In 2016, the UK had a population of 321,000 lorry and HGV drivers, 2020 saw a decline to 275,000- a decrease by around 46,000.
Sunak suggests the short term solution to this is “pragmatic controlled immigration”. And hinted at responses such as faster HGV testing and short term visas.
The PM hit back at the public who expressed their regret in voting to leave the EU : believing that Brexit has a long term gain and these are just short term problems that will be resolved.
What else did the chancellor promise in his speech?
The chancellor will put £500m extra on job support programmes after the end of the furlough scheme and the JETS scheme( programme giving people out of work Universal credit for at least 13 weeks) will be extended until September 2022. With the scheme paying £3000 to the employer per apprentice they take on will be prolonged until January. The government also promised to help those out of work to find work following the end of furlough.
However, universal credit will fall by £20 a week, with 6 million people being impacted, many of which are already facing unemployment due to Covid-19. This will lead to inequality increasing and energy prices are set to rise, making this winter to see higher levels of poverty and greater disparity of wealth in society. Further data suggests a third of Universal Credit users will end up in debt.
What's going to happen with our taxes?
The Chancellor has spoken out about rising taxes and said that taxes would have to be increased as a ‘upholder of fiscal policy’ as much as he wishes that he didn't have to increase them as he knows the difficulties it puts some people in. However, the current rate of debt in the UK is nearly 100% of the GDP which emphasises how much money was needed to be injected into the economy during Covid to keep it running.
It is necessary to increase national insurance so that the NHS and social care are properly funded.
The chancellor has made this speech to his party but his main speech is yet to come and is expected to take place on the 27th October, where he will be addressing the British public and hopefully answering many of our questions.
Written by Rohan Dhir
Research compiled by Ibrahim Ahmed