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Britain’s Sunak issues rallying cry for a party that is already planning life without him


Speaking at the virtual Conservative Party conference, British Chancellor Rishi Sunak said it would take time for the country to recover from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

He issued a rallying cry to re-energise Conservative supporters despite the gloomy economic outlook.

He said the government had made difficult decisions “for now” but that Britain had chosen “hope over pessimism”.

He made clear the government was in a battle against the virus and the associated effect on the economy, including rising debt and unemployment.

But according to Sunak, the UK had the “resources, the will and the ambition to be a great success story”.

He also pointed to successes in the government’s strategy, including the furlough scheme, the Bounce Back Loan Scheme and VAT cuts.

He promised to “protect jobs and livelihoods” and promised to make sure businesses could have access to support when it was needed.

Sunak’s upbeat speech comes at a time when the cost of the coronavirus crisis is becoming increasingly apparent as the government is expected to borrow nearly £400bn this year.

Despite the chancellor’s optimism, his party has already started to prepare for life after Sunak’s budget on 3 March 2021, with the next budget likely to be based on a medium-term economic strategy involving tax rises, public spending cuts and welfare reforms.

Sunak finished his speech by urging Conservative supporters to seize the moment and make sure the UK could thrive and prosper. His words may provide a rallying cry to his party, but the fiscal reality is that a difficult period of austerity and difficult choices may lie ahead.

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