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Rishi Sunak arrives to applause to deliver his first speech on 2023
Rishi Sunak this week promised to cut NHS waiting lists, slash national debt and cut inflation
(Image credit: Stefan Rousseau - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Following 12 months of turmoil in Downing Street, Rishi Sunak kicked off 2023 by vowing to “deliver peace of mind” to UK voters by fulfilling five key pledges.

In his first major speech of the year, the prime minister said his goals were to cut inflation, boost the economy, stop boats carrying migrants from crossing the Channel, and slash debt and NHS waiting lists.

The pledges come at a critical time for the Conservative Party, which continues to trail Labour in the polls amid mounting pressure to tackle nationwide strikes, the cost-of-living, and the NHS staffing and safety crises.

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Sunak also announced plans to improve numeracy levels by extending mandatory Maths education to all pupils in England up to the age of 18.

But Keir Starmer argued that the PM’s pledges didn’t add up and criticised the Tory government’s “sticking plastic politics”. Setting out his own vision for 2023, the Labour leader promised to introduce a “take back control” bill designed to redistribute power from Westminster to communities across the UK.

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Julia O’Driscoll is the engagement editor. She covers UK and world news, as well as writing lifestyle and travel features. She regularly appears on “The Week Unwrapped” podcast, and hosted The Week's short-form documentary podcast, “The Overview”. Julia was previously the content and social media editor at sustainability consultancy Eco-Age, where she interviewed prominent voices in sustainable fashion and climate movements. She has a master's in liberal arts from Bristol University, and spent a year studying at Charles University in Prague.