UK’s Problems Won’t ‘Go Away’ in New Year, Sunak Tells Britons

(Bloomberg) — UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak warned Britons that the problems that dogged the country will not go away in 2023.In his first New Year’s address as prime minister, Sunak struck a sombre tone, acknowledging that it had been a difficult year for the country.

“I am not going to pretend that all our problems will go away in the New Year,” Sunak said in the video message posted to Twitter on Saturday. “Just as we recovered from an unprecedented global pandemic, Russia launched a barbaric and illegal invasion across Ukraine.”

Sunak was 2022’s third prime minister after Boris Johnson and Liz Truss both resigned after losing the confidence of the ruling Tory party. The former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker has had to contend with difficulties for the nation at home and abroad in a tumultuous year. He promised to continue to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia and said he had made tough but fair decisions to get the country’s borrowing and debt under control.

Keir Starmer, the leader of the UK’s largest opposition party, also acknowledged that it had been a tough year and said the country “needs to change.”

The Labour Party, which has been out of government for more than 12 years, is well ahead in opinion polls following the chaotic year under Sunak’s conservatives. People Polling had the Conservatives 26 points behind in a survey for GB News released on Dec. 30, with some pollsters giving Starmer a lead of as much as 36 points earlier in the year. The Tories must call a general election by January 2025 at the latest.

“For Britain to become a fairer, greener, more dynamic country, we need a completely new way of doing politics,” Starmer said in his video message. “We must renew our vow to change our country for the better, 2023 is a new chapter for Britain.”

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