“Never say never” seemed to be the recurring theme of PM Rishi Sunak’s campaign this year, as he gallantly continued to patch up the gaping holes in the government that he inherited last October. Despite his efforts, however, a span of more than a year is simply too short a time to accomplish some enormous tasks, such as the NHS waitlists.
Still, Sunak made considerable progress in some aspects of the UK’s economy this year. But are his efforts enough to persuade the nation that a change in power is not yet needed? Will Sunak survive a Labour attack if elections are held in 2024? Here, we’ll try to give a bit of insight into what could go wrong for Sunak in the upcoming elections.
What could go wrong for Labour?
Matthew Holehouse of the Financial Times recently wrote a piece as to how the ultimate showdown between the Labour and Conservative parties might play out in the next few months. And at one point, Holehouse quoted Labour’s Keir Starmer as saying that the election would be ‘dominated’ by the economy.
Early in January, Sunak unveiled his five pledges for the year, three of which had to do with the economy, backlogs in the NHS, and small boat crossings in the English channel.
Out of the three relating to the economy, Sunak only made a significant dent on ‘halving inflation’ (from 10.7% to 4.6%); the rest is still up in the air.
If progress is still stale in the next few months, this could be a gateway for the Labour Party to attack him, considering these pledges were labeled ‘soft’ and ‘not ambitious’ in the first place. As for the NHS backlogs, the administration said that the overall waiting list would be reduced by March 2024.
The legislation to ‘stop the boats’, on the other hand, is still waiting to have its third hearing early next year.
The opposing party might also bring up the fact that a lot of local councils are having financial difficulties and are blaming the government for not funding them adequately.
Aside from pinpointing their shortcomings, the Labour Party could also champion their plans on how to kick-start economic growth through a ‘programme of subsidies and home-building deregulation’.
Throughout Sunak’s first year in office, Keir’s party consistently held a double-digit poll lead. And should this carry over into the upcoming year, Sunak and the Conservative Party as a whole might find it difficult to maintain their position of power.
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