Will Rishi Sunak be Able to Fulfill his Promises?

Similar Posts

This post is also available in: Türkçe Русский

In October 2022, after Liz Truss resigned as Prime Minister in the UK, Rishi Sunak, who won the leadership race of the ruling Conservative Party, became the new Prime Minister. The economic turmoil experienced by the country played a major role in Truss’ resignation. In this respect, Sunak, who has not inherited a very good legacy from his predecessor, faces many other challenges in domestic politics besides the economy.

In this context, in the UK, which has been experiencing problems in domestic politics for a long time, on January 4, 2023, Sunak promised to solve the most serious problems of the country. Within this scope, Sunak lists five promises. The UK Prime Minister’s promises included halving inflation, growing the economy, reducing debt, reducing National Health Service waiting lists and stopping small boats carrying irregular migrants from France via the English Channel.[1]

As can be seen, among the promises of Sunak, “economy” has been defined as the most important problem. Three of the five promises are directly related to the economy. In addition, in the context of security, it is seen that the country aims to minimize irregular migration. Another problem is related to the field of health. Especially considering that 2022 was a year full of turmoil for the Conservative Party in the UK, Sunak wanted to offer some assurances to the people with his promises. Moreover, the plan can be read as a pre-emptive work of the Conservative Party before the elections expected to take place in 2024.

On the other hand, it was not surprising that Sunak first drew attention to the halving of inflation. The Russia-Ukraine War, which started on February 24, 2022, has dealt the biggest blow to the energy sector in Europe. In this context, energy bills have increased significantly in the UK. In this respect, the war has also caused serious problems in UK, one of the world’s largest economies and financial centers.

Furthermore, inflation in the UK in 2022 has reached the peak of the last 40 years. However, the Bank of England has suggested that inflation will fall in 2023.[2] Accordingly, living costs in UK will undoubtedly be one of the serious issues that Sunak will face during his Prime Ministership.

On the other hand, another promise of Sunak was to grow the economy in the country by creating new jobs. In the third quarter of 2022, the British economy experienced a 0.3% recession. The Bank of England predicts that the British economy will experience a recession for at least four quarters, which will set a record as the longest in the country’s history. For this reason, economists in the UK claim that a recession in the country can be postponed, rather than avoided.[3] Therefore, this issue emerges as a point that Sunak will need to focus on before the elections to be held in the UK in 2024.

On the other hand, another promise of the UK Prime Minister was aimed at reducing the country’s debt. However, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), the agency responsible for independent oversight of the budget in the UK, predicts that London’s “unsustainable” debt could reach 320% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) within 50 years if the necessary measures are not taken. According to the OBR, the country’s ageing population’s pressure on spending and the loss of current car taxes in a decarbonizing economy leave public debt at an unsustainable point in the long term.[4] In this context, both the economic difficulties experienced during the Covid-19 outbreak in the UK and the increase in energy expenditures with the war in Ukraine create problems for long-term plans.

The fourth promise is related to recent problems in health care. In this context, the number of people waiting to start routine hospital treatment in the UK has risen to the highest level since 2007. Official data indicates that 6.2 million people in the UK are waiting to start treatment.[5] Therefore, these data reveal why the issue of health is one of the promises of Sunak. The UK Prime Minister is trying to reassure the public by putting the problem on the priority list.

Sunak’s last promise is to prevent irregular migrants from entering the country.  A large number of irregular migrants have tried to enter the UK through the English Channel in 2022.  So much so that, for this reason, London’s relations with Tirana were strained. Most of those who entered the country were of Albanian origin. That is why on December 13, 2022, Sunak announced his five-point plan to deport Albanian migrants trying to come to the UK through the English Channel by the end of 2023.[6] In this respect, the focus of UK’s migration policy is on Albanians. Moreover, migrants who want to reach the UK use the Channel route between France and UK. Therefore, the London administration wants to cooperate with Paris on the prevention of irregular migration.

In conclusion, there are serious challenges for Sunak. It is seen that the primary problems are caused by the economy. The extent to which Sunak will fulfill these promises could be decisive in the elections expected to be held in 2024.

[1] Andy Bruce-Elizabeth Piper, “Five Promises: PM Sunak Vows to Tackle Britain’s Most Serious Problems”, Reuters,, (Date of Accession: 20.01.2023).

[2] Marc Shoffman, “Inflation Forecast: Will it Rise or Fall in 2023?”, The Week,, (Date of Accession: 20.01.2023).

[3] “UK Economy Ekes Out Growth in November Surprise-But Recession Still Seen As Inevitable”, CNBC,, (Date of Accession: 20.01.2023).

[4] Phillip Inman, “UK’s ‘Unsustainable’ Debt Could Reach 320% of GDP in 50 years, OBR Warns”, The Guardian,, (Date of Accession: 20.01.2023).

[5] “Number of People on NHS Waiting Lists in England at Record High”, The Guardian,, (Date of Accession: 20.01.2023).

[6] Cemal Ege Özkan, “Rishi Sunak’ın Arnavut Göçmenleri Engelleme Planı”, ANKASAM,, (Date of Accession: 20.01.2023).

Cemal Ege ÖZKAN
Cemal Ege ÖZKAN
Cemal Ege Özkan, 2019 yılında Ankara Üniversitesi Dil ve Tarih-Coğrafya Fakültesi Tarih Bölümü’nden mezun olmuştur. Yüksek lisans derecesini, 2022 senesinde aynı üniversitenin Türk İnkılap Tarihi Enstitüsü Atatürk İlkeleri ve İnkılap Tarihi Anabilim Dalı’nda hazırladığı “Türk Siyasi Hayatında Selim Rauf Sarper ve Faaliyetleri” başlıklı teziyle almıştır. Hâlihazırda aynı enstitüde doktora eğitimine devam etmektedir. 2020-2021 yılları arasında Türk Tarih Kurumu Yüksek Lisans Bursiyeri olan Özkan, iyi derecede İngilizce bilmektedir.