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The Equality Trust responds to Rishi Sunak’s first speech as Prime Minister

Responding to Rishi Sunak’s first speech as Prime Minister, Co-Executive Director of The Equality Trust, Jo Wittams said, 

“Whilst the country may be grateful to have been spared yet more political drama and infighting, following the swift coronation of our third Prime Minister this year, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is inheriting a government in disarray with no clear plan to address the cost of inequality crisis that he recognises has been exacerbated by the reckless actions of his predecessor.

As the majority of the country continues to struggle with the soaring cost of putting food on the table, roofs over our heads and heating our homes – with many incredibly anxious about how they will survive during these turbulent economic times – cuts to social security and public services should be out of the question. The UK is the fifth richest country in the world, yet 27% of children are growing up below the poverty line; the median FTSE CEO salary has increased by 39%, yet the rest of us see real term wage cuts. 

It is clear that we cannot afford ‘Austerity 2.0’ – which will increase structural inequalities of wealth, income and power, with those at the sharp end of intersecting inequalities suffering the most. 

If Prime Minister Sunak is serious about protecting people, bringing compassion into policymaking and uniting the country, he needs to urgently commit to uprating benefits in line with inflation, a progressive tax and social security system – including a wealth tax, commencement of the Socio-Economic Duty in England and to rethink the ownership structure of utility companies. These measures would improve the quality of life for everyone in the UK through inequality reduction – as we know that more equal countries see better physical and mental health, better educational outcomes, and lower levels of violence.

As the multi-millionaire Prime Minister Sunak prepares to form his new Government, the UK desperately needs a long-term strategy to tackle high and entrenched inequalities in order to bring the stability and unity that we all want to see.”