Rishi Sunak: Modelling A Jumper For A Knitting Pattern in His Constituency (Not Really!).
It's not that long ago, that seemingly, Rishi Sunak, appeared out of nowhere. Replacing Sajid Javid. Mr Javid quit the Chancellors job after disagreements with Boris. Mr Javid along with ex-PM Theresa May now sits on the backbenches. Mr Sunak's previous job had been Chief Secretary to the Treasury whose place has now been filled by Steve Barclay.
To be fair, Mr Sunak has been a popular finance minister, as he awarded workers, the self-employed and businesses financial help. Also, putting up the rate of Universal Credit because of the unemployment being created by COVID, as people have lost their jobs.
However, Sunak has been losing his popularity as the furlough scheme was drawing to an end. The Conservative government has been paying up to 80% of people wages, but, Sunak was going to start a scheme less generous. This immediately, made the Chancellor very unpopular. Labour was putting pressure on Sunak to continue with the 80% wages furlough scheme. In the end, Sunak gave in and now the furlough scheme will now continue, until March 2021.
Mr Sunak appeared on 'The Sophy Ridge Show' speaking about a review of the UK's finances. Mr Sunak said there would be no return to "austerity" as the UK goes into debt, to fund the fight against COVID.
Mr Sunak told Ms Ridge that any wage settlements would need to be "in the context of the wider economic climate". Labour has warned that any cap on public sector pay would be "a kick in the teeth".
The unions meanwhile have said any cap or freezing of pay in the public sector would be "morally obscene". The public sector includes NHS workers who this year have given their all (including their lives) in the fight against COVID.
Sunak stated to Ms Ridge, that the government would spend extra money on the NHS. Sunak also stated that more money would be available to put in the fight against COVID. Boris and Sunak have spoken openly about cutting the foreign aid budget to offset the money spent on fighting COVID.
Mr Sunak, however, could be facing a Tory rebellion as they think the foreign aid should not be cut. They think that the UK should continue spending money on the poorest people in the world. The UK has always spent much of its GDP on foreign aid which runs into the billions. While many of the public support this, there are those that think the money should be cut and re-directed into the UK. The UK has suffered 10 years or more of Tory austerity, thanks in part, to one of Sunak's predecessors, George Osborne. The poorest in our society were and continue to be the ones affected by this. Those are the people who think that foreign aid should be re-directed into welfare, job creation, the NHS, etc.
The TUC (Trades Union Congress) boss, Frances O'Grady has said the government cannot and should not, return to austerity. So Sunak needs to be true to his word and not take the UK down the road of austerity. That is the way of destruction, not only to ordinary people but to the nation too.
Mr Sunak will be held to account by his opposite number on the Labour front benches, Annaliese Dodds. Mr Sunak has a big job on his hands as he alongside Boris, attempts to steer the nation through the winter and into the new year.