UK Chancellor Sunak Addresses Conservative Party Conference: Tax Cuts, COVID Recovery, & Job Support
11:01 GMT 04.10.2021 (Updated: 12:09 GMT 04.10.2021)
The Conservative Party Conference kicked off in the northern English city of Manchester on Sunday and is scheduled to last until 6 October. The first day of the event saw newly-appointed Foreign Secretary Luz Truss and Oliver Dowden, co-chairman of the party, deliver keynote addresses.
UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak addressed members of the Conservative Party on Monday, announcing a £500 million funding package to expand job support schemes.
Sunak started his speech by giving credit to Boris Johnson, adding that everything he has done during COVID is down to "his friend" the prime minister.
"I believe that the only sustainable route out of poverty comes from having a good job", Sunak told the Conservative Party Conference, which kicked off on 3 October.
At the same time, Sunak acknowledged that recovering from the pandemic "comes with a cost".
"I believe that every person in this country has the potential to become something greater. And I know that we and only we, the Conservative Party, are the ones who can make that happen".
He admitted that the tax rises may be unpopular and some would say un-Conservative but he then argued that unfunded pledges, soaring debt, and reckless borrowing are un-Conservative.
Addressing the conference, Sunak said that tax cuts could only come once public finances had been put on a sustainable footing.
"Yes, I want tax cuts, but in order to do that our public finances must be put back on a sustainable footing", he said.
He then compared the Conservative Party to Labour, suggesting that they don't have the message that "the British people won't trust a party that isn't serious with their money". According to Sunak, Labour's approach "is a desperately sad vision for our future".
The chancellor praised the government's will to act "and our plan to deliver" despite COVID-19 restrictions.
In his speech, the chancellor pledged more than £500 million in fresh funding to help people get back to work after the lengthy pademic period in the UK.
Sunak also announced an extension to the Kickstart scheme, which supports employers who help people aged 16-24 on Universal Credit to find emplyoment.
The programme was created shortly after the beginning of the pandemic. According to Sunak, the scheme will be extended into next year.
Sunak also added that Artificial Intelligence could be worth around £200 billion a year to the British economy.
The chancellor additionally announced a government investment in 2000 "elite AI" scholarships for disadvantaged young people to "ensure that the most exciting industries and opportunities are open to all parts of our society".