The UK’s international reputation has taken “a bit of a knock” this year, Rishi Sunak said on Tuesday, as he vowed to restore economic stability.
In an interview with the BBC in Bali on the sidelines of the G20 Summit, Sunak said tax rises and spending cuts in Thursday’s Autumn Statement were needed to reduce rising inflation and UK public debt. But he promised the decisions would be taken in a “fair” way, and everyone would benefit from reduced debt levels.
“Obviously our international reputation took a bit of a knock as a result of some of the things that happened more recently,” he told the BBC.
“Even though the situation is difficult…we will make those decisions balancing everything we have to. People can see that yes, the approach we’ve taken is fair, and yes the approach we’ve taken is compassionate when considered in the round. Taking a step back, the number one challenge we face is inflation. It’s important that we get a grip on that. It’s important we limit the increase in mortgage rates that people are experiencing,” he said.
While admitting mistakes were made in recent months under his predecessor Liz Truss, he refused to apologise for the economic turmoil caused by the Conservative Party-led government. “What I want to do now is fix them,” he told ‘Sky News’ when repeatedly asked to apologise for the disastrous mini-budget dubbed “Trussonomics”.
He admitted there are “difficult decisions” to be made to get the economy back on track, but he is “prepared to do difficult things”. He added: “I spent the summer talking about the challenges that our country faces, talking about what I thought was required to grapple with those and fix them to build a foundation which we could provide jobs and growth and prosperity for people over time.
“So I think that people know where I stand on all of these issues. And now that I’m Prime Minister, I’m going to make sure that we deliver on that.”
He said since he took over the reins, there is now “much more stability in the UK’s financial position in terms of what the UK is paying to borrow money and what’s happened to the pound”.
Sunak is at the G20 Summit in Indonesia, where he focussed his speech on attacking Russian President Vladimir Putin for causing global economic turmoil with the conflict with Ukraine. He also met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the summit, the first meeting of the duo since he took charge at 10 Downing Street.