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Chancellor Rishi Sunak warns of ‘hard choices’ as he vows to get ‘debt back under contr

Written by on 5th October 2020

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has warned there will be no “easy cost-free answer” as he vowed to “balance the books” following his spending splurge during the coronavirus crisis.

In his speech to the Conservative Party’s virtual conference, Mr Sunak listed the various schemes he has introduced in a bid to shore up the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also promised the “overwhelming might of the British state will be placed at your service” to those struggling financially, with ministers braced for millions to be left unemployed in the coming months.
But, in a hint at tax rises or spending cuts in the future, the chancellor also used his noticeably short address to assure Tory members he would “protect the public finances”.
Mr Sunak set out his intention to “over the medium term” get the UK’s borrowing and debt “back under control”.
“We have a sacred responsibility to future generations to leave the public finances strong,” he added.
“And through careful management of our economy, this Conservative government will always balance the books.
“If instead we argue there is no limit on what we can spend, that we can simply borrow our way out of any hole, what is the point in us?
“I have never pretended there is some easy cost-free answer. Hard choices are everywhere.
“I won’t stop trying to find ways to support people and businesses. I will always be pragmatic.”
Mr Sunak said it was “only because of ten years of sound Conservative management of our economy” that he had been able to “act with the pace and scale we have in responding to coronavirus”.
He also offered a tribute to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “invaluable” friendship.
“I’ve seen up close the burden the prime minister carries,” Mr Sunak said.
“We all know he has an ability to connect with people in a way few politicians manage. It is a special and rare quality.
“But what the commentators don’t see, the thing I see, is the concern and care he feels, every day, for the wellbeing of the people of our country.
“Yes, it’s been difficult, challenges are part of the job, but on the big calls, in the big moments, Boris Johnson has got it right and we need that leadership.
“Because we are only part way through this crisis.”