‘It’s been a tough year’ say First Minister in New Year’s message
The First Minister Mark Drakeford has used his New Year’s message to praise the willingness of people in Wales to help others, despite facing hardship themselves.
Referring to the war in Ukraine and the ongoing cost of living crisis, Mr Drakeford said that many would be ‘glad to see the end of’ a difficult year in which many people have found it hard to make ends meet, and drew comparisons with the way in which communities rallied during the Covid pandemic
Mr Drakeford said: “As 2022 draws to a close, many will be glad to see the end of what has been a difficult year.
“This was the year that Russia launched a cruel war in Ukraine, killing thousands and forcing millions to flee their homes.
“And in the last 12 months, the deepening cost-of-living crisis has made it more difficult to make ends meet. But even in these hard times, we have seen the willingness of people to help others.
“We have seen real strength and warmth. People have opened their homes to thousands from Ukraine seeking safety and sanctuary here in Wales.
“And we have once again seen communities rally together to support each other through this cost-of-living crisis – just as they did during the pandemic.
“A New Year is a new start and I’m sure we all have ambitions and hopes for the year ahead. Let’s hope for a peaceful 2023 and brighter and happier times ahead.”
As 2022 draws to a close, I would like to wish you all a Blwyddyn Newydd dda – all the best for 2023.
We have faced so many challenges over the last few years, but by working together we can create a brighter and fairer future for us all. pic.twitter.com/5CwQeb8A30
— Mark Drakeford (@PrifWeinidog) December 31, 2022
Best of Britain
Meanwhile in his New Year’s message, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak warned that the UK’s problems will not “go away” in 2023 after a “tough” 12 months.
After a turbulent year in UK politics, Mr Sunak promised that the “very best of Britain” will be on display in the coming months as the country continues to support Ukraine in its war against Russia.
Mr Sunak also looked ahead to the King’s coronation on May 6, as he predicted that the crowning of the monarch would bring the country together.
Describing the last year as “tough”, he said: “Just as we recovered from an unprecedented global pandemic, Russia launched a barbaric and illegal invasion across Ukraine.
“This has had a profound economic impact around the world, which the UK is not immune to.
“Now, I know many of you have felt that impact at home. That’s why this government has taken difficult but fair decisions to get borrowing and debt under control.
“And it’s because of those decisions that we’ve been able to help the most vulnerable with the rising cost of energy bills.”
Mr Sunak, who entered Number 10 in October after the short-lived Liz Truss administration, said: “Three months ago, I stood at the steps of Downing Street and promised I would work relentlessly on the things that matter most to you.
“Since then, this government has taken decisive action to back our NHS with record resources to tackle the backlogs – more funding, more doctors, and more nurses.
“We’re also tackling illegal migration and stopping criminals from abusing our asylum system.”
But the Prime Minister offered a clear message about the challenges that remain at home and abroad in 2023.
He said: “I’m not going to pretend that all our problems will go away in the new year.
“But 2023 will give us an opportunity to showcase the very best of Britain on the world stage, continuing to stand with our Ukrainian friends against Putin’s brutality, and defending freedom and democracy wherever we find it under threat.”
Turning to the coronation, he said the UK would “come together with pride in everything that makes this country great”.
He added: “Yes, 2023 will have its challenges, but the Government I lead is putting your priorities first.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer used his New Year message to warn that the UK “needs to change”, as he too looked back on a “very tough year”.
Sir Keir, who enters 2023 with his party still polling ahead of the Conservatives, reflected on the death of the Queen and the Lionesses’ Euro 22 success in his message to the country.
He said the UK must continue to support Ukraine and called the next year a “new chapter” for the country ahead of the coronation.
Sir Keir said his party will continue to make the case for a “new Britain” that would fix struggling public services and “grow the economy for everyone”.
“For hope to flourish, Britain needs to change. The way working people are struggling this winter, the way our public services are on the brink, demands nothing less.
Promising to “restore faith” in politics as a “force for good”, he said: “For Britain to become a fairer, greener, more dynamic country – we need a completely new way of doing politics.
“After everything we’ve been through together, that’s what Britain deserves.”
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