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Sunak says ‘fiscal discipline’ will remain despite meeting inflation goal

15 Nov 2023 4 minute read
Lucy North/PA Wire

Rishi Sunak has indicated that further “hard decisions” on the economy and public finances would be needed despite claiming success in meeting his pledge to halve inflation.

Consumer Prices Index inflation was 4.6% in October, down from 6.7% in September, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The Prime Minister made halving inflation his top priority for 2023 in a major speech in January, when the rate was 10.7%.

The decline in the rate at which prices are increasing will add to Tory pressure on Mr Sunak and Jeremy Hunt to cut taxes, something the Chancellor has resisted because of concerns it could push inflation back up.

In a sign that Mr Hunt’s autumn statement next week will not result in a dramatic change of course, Mr Sunak stressed the need to continue to bear down on inflation to get it to the Bank of England’s 2% target.

The Chancellor said he will deliver an “autumn statement for growth” but acknowledged “there’s lots more work to do”.


The Prime Minister said: “Inflation works like a tax. It eats into the pound in your pocket, affecting the price of your food shop, your mortgage, the size of your pension pot.

“This is why halving inflation has been my number one priority.

“Getting it down has involved hard decisions and fiscal discipline.”

He added: “While it is welcome news that prices are no longer rising as quickly, we know many people are continuing to struggle, which is why we must stay the course to continue to get inflation all the way back down to 2%.”

Mr Hunt said the fall in the rate of inflation was “thanks to deliberate action we’ve taken – being disciplined on spending, helping people into work and resisting calls for additional borrowing”.

He said “winning the battle against inflation” will allow him to move on to “the next part of our economic plan, which is the long-term growth of the British economy”.

“There’s lots more work to do. We still have to bring inflation down to its target level of 2%,” he said.

“But now we are beginning to win the battle against inflation, we can move to the next part of our economic plan, which is the long-term growth of the British economy.

“That’s why next week will be an autumn statement for growth.”


A main driver of the drop in the inflation rate is due to shifts in energy prices rather that Government restraint with the public finances.

Tory former cabinet minister Sir John Redwood said tax cuts were needed to boost the Conservatives’ chances at the next general election.

“The autumn statement needs to cut taxes, promote growth and get value for public spending to turn things round,” he said.

Former home secretary Dame Priti Patel said: “Halving inflation is a positive step forward for our economy.

“So, now is the time to be Conservative and give the British people what they deserve: a tax break!”

Labour said Mr Sunak meeting his pledge of getting inflation down below around 5.3% was an example of the Prime Minister marking his own homework and the real test was the Bank’s 2% target.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said: “The fall in inflation will come as some relief for families struggling with the cost of living.

“But now is not the time for Conservative ministers to be popping champagne corks and patting themselves on the back.

“After 13 years of economic failure under the Conservatives, working people are worse off with higher mortgage bills, prices still rising in the shops and inflation twice as high as the Bank of England’s target.”

Cold comfort

Liberal Democrat Treasury spokeswoman Sarah Olney said: “Rishi Sunak congratulating himself over today’s figures will be cold comfort for all the hard-working people still bearing the brunt of this Conservative chaos.”

The slowdown in inflation came after energy prices soared last year.

Energy bills were capped at £2,500 last year for the typical household, but this year, industry regulator Ofgem has capped bills at £1,834 for the typical household as prices have fallen.

Slowing inflation was also driven by house prices, which saw the lowest CPI rate since records began in 1950.

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Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
8 months ago

The near billionaire will continue to make ‘hard decisions’ which won’t be hard for HIM but will continue to make life hard for US. His little inflation figure will creep down for HIM but prices will remain high for US. Everything he does is for HIM whilst he refuses to govern for US. The question went ‘Does it matter that someone in possession of such unimaginable wealth should be running the country?’. For once, he gives a straight answer to a question.

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
8 months ago

WHAT “fiscal discipline” will remain. They have bankrupted the entire UK and caused the worst cost of living crisis in living memory.
Does it mean something different in the Eton dictionary?
Honestly, wittering on about austerity whilst bloviating about growth. Does a plant grow more quickly when you deny it sunlight and water? Do children grow quickly wen you deny them food?

Last edited 8 months ago by Sarah Good
Neil Anderson
Neil Anderson
8 months ago

Hunt, Sunak and the Bank of England are economically illiterate. Though they will try and claim otherwise, it is not their increases in the interest rate that has reduced inflation. Inflation is a cyclical phenomenon which they have magnified. All their interest rises have accomplished is pain for mortgage-holders and small businesses as liquidity has dried up and purchasers have disappeared. It is increasingly likely that a recession will follow this prolonged period of high interest rates. It beggars belief that Treasury is also intending to reduce the national debt at the same time. Wholly unnecessary (find me a textbook… Read more »

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