Sunak insists confidence in economy is growing

Rishi Sunak has insisted that “things are starting to feel better” and that confidence in the economy is growing after the UK economy moved out of recession, although he conceded it would “take time” for people to really feel the benefits.

The Prime Minister reiterated his view that the Government’s economic plan was working as he visited a business facility in Eynsham, Oxfordshire.

Mr Sunak was joined by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and Conservative MP for Witney Robert Courts as he was shown around the Siemens Healthineers factory, which manufactures magnets used inside MRI scanners.

Speaking to Siemens staff during a PM Connect event at the facility, Mr Sunak said: “After undoubtedly a difficult couple of years that the country has had, actually now things are starting to feel better.

“Confidence is returning to the economy and the country, and I hope that you’re starting to feel that too.”

But the Prime Minister told the BBC that it would “take time” for people to “really feel better” and that there was “more work to do”.

A consensus of economists had predicted a smaller 0.4% improvement for first quarter of this year.

Rishi Sunak visit to Oxfordshire
The Prime Minister (right) and the Chancellor (left) were shown around the Siemens Healthineers factory (Jacob King/PA) 

The Prime Minister’s visit came as the Treasury announced more than £2 billion of investment has been secured in the UK by world leading tech companies.

Siemens Healthineers announced it was investing £250 million to build a new separate facility in Oxfordshire, which will support more than 1,300 skilled jobs once fully operational.

Mr Sunak said at the PM Connect event the company was the latest to invest in the UK, and referenced Jaguar Land Rover, Microsoft and Google “expanding their footprint”.

He said: “We have managed to make the case to the world that this is the best place to start a business, to grow a business (and) to invest in a business.”

Mr Hunt said: “Businesses are making a safe bet in Britain. We have attracted the third highest amount of greenfield foreign direct investment since 2010 and the UK accounts for around half of all AI private capital investment in Europe.

Rishi Sunak visit to Oxfordshire
Mr Sunak was shown the magnet technology developed at the factory (Jacob King/PA)

During their tour, Mr Sunak and Mr Hunt were shown factory machines and given a demonstration of the magnet technology being developed at the factory.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats said there was little cause for celebration.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said: “This is no time for Conservative ministers to be doing a victory lap and telling the British people that they have never had it so good. The economy is still £300 smaller per person than when Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister.

“After 14 years of economic chaos, working people are still worse off.”

Lib Dem Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney said: “This Conservative Government crashed the economy and sent mortgages spiralling. If Rishi Sunak thinks hard-hit households will be celebrating today, he is even more out of touch than we thought.”

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