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Incoming millionaire PM Sunak hints at further cuts as cost-of-living-crisis tightens its grip

RISHI SUNAK must protect people facing a cost-of-living crisis, campaigners warned as the new Prime Minister hinted at cuts today.

In his first speech as PM, Mr Sunak vowed to place “economic stability and confidence at the heart of this government’s agenda,” after the financial chaos triggered by his predecessor Liz Truss.

He promised not to leave future generations “with a debt to settle that we were too weak to pay ourselves.”

And he warned that there will be “difficult decisions to come.”

The message implies that tax rises and spending cuts are almost certainly on the way as Mr Sunak looks to fill an estimated £40 billion black hole in public finances while trying to reassure financial markets.

Following his address, Joseph Rowntree Foundation senior policy adviser Iain Porter said: “Families on low incomes desperately need stability and certainty, as they try to afford the essentials, pay their rent and keep food on the table.

“Rishi Sunak personally pledged to go ahead with the usual uprating of benefits in line with inflation, and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt promised last week that he would take action to protect the most vulnerable and to act with compassion.

“The new government must show it is as serious about protecting its citizens from harm as well as about calming the markets.”

Mr Sunak also said he stands by former PM Boris Johnson’s claim to want to strengthen the NHS.

Unison general secretary Christina McAnea called on Mr Sunak to improve workers’ pay to meet this aim.

She said: “If Rishi Sunak really wants the NHS to become stronger, it must be given the resources needed to tackle the growing workforce crisis.

“That starts with giving health employees a second pay rise to stop experienced staff from heading for the door.

“Unless the government acts soon, a strike across the NHS looks increasingly likely this winter.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said Mr Sunak will be a “weak” PM who will always have to put the interests of the Tory Party first.

He said the former chancellor “will not deliver for working people.”

Addressing the shadow cabinet, Sir Keir said: “Rishi Sunak stabbed Boris Johnson in the back when he thought he could get his job.

“And in the same way, he will now try and disown the Tory record of recent years and recent months and pretend that he is a new broom.

“But he was also the chancellor who left Britain facing the lowest growth of any developed country, the highest inflation and millions of people worried about their bills.

“And now he plans to make working people pay the price for the Tories crashing the economy.”

Mr Sunak reappointed Mr Hunt to the role of chancellor as he assigned his own government.

James Cleverly was kept on as foreign secretary and Ben Wallace as defence secretary. Dominic Raab was handed back his former roles under Mr Johnson of deputy prime minister and justice secretary.

Suella Braverman was reappointed home secretary less than a week after she was out of Ms Truss’s government over a ministerial code breach.

And the most recent home secretary Grant Shapps was given the role of business secretary.

MPs were still entering 10 Downing Street for discussions as the Morning Star went to print.

In her brief exit speech, Ms Truss said that the nation continues to “battle through a storm,” but defended her disastrous economic policies, making no apologies for her mini-budget, and said she believes “brighter days lie ahead.”

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