Rishi Sunak denies Brexit to blame for UK economic woes

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<p><figcaption class=Rishi Sunak denies Brexit to blame for UK economic woes (Picture: PA)

RISHI Sunak denied that Brexit is responsible for the current economic difficulties of the United Kingdom.

Speaking at a press conference at the G20 summit in Bali, the Prime Minister said the “legacy of Covid” and the war in Ukraine were to blame for the recession.

His comments came as the Office for National Statistics said inflation was now 11.1%, down from 10.1% last month.

This is the fastest price increase since October 1981 and it was higher than expected.

The ONS said it was fueled in part by rising gas and electricity costs – despite government support to limit rising bills – and a 16.4% spike in food costs.

Mr Sunak described him as “the enemy we have to face”.

He added: “My top priority is to make sure we deal with the economic situation we are facing at home.

“With more new of inflation today, that’s the number one thing people are concerned about.

“It’s the thing that causes the most anxiety, opening invoices, seeing emails come in with prices going up. And that’s why it’s only right that we get on it.

“And tomorrow the Chancellor will present a plan that will allow us to do that.”

Earlier this month, Mark Carney, the former governor of the Bank of England, said leaving the EU was a key factor in the problems facing the UK as it had “slowed down the rate at which the economy can grow”.

Asked about the relationship between Brexit and the skyrocketing rate of inflation, Mr Sunak said: “Whatever you think of the economic situation in the UK…two-thirds of the world’s population economy members of the G20 are experiencing inflation rates above 7%,” he said.

“The IMF thinks a third of the global economy needs or will be in recession. This is the global context. That’s what’s dominated the conversations I’ve had here and we know why, that’s the legacy of Covid and that’s, of course, what Putin is driving up energy prices and even food prices.

He said each country would have “idiosyncratic things, but these are the overwhelming dominant factors that drive the economic challenge we face right now.”

READ MORE: Brexit: Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s astonishing position is more than disturbing

The Prime Minister also said he was “filled with optimism” about the UK’s future trade relationship with the US, although he did not discuss any bilateral deal when meeting Joe Biden.

Mr Sunak said signing a formal agreement could take years.

“On trade, we actually had a really good conversation with President Biden on a series of things. We did not discuss any particular trade deal, but we discussed our economic partnership,” he said.

“We both recognized the fact that in fact the United States is our largest trading partner and that there is a range of economic cooperation that is happening and can continue to happen in the future.

“We talked about energy, for example, and how we can work together to improve energy security at a time when we all want more at home.”

During the press conference, Mr Sunak also accused Vladimir Putin of showing “complete contempt” for the international order.

The comment came as leaders gathered to discuss how a missile hit a Polish village near the Ukrainian border, killing two people.

The prime minister said there were already teams on the ground trying to figure out what happened.

According to reports, it could be a Ukrainian air defense missile fired at an incoming Russian rocket.

Yesterday Moscow sent more than 80 missiles into Ukraine, knocking out power to millions.

“This was happening at a time when the G20 was meeting to try to find a solution to some of the global challenges and at the same time Putin was indiscriminately raining down this volume of missile attacks,” Mr Sunak said.

“I think it shows complete disregard for the rules-based international system.”

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