About Pledges, promises and elections: The year ahead in politics

In January 2023, two months after becoming the 57th prime minister of the United Kingdom, and the 3rd since the last general election, Rishi Sunak made five pledges to the British public that he said would bring “peace of mind” about where the country is heading and restabilise the nation after a tumultuous few months.

Sunak pledged to halve inflation this year; to grow the economy and create better-paid jobs across the country; to see national debt fall; to shorten NHS waiting lists; and to pass new laws to stop small migrant boats crossing the Channel.

Whilst inflation is now half the rate it was at in January (although many commentators including the IFS note that it is the responsibility of the independent Bank of England, not the government, to control inflation), the cost of living crisis is still being felt by millions, average real-terms pay for UK workers has fallen due to rising inflation, the national debt has continued to rise and currently stands at the highest figure in postwar history. The NHS celebrate it’s 75th birthday, yet waiting lists continue to increase and the health service has seen continued strikes over fair pay and working conditions. Finally, the small boats continue to arrive and the UK Supreme Court recently ruled the government’s Rwanda plan to be illegal.

At this edition of Westminster Pulse, we will be joined by Professor Tim Bale, Professor of Politics at Queen Mary University of London and Lucy Fisher, Whitehall Editor at the Financial Times to look ahead to what 2024 holds in politics. We will take stock of the past year, the current status of Sunak’s pledges – where he has succeeded, and where he has fallen short – and we will discuss where this leaves him with the next general election due to take place within the next 13 months.

IPPR's Westminster Pulse series is an invitation-only roundtable series as part of our partnership programme. For more information on these events of our partnerships, please email Holly Dickinson at h.dickinson@ippr.org.