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Employment issues and rising interest rates in Sunak’s in-tray

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Rising interest rates and employment issues, along with the appointment of Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister, dominated yesterday’s Go Radio Business Show with Hunter & Haughey.

His Labor counterpart Lord Haughey, owner of City Facilities Management Holdings, did not hold back when he said: ‘What has happened to people and in particular to their mortgages over the last few weeks because of ‘Trusonomics’ is unforgivable.”

Highlighting the new Prime Minister’s ‘real business experience’, entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter said: ‘I have no answer or defense for Liz Truss, but with Jeremy Hunt and Rishi Sunak the markets are seeing adults in load. Sunak understands how the world of finance works.

Sir Tom described the UK government’s decision to postpone its autumn budget statement until November 17 as ‘a good thing because it gives the Prime Minister a chance to get his feet under the desk and ‘look at the big issues in his bac”. He added: “It also allows the Independent Office for Budget Accountability (OBR) to cost plans.”

But he warned: “Taxes will go up and spending will go down. Sunak has publicly stated that he will not hit vulnerable people – let’s see if his words and actions match up.

Sir Tom, referring to the current ‘rampant inflation’, said that if one of the ways to control inflation was to raise interest rates, it would ‘really affect businesses and owners’.

Discussing UK employment, business heavyweights largely blamed Brexit for the number of job vacancies at an all-time high amid the unemployment figure at its highest level in 48 years. “It just doesn’t fit,” said Lord Haughey. “It’s Brexit. People have left the UK – that’s the only explanation.

Sir Tom, however, suggested that people not working due to health problems and many over 50s choosing to retire had led to 21.7% of the working-age population no longer being available for work. “I think our inactivity rate is higher than in most European countries,” he added.

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