Johnson: Golden future to follow ‘tough’ spell for resilient Britain

·3-min read
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Oli Scarff/PA) (PA Wire)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Oli Scarff/PA) (PA Wire)

Boris Johnson has struck an optimistic tone as Britain braces for a winter of spiralling costs, predicting a “remarkable” bounceback and a “golden” future for the country.

The outgoing Prime Minister acknowledged the next few months will be difficult – “perhaps very tough” – as “eye-watering” energy bills take their toll, but he forecast that the UK will emerge “stronger and more prosperous (on) the other side”.

In an article for Mail+, Mr Johnson said the world was beginning to remedy supply chain pressures sparked by the aftershocks of Covid by the end of last year, but “what no-one had bargained for” was Russian President Vladimir Putin deciding to invade Ukraine.

He said this “vicious and irrational” move “spooked the energy markets” and ended up costing consumers at home.

Mr Johnson said “we must and we will help people through the crisis”, with “colossal sums of taxpayers’ money” already committed to the cause.

He added that whoever succeeds him in the top job, the Government will announce “another huge package of financial support”.

(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)

It comes after the Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi suggested people earning around £45,000 per year could be among those struggling to cope with soaring living costs as the energy price cap is hiked again.

Regulator Ofgem warned the Government on Friday it must act urgently to “match the scale of the crisis we have before us” as Britain faced the news the average household’s yearly bill will rise from £1,971 to £3,549.

Making reference to a bleak economic briefing he said he received as Covid swept the world in 2020, Mr Johnson argued the UK has already “proved the pessimists wrong”.

“They told me UK unemployment would top 14%,” he reflected.

“They said that millions would be thrown on to the economic scrapheap – with all the consequent costs to the Exchequer.

(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)

“They were wrong. After becoming the first country in the world to approve an effective vaccine, we staged the fastest vaccine rollout in Europe, the fastest exit from Covid.

“As a result we had the fastest growth in the G7 last year and instead of mass unemployment we have about 640,000 more people in payrolled employment than before the pandemic began.”

Mr Johnson said the UK has the “fundamental economic strength” to endure the cost-of-living crisis, even if the Russian leader “wants us to buckle”.

“In this brutal arm-wrestle, the Ukrainian people can and will win. And so will Britain,” he said.

He added: “We have laid the foundations for long-term gains in prosperity and productivity.

“We know we will bounce back from the crisis in the cost of energy as we rapidly build up our own UK supplies.

“That is why we will succeed and why we cannot flinch now.”

Mr Johnson stressed it is time for the West to “double down” on its support for Ukraine, and not “go wobbly”.

He took aim at the “union barons” calling for “endless fools’ gold” as living costs soar, arguing they should be ignored.

“We have more than enough resilience to get through tough months ahead. We have shown that before,” the Prime Minister said.

“And we have made the long term decisions – including on domestic energy supply – to ensure that our bounceback can and should be remarkable and that our future will be golden.”