Advertisement

I know it's frustrating but... the issues upsetting Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak spoke to journalists on Thursday. (PA)
Rishi Sunak spoke to journalists across the UK ahead of the Tory Party conference. (PA)

What's happening? Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said he is frustrated about many of the issues impacting the UK when pressed on them by journalists but struggled to provide any concrete solutions for them.

In the run up to the Conservative Party conference next week, the prime minister did a round of interviews with local radio stations where he was asked about his solutions to the school concrete crisis, the strikes in the NHS and rail network as well as the looming decision on the future of HS2.

Sunak responded to most of the questions saying he 'shared the frustration' people felt.

With the economy in an extremely tight position, much of the country being impacted by strikes, the Tories languishing far behind in the polls and everyone fed up with the cost of living crisis, it's no surprise the PM is feeling a little frustrated.

Here Yahoo News UK rounds up all of the reasons why Sunak is feeling exasperated.

HS2

A huge amount of work has already been done on the first leg of HS2. (PA)
A huge amount of work has already been done on the first leg of HS2. (PA)

The first question most journalists had for Sunak on Thursday was about HS2.

For weeks now there have been rumours that Sunak and chancellor Jeremy Hunt were considering scrapping the second leg of the new high-speed rail route from Birmingham to Manchester.

The suggestion has been met with fury from all sides of the political spectrum and few have missed the irony of Sunak considering this days before his party's conference is held in Manchester.

Quizzed repeatedly on the matter by a BBC Radio Manchester presenter, Sunak would not give a definitive answer on whether the Manchester leg would be cancelled.

He responded that he was making sure the government gets "value for money" and then talked about the problems with east-west connectivity in the north of England across the Pennines.

During an interview with BBC Three Counties Radio, Sunak was shown clip of a man who said he was "devastated" by the new line and his town of "Wendover won't be the same ever".

The prime minister said: “I know how frustrating it’s been for not just Alan but for lots of communities along the line and I think that’s why they should look at these things really carefully."

RAAC in schools

The RAAC crisis started just before the start of term. (PA)
The Raac crisis started just before the start of term. (PA)

The prime minister also said he shared his frustration with parents currently seeing their children's education being disrupted by the reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac) crisis in schools.

When asked about Leonard’s Catholic School in Durham where teaching has been badly disrupted, Sunak said he understood parents’ concerns.

On BBC Radio Tees, Rishi Sunak said: "I know how enormously frustrating the timing of this Raac situation was, but when the government received new information, new advice about the risk posed by Raac schools specifically, it was right that we took action.

"Of course the timing was frustrating, but the worst thing to have done would have been to sit on that and wait and put our kids at risk."

More than 170 schools around the country have been impacted by the crumbling concrete, with St Leonard's among the worst affected.

Pupils in most year groups there have had face-to-face lessons as little as one day a week since the start of term, and those able to go in for lessons have been taught in the sports hall or in corridors, without desks and with clipboards to lean on.

NHS strikes

The NHS strikes have been going on for almost a year. (PA)
The NHS strikes have been going on for almost a year. (PA)

One of the consistent problems Sunak has faced since taking office is strikes in the NHS.

The bitter industrial dispute is still going on despite the government increasing its pay offer.

On top of this one of Sunak's key promises to the British public for his first year in office was reducing the NHS waiting lists, something he admitted on Thursday had been hard to do because of the strikes.

He told BBC Radio Cornwall: "I know people are frustrated. I’m frustrated because, having put this record funding in and worked really hard on it, it is frustrating that the strikes are holding back progress.”

He said: "A million appointments have now been cancelled or rescheduled because of the industrial action. People can get a sense of how much impact that is having."

The prime minister pointed out that agreements have been reached with more than a million NHS workers, including nurses and porters, and that junior doctors have been offered more than anyone else in the public sector. "Those are the facts and people will make up their own minds," he said.

More Yahoo News 360s