Labour focus on cost of living as Tories attempt to bounce back from disastrous local elections
A “relentless focus” on the cost of living crisis will help Labour win the next general election, Sir Keir Starmer has insisted, as Rishi Sunak attempted to bounce back after the Tories’ poor showing in the local elections.
During a meeting with new council leaders on Tuesday, Sir Keir told them they should deliver emergency plans to help those struggling with sky high inflation and spiralling costs within 100 days.
Labour won control of 22 more town halls at the local elections last week and triumphed in commuter belt Tory heartlands, such as Medway and Swindon. The Conservatives lost more than 1,000 councillors.
In total, Labour picked up over 520 new seats, making it the largest party in local government.
Sir Keir said: “There is appetite for change, right across the country, and what we saw last week is people looking again at Labour as the party that can deliver it.
“Our relentless focus is on the number one issue keeping people up at night, was because we get it. We understand that times are tough and prices are biting. That people are making different choices, changing their lifestyles, and they’re despondent about the future.
“People have given us their trust. It’s now our duty to not waste a day in delivering on the Labour commitment to ease the squeeze on people’s pockets.”
Meanwhile initiatives to help tackle the NHS backlog and the small boats crisis, both expected to be key issues with voters at the next election, were announced on Tuesday by the Government.
Patients will be able to obtain prescription medicines and oral contraception directly from pharmacies under a blueprint to ease pressure on GPs, unveiled by Mr Sunak.
Treatments for common conditions including earaches and sore throats will be available without seeing a doctor.
The Prime Minister hopes the measures will help end the “all-too stressful wait” for appointments by freeing up 15 million slots at surgeries over the next two years.
“I know how frustrating it is to be stuck on hold to your GP practice when you or a family member desperately need an appointment,” he said.
It came as a giant barge designed to hold hundreds of asylum seekers off the coast of Dorset arrived in British waters on Tuesday morning.
The 222-bedroom Bibby Stockholm will stop in Falmouth, Cornwall, where it will undergo inspection and a refit.
It is expected to be ready to house migrants in “basic” accommodation this summer, the Home Office said.