Sunak Predicted Economy Had 'Turned A Corner' A Day Before Recession Was Announced

"I absolute believe that the economy has turned a corner and we're now pointing in the right direction."
Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak
DANIEL LEAL via Getty Images

Rishi Sunak confidently announced that the UK economy had “turned a corner” on Wednesday – only for official stats to reveal we are in a recession on Thursday.

Yes, not only did the UK’s GDP (gross domestic product) shrink across the final six months of 2023 – a big blow for the prime minister in itself – but he was also filmed predicting that the economy was on the up, less than 24 hours before.

And the internet has the receipts.

A clip being repeatedly shared on X (formerly Twitter) shows Sunak speaking to the first meeting of the 2024 Business Council on February 14 – Valentine’s Day, no less.

He said: “I absolute believe that the economy has turned a corner and we’re now pointing in the right direction.”

He added: “Everyone is predicting us to grow this year. I think PwC has said that we’re going to outperform from France, Germany and Japan this year.”

During the meeting last night, he called himself “unashamedly pro-business” and said business “defined” his life before politics.

It’s worth noting that Sunak, who was the chancellor under Boris Johnson and now the richest occupant of No.10 Downing Street in history, has also tried to attack Labour over its economic incompetence in the past.

Sunak also promised last January that he would “grow the economy” by the end of the year. It was one of his five pledges for 2023.

But these latest stats show the UK entered a technical recession - two quarters of negative economic growth - at the end of last year, meaning that’s yet another pledge he failed to meet.

In fact, the only one he has successfully met was the promise to halve inflation – which is currently at 4%.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt did jump to Sunak’s defence on Thursday morning, saying, “low growth is not a surprise” after a period of high inflation and high interest rates.

He added: “There are signs the British economy is turning a corner – forecasters agree that growth will strengthen over the next few years, wages are rising faster than prices, mortgage rates are down and unemployment remains low.

“Although times are still tough for many families, we must stick to the plan – cutting taxes on work and business to build a stronger economy.”

But a Labour spokesperson hit back: “Jeremy Hunt’s comments are as insulting as they are out of touch. The Conservatives’ failure to take any responsibility for Rishi’s recession show why we need an election.”


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