Boris Johnson promises 'big, bold decisions' amid fears of a winter crisis

2 October 2021, 22:35 | Updated: 3 October 2021, 07:53

The Prime Minister shared the statement ahead of his party's conference.
The Prime Minister shared the statement ahead of his party's conference. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

The Government is ready to take "big, bold decisions" to rebuild the country after the ravages of Covid, Boris Johnson has said.

The Prime Minister promised "decisive action" on jobs, crime and health and social care ahead of the Tory conference, which is set to take place from Sunday in Manchester.

It comes as part of Mr Johnson's "levelling up" agenda, which is expected to feature heavily in the coming week.

"We didn't go through Covid to go back to how things were before - to the status quo ante. Build back better means we want things to change and improve as we recover," he said in a statement.

"That means taking the big, bold decisions on the priorities people care about - like on social care, on supporting jobs, on climate change, tackling crime and levelling up."

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He went on to say: "This Conservative Government has a track record of delivering on the people's priorities: we got Brexit done and secured a deal with the EU - keeping our election promise.

"On Covid, we rolled out unprecedented levels of economic support, protecting livelihoods and keeping businesses afloat.

"And thanks to our NHS, scientists and so many others, our successful vaccine rollout has saved thousands of lives, prevented countless hospitalisations and has allowed the economy and society to begin returning to normality.

"All of this shows we are delivering - and now it is time to go further - not only to recover, but to build back better - with decisive action on more jobs, more police and supporting health and social care."

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His remarks come after it was announced that a former senior military commander would be drafted in to carry out a far-ranging overhaul of leadership in the health and social care sector.

The Government said General Sir Gordon Messenger, an ex-vice chief of the defence staff, would conduct the most far-reaching review the sector in England has seen in 40 years.

It was also confirmed last month that national insurance would see a 1.25 per cent rise from April 2022 to help fund social care reforms and ease the NHS backlog of patience caused by the pandemic.

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Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: "I am determined to make sure the NHS and social care deliver for the people of this country for years to come and leadership is so important to that mission.

"We are committed to providing the resources health and social care needs but that must come with change for the better.

"This review will shine a light on the outstanding leaders in health and social care to drive efficiency and innovation.

"It will help make sure individuals and families get the care and treatment they need, wherever they are in the country, as we build back better."

The Prime Minister travelled to Manchester buoyed by opinion polls showing that the Tories are still ahead of Labour despite all the difficulties of the past year.

However, there are some storm clouds hanging over the conference, with the continuing fuel crisis seeing motorists in some parts of the country still facing long queues.

The crisis, triggered by a shortage of tanker drivers, reflects wider warnings of shortages across the economy in the run up to Christmas due to a lack of skilled labour following Brexit.