Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has given his first speech as Prime Minister at a Tory Party conference. Speaking in Manchester, the PM bemoaned various financial problems the country faces, while officially announcing he is scrapping the Manchester leg of HS2.
Rishi Sunak unveiled plans to introduce an effective ban on smoking for young people as he delivered his keynote address at Tory conference in Manchester.
The Prime Minister said “great progress” had been made already on tackling smoking but in order to do the “right thing for our kids we must try and stop teenagers taking up cigarettes in the first place”.
Mr Sunak said his plan was to “raise the smoking age by one year every year”, adding: “That means a 14-year-old today will never legally be sold a cigarette.”
The announcement came after Mr Sunak confirmed he was scrapping the Birmingham to Manchester leg of HS2.
The premier said HS2 was the “ultimate example of the old consensus” and the economic case for the project had “massively been weakened”.
He said: “I say to those who backed the project in the first place, the facts have changed and the right thing to do when the facts change is to have the courage to change direction.
“And so I am ending this long running saga. I am cancelling the rest of the HS2 project and in its place we will reinvest every single penny, £36billion in hundreds of new transport projects in the north and the Midlands, across the country.”
The announcement comes after The Sun revealed that the high-speed train disaster HS2 has 167 staff in its PR department costing £8million a year.
Three of them are working on woke training in their £200,000-a-year Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team, with a vacancy for a fourth.
Critics have branded the project “over-bloated, over-budget and off the rails” as the PM again refused to rule out scaling it back.
More than a dozen spin doctors are on the payroll and another five run the firm’s social media, according to a Freedom of Information request.
The total budget last year for HS2 Ltd’s Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Directorate hit £8,086,998, dropping slightly this year to £7,889,489.