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Exclusive First News interview with the UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak!

Exclusive First News interview with the UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak!

Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister on 25 October 2022 and has held the top job ever since. But could this year’s general election change things? In 2023, Mr Sunak sat down with Braydon and Maya, presenters on our Sky Kids partner TV show FYI to answer questions from First News FYI News club members. 

Here is what Rishi had to say.

Cost Of Living 💰

Rishi Sunak: “At the beginning of the year, I set out five priorities. The energy companies are making a lot of money because of the war that’s happening in Ukraine. We didn’t think that was right. So, we’re taxing those energy companies more. We’re using that money to help pay everyone.”

“[Due to that tax] Families, get to pay around half of their energy bill. That’s worth about £1,500 discount on their energy bill. So, that’s what we’re doing to help with energy costs. And, for the most vulnerable families, those who really need extra help, we’re putting lots of extra money in. I’m confident, over the course of this year, we’re going to ease these pressures and it’s going to feel a lot better for everyone.”

On that note, First News published a special report on How to Explain the Cost of Living Crisis to Kids, written in collaboration with Starling Bank.

Vaping 💨

Braydon: “So, recently, I investigated the increase in the number of children that have tried to take up vaping. In my documentary, we found out a number of things and it was really interesting to find out how big an issue it was for young people. If we do want to stop this issue, we have to ban any vaping product with bright colours”

Rishi Sunak: “First of all, well done on your documentary because this is a great example of having your voice heard. You’ve put this on the agenda. Everyone’ watching!”

“No-one should be vaping under 18. It’s illegal to sell vapes to children. Yet, we know that more and more young people are, and we want to stop that. So, we’re doing a couple of things. One is we are having a crackdown squad. We put millions of pounds behind it and they’re going to make sure all the rules are enforced and people should not be selling vaping products to young people. And, if they do, then bad things will happen to them. But, also, we’ve got this thing called a call for evidence where we’re asking people what they think the best ideas are for us to crack down on this. And that’s how governments make policy. I don’t just wake up in the morning and just announce something. We take the time to talk to people, to listen, to get ideas and then make the right decision.”

“We’re just starting with the enforcement. The adverts for these things are designed to appeal to kids, you know, with the colours they use, the characters they use, their flavours. That’s not right. These are all things that shouldn’t be happening.”

Green Energy ♻️

Rishi Sunak: “I am committed to making sure that we leave our environment in a much better state. The independent climate experts all agree that we are going to need some oil and gas for a while to come until we transition to a future which is completely green, where all our energy comes from green sources. It’s going to take us a bit of time to get there. So, between now and then, the question is, should we try to use the stuff that we’ve got here at home?”

“Because that’s good for many people’s parents who could get jobs in that industry. And it’s also good for the climate because, instead of asking some other country to produce it and then shipping it all the way here with twice the carbon emissions, we can do it at home without doing that. So, it’s a sensible thing to be doing in the short term. And this is for the short term as we transition to net zero by 2050. That’s the plan. And we’re on track to do that. This is a temporary measure which, in the process, means that we’ve got jobs here at home, which is good.”

“So, those are all the reasons we’re doing that. But, over time, we’re definitely on to offshore wind, new nuclear, hydrogen, electric vehicles. That’s what the future looks like. And it’s great.”

Voting Age 🗳

Rishi Sunak: “I think the right thing is to have the voting age at 18 because that’s the age that most people think you become an adult and it’s when you can do lots of adult things. Also, if you do something wrong, the way the criminal justice system treats you changes once you become 18. Around the world, 18 is the age that most people think is the right age for voting to happen, so that’s what we’re going to stick with.” 

“But, voting isn’t the only way you can participate. When MPs come to talk to schools, you can send them letters, right? You’ve got to have your voice heard.”

First News has launched the Children’s Party so that young people’s views are heard ahead of this year’s general election. Find out more about it and enter our Speech Your Mind competition here.


Rishi Sunak: “It’s about not judging anybody, and it’s about being understanding, about being compassionate and tolerant of everyone and the choices they make. And it’s about making sure that we can support them as they think about some of these things and doing that in a sensitive way.”

The King and the Coronation 👑

Rishi Sunak: “I’m really lucky because, in my job, I get to meet His Majesty the King every week and have a chat. One thing I can tell you is I see just how unbelievably committed he is to serving our country and his strong desire to represent everybody from every walk of life. I think he does that really brilliantly.”

“And, when it comes to the coronation, it’s going to be an amazing celebration of our history, but it’s also going to be a celebration of what’s coming in the future and what the King is going to do.”

“I’m very excited about the concert because Katy Perry is coming. My girls are big fans. Then, also, we’re having a Big Lunch. Everyone’s having a Big Lunch!”

“So, we’re doing one on Downing Street. That’s pretty cool. We need the weather to be right. I think it’s going to be a great weekend for the country. We’re all just going to celebrate. This is a really special moment for us and it’s a great moment for us to come together.” 

“I think the world is going to see what a special place the United Kingdom is. And it’s just going to make us all really proud to be British on that day. That’s what I think.” 

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To watch the full interview with Rishi, head over to First News Education TV

If you wish to read more insightful pieces that could be discussed with your children, visit the Talking Points section of our website.

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