In an exclusive interview with GB News, the PM also backed people’s right to use cash.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has told GB News that the Nigel Farage de-banking scandal has highlighted the wider need to protect people’s rights to freedom of expression and privacy.
The PM told GB News‘ Economics and Business Editor Liam Halligan: “So I think it’s good that Nigel Farage and Coutts are in dialogue, resolving the issue there, but Nigel Farage also spoke up about the broader issue that’s impacting other people.
“And that’s my primary concern, because ultimately, this isn’t about any one individual. This is about values. Values are important to me and important to our country.
“And this is really important, rather than the individuals, to focus on the values that are at stake, values of freedom of expression and privacy. I believe in those values very strongly.
“People need to be able to have lawfully-held views that we might not agree with, but they shouldn’t be denied financial services because of them and they’re entitled for their financial affairs to be kept private.
“I think those values are fundamental to who we are as a country. They’re fundamental to me, and that’s why I said what I said.”
Asked if he backed GB News’ Don’t Kill Cash campaign, Mr Sunak said: “Yes, so I represent a rural area with people who are also concerned about this particular issue and that’s why as Chancellor I started the process, and recently we’ve concluded it, where we have legislated in law for access to cash regulations, which will allow the Government to ensure that, particularly in rural communities, that people do have access to cash because we accept that it is important to people.
“Obviously, many people are transitioning to using either their phones or online to do their banking but whilst that transition happens, people still need to have access to cash.
“And that’s why we’ll pass new laws that will allow us to work with financial providers like banks and the Post Office and others to ensure people’s access to these vital services.”
Asked about the possibility of a recession, the Prime Minister said: “Well, everyone predicted a recession at the beginning of this year after I became Prime Minister and we’ve already averted that, actually.
“So I think people should feel confident about the future. Now, my number one economic priority is to bring inflation down. Inflation is what’s causing people the most hassle with the cost of living, it’s eating into people’s savings and ultimately threatens people’s jobs and livelihoods.
“It’s right that our number one economic priority is to bring inflation down. That requires us to make responsible decisions. I will do that and stick to the course and bring inflation down for everybody.
“But we are getting on with growing the economy as well. I recently was in Japan where I came home with billions of pounds of investment. Similarly, when I went to the US, and just the other week we had an announcement that Tata are investing billions of pounds in our auto industry to build a gigafactory in the UK, one of the largest ever investments of that type.
“It’s going to create thousands of jobs and it should give people an enormous vote of confidence in our future.”
On the ban on petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, the Prime Minister said: “That’s been the government’s policy for a long period of time and remains the government’s policy.
“But my overall approach to all these questions is, of course I’m committed to net zero but we’ve got to do that in a proportionate and pragmatic way that doesn’t unnecessarily add burdens or costs to families’ lives.
“And I think we saw a good example of the wrong approach recently where in the Uxbridge by-election you’ve got the Labour Party, Keir Starmer and Sadiq Khan, pushing ahead with ULEZ.
“What does that do? It just puts £12.50 on an ordinary family’s bill whenever they want to drop off their kids at school or football practice, go to the supermarket for their weekly shop, or indeed go and visit their GP…that’s not the right approach. That’s not our approach to how to solve this problem.”
Asked about migrants being housed in luxury apartments in Chelmsford in Essex, he said: “I think what’s going on currently is completely wrong. We’ve got a situation which is unfair.
“British taxpayers are forking out £6 million a day to house illegal migrants in hotels and other accommodation. That’s clearly wrong, it’s clearly unfair and that’s why I want to put an end to it.
“Now, in the short term, we’re finding alternative sites like the barges that we’re bringing in which are new ways to deal with this problem which no one else has done but I’ve done, but fundamentally if we want to stop this, we’ve got to stop people coming here in the first place.
“And that’s why stopping the boats is one of my five priorities. That’s why we’ve passed the toughest law that any government has ever passed, which will help us to do that.”
Source: GB News