A look ahead at the key events leading the news agenda next week, from the team at Foresight News. Delivered to your inbox on Fridays.
Leading the week
The Office for National Statistics publishes the UK’s latest quarterly GDP figures on Friday (August 12), just days after the country received a double-whammy of dire economic news. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) warned in its latest economic forecast that inflation would soar to ‘astronomical levels’ over the next 12 months, with commentators suggesting that the country is now firmly on course for its bleakest economic period since the 1970s.
That warning became a reality when the Bank of England raised interest rates to their highest levels in almost three decades and confirmed it eventually expects rates to peak at 13%. The bank also predicted that the UK would enter a five-quarter recession this year and said it would take ‘around two years’ for inflation to then fall back to its 2% target. Whatever promises are made by the next Prime Minister, it’s clear that facing the coming crisis and finding a resolution to the cost of living struggles facing the country will be a formidable task for either contender.
A contrasting pair of hustings await the two prospective Premiers next week as the Conservative Party leadership contest continues with visits to the red wall seat of Darlington in County Durham on Tuesday (August 9) and Cheltenham in the South West on Thursday (August 11). Both Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss have recently been forced into U-turns on major points of policy, with the Truss campaign resorting to accusing journalists of ‘misinterpreting’ her pledge to cut civil service expenditure through cuts to public sector pay after it was suggested that those outside London would be adversely affected.
The two candidates also have another pair of high-profile media interviews in store next week where they can expect to be quizzed on their shifting pledges. Frontrunner Liz Truss faces questions from a live GB News audience on ‘The People’s Forum’ on Wednesday (August 10) while self-declared underdog Rishi Sunak is grilled by Nick Robinson for the BBC on the same evening. Truss has so far declined to join Robinson for a one-on-one, her campaign evidently benefiting more from the series of viral one-liners she continues to produce at membership events.
A general election takes place in Kenya on Tuesday (August 9), where most interest will be in the presidential race which features current Vice President William Ruto and veteran opposition figure and former prime minister Raila Odinga as the leading candidates. President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is stepping down at the end of a second five-year term, has broken with his deputy and instead thrown his support behind Odinga in what is expected to be a close race that may head to a subsequent run-off vote. Both candidates have announced running mates from Kenyatta’s Kikuyu ethnic group, the country’s largest. Widespread violence following the 2007 elections led to Kenyatta and Ruto being charged by the International Criminal Court, though the cases ultimately collapsed; that the margin of victory this time around is likely to be narrow is once again raising fears of the prospect of post-election violence amid a cost of living crisis that has already seen protesters take to the streets.