Sunak insists confidence in economy is growing during visit to Oxfordshire

Rishi Sunak reiterated his view that the Government’s economic plan was working as he visited a business facility in Oxfordshire. Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Rishi Sunak has insisted that "things are starting to feel better" and that confidence in the economy is growing after the UK economy moved out of recession.

The Prime Minister reiterated his view that the Government’s economic plan was working as he visited a business facility in Eynsham, Oxfordshire.

It comes after the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to have risen by 0.6% over the first quarter of 2024, following two quarters of decline last year.

Mr Sunak was joined the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and Conservative MP for Witney Robert Courts as he was shown around the Siemens Healthineers factory, which manufactures magnets used inside MRI scanners.

Speaking to Siemens staff during a PM Connect event at the facility, Mr Sunak said: "After undoubtedly a difficult couple of years that the country has had, actually now things are starting to feel better.

The Prime Minister and the Chancellor were shown around the Siemens Healthineers factory Credit: Jacob King/PA

"Confidence is returning to the economy and the country, and I hope that you’re starting to feel that too."

A consensus of economists had predicted a smaller 0.4% improvement for first quarter of this year.

It represented the strongest quarterly growth since the fourth quarter of 2021.

The Prime Minister’s visit came as the Treasury announced more than £2 billion of investment has been secured in the UK by world leading tech companies.

Mr Sunak was shown the magnet technology developed at the factory Credit: Jacob King/PA

Siemens Healthineers announced it was investing £250 million to build a new separate facility in Oxfordshire, which will support more than 1,300 skilled jobs once fully operational.

Mr Sunak said at the PM Connect event the company was the latest to invest in the UK, and referenced Jaguar Land Rover, Microsoft and Google "expanding their footprint".

He said: "We have managed to make the case to the world that this is the best place to start a business, to grow a business (and) to invest in a business."

Mr Hunt said: "Businesses are making a safe bet in Britain. We have attracted the third highest amount of greenfield foreign direct investment since 2010 and the UK accounts for around half of all AI private capital investment in Europe.

"We really are turning a corner, and the businesses of the future agree."

During their tour, Mr Sunak and Mr Hunt were shown factory machines and given a demonstration of the magnet technology being developed at the factory.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know…