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Soaring inflation, strikes and spiralling NHS waiting lists will cause a “challenging” winter, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has warned, as Britain was forecast to suffer a deeper recession than allies.

The prime minister braced his Cabinet on Tuesday for misery in the coming months as they discussed how to alleviate the crises.

With nurses voting to strike, Health Secretary Steve Barclay warned the NHS backlog had already been “significantly exacerbated” by the pandemic.

Downing Street said 400,000 people were currently waiting more than 52 weeks for operations, compared with 1,600 before COVID-19 hit.

Food prices and energy bills have soared as inflation hit a 41-year-high of 11.1 percent, with global fuel prices being forced up by Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.

The British economy will then contract more than any of the world’s seven most advanced nations in the G7, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Giving an account of the Cabinet meeting, the prime minister’s official spokesman said: “Looking ahead to winter, the Prime Minister said this would be a challenging period for the country caused by the aftershocks of the global pandemic and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.”

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