Chancellor refuses to rule out recession
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (pictured) has refused to rule out a recession when the UK exits the cornavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
As Chancellor Sunak has spearheaded the government’s fiscal response to the ongoing crisis. This has seen the government launch schemes for the employed, self-employed and those with mortgages.
When questioned by the BBC’s Laura Kunessberg on the possibility of a recession, Sunak said he could not deny the impact of the coronavirus on the economy would be “severe”.
He said: “I’ve been very clear and very honest that this will have a significant impact on our economy.
“In spite of what are unprecedented measures in scale and scope, I can’t stand here and say I can save every single job, protect every single business or indeed every single charity.
“That’s just simply not possible.”
The Chancellor was also asked about the financial hardship this would cause to people.
He said: “This will have a significant impact on our economy – and not in an abstract way. It will have an impact on people’s jobs and their livelihoods.
“That is why we have taken the actions we have in order to help mitigate some of that.
“I believe we are doing the right things. I can’t stand here and say there isn’t going to be hardship ahead because there is.”
He was also questioned on whether there had been a trade-off between protecting people’s jobs and their health.
However, he said that protecting people’s health remained the “absolute priority”, but added that the government had also taken “unprecedented” measures to protect the economy.
The Chancellor also launched measures to support UK charities. This included a £750m fund for frontline charities across the UK – including hospices and charities helping domestic abuse victims.
He said: “There are over 170,000 charities, we will not be able to match every pound of funding they would have received this year.
£360m will be directly allocated by government departments, while £370m will go to smaller charities, including through a grant to the National Lottery Community Fund, and £60m of that will go to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The chancellor also promises to match donations to the National Emergencies Trust as part of the BBC’s Big Night In fundraiser later this month “pound for pound”, with a minimum pledge of £20m.
He added: “Charities teach us the lesson that the simplest acts have the potential to change lives.”