Sunak: Government will not sit back and let economy falter
Following on from warnings that the UK economy could shrink by over a third Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (pictured) has said the government will not sit by and watch economy fail.
Earlier today the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) released its ‘“Coronavirus reference scenario” which outlined how the economy and the public finances could be affected by a three-month shutdown.
The scenario, which was not a prediction, claimed that Britain’s economy could shrink by 35% in the second quarter and see unemployment jump by two million.
This led to Anneliese Dodds, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, calling on the government to do more to protect the economy from the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
But speaking at the daily Number 10 press briefing the Chancellor said the OBR had been “clear” that the situation would have been “much worse” without government action announced so far.
He said that the OBR report “may not even be the most likely scenario”.
He was also pushed if the government was looking to protect wealth over health. It would be “self-defeating” from an economic point of view not to take action to protect people’s health, he said.
He added “these are tough times” and it will be impossible to protect every household and business.
When asked follow up questions by the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg about the speed of recovery the Chancellor said he thinks it will be possible to have “a reasonably fast bounce back”.
But, he added, the OBR is right to say borrowing will increase.