Tuesday, April 14, latest;
Chancellor Rishi Sunak took charge of today’s briefing and insisted that the UK economy would be able to recover “quickly and strongly” after the coronavirus crisis had passed.
Despite the Office for Budget Responsibility suggesting a three-month lockdown, followed by three more months of partial lockdown measures, could shrink GDP by 35% and put unemployment up by more than 2m, Sunak insisted this was not a firm forecast.
“This is going to be hard, our economy’s going to take a significant hit and as I’ve said before that’s not an abstract thing, people are going to feel that in their jobs and in their household incomes…
“Yes it will be difficult in the short term. I’m happy to be honest about that with people. I think the measures we’ve put in place will help and then as we get through this it will mean that we can recover quickly and strongly and get our lives and economy back to normal.”
Sunak also emphasised the importance right now of protecting “the health of our people.”
“It’s not a case of choosing between the economy and public health – common sense tells us that doing so would be self-defeating.
“At a time when we are seeing hundreds of people dying every day from this terrible disease, the absolute priority must be to focus all of our resources, not just of the state, but of businesses, and of all of you at home as well, in a collective national effort to beat this virus.”
He also confirmed the coronavirus job retention scheme is due to open on April 20th.