Coronavirus: Christmas in the UK will not be normal this year, says Finance Minister

Coronavirus: Christmas in the UK will not be normal this year, says Finance Minister

Britain’s finance minister Rishi Sunak on Sunday warned that the British economy was under “enormous strain” because of the coronavirus, ahead of a government spending review next week

But he ruled out a return to austerity measures.

Economic forecasts to be released alongside his Wednesday spending review would show “the enormous strain and stress that our economy is experiencing”, Sunak told Sky News.

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The findings of independent forecasters the Office for Budget Responsibility – as well as the 750,000 job losses from coronavirus – would have to be taken “in the round as we consider the best way to fight the virus”, he said.

Despite the profound impact of the coronavirus on Sunak’s spending review, he rejected a possible return to austerity measures on the economy.

Government spending would continue to increase on last year’s day-to-day public spending, he said. “There’s absolutely no way in which anyone can say that’s austerity.”

However, he refused to rule out a widely expected public-sector pay freeze.

It was fair to “think about what is happening with wages, with jobs, with hours, across the economy when we think about what the right thing to do in the public sector is”, he said.

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Not a normal Christmas

Britain has suffered more than any other country in Europe from the coronavirus, recording more than 54,000 deaths from 1.4 million cases.…

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