Pandemic plunges UK into 'economic emergency'

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The United Kingdom is going through a period of "economic emergency" and will suffer an unprecedented 11.3% drop in gross domestic product in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to official forecasts unveiled by Finance Minister Rishi on Wednesday Sunak.

Next year, growth should rebound by 5.5%, then reach 6.6% in 2022, according to these forecasts unveiled during a speech in Parliament.

However, it will be necessary to wait until the end of 2022 for the economy to return to its pre-health crisis levels.

Our health emergency is still there and our economic emergency has only just begun. So our immediate priority is to protect lives and standards of living, said the minister, presenting a vast spending plan.

The economic damage is likely to last in the long run, weakening the economy for many years, he said.

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Sunak, who relies on forecasts from the public body OBR (Office for Budget Responsibility) said the unemployment rate will peak in the second quarter of 2021 at 7.5%.

In total, the government is mobilizing £ 280 billion to help the economy weather the storm.

Pedestrians in Bradford walk past a traffic light sign, advising them not to touch the button because of COVID-19.

In the UK, as elsewhere in the world, the COVID-19 pandemic is causing significant slowdowns in economic activity.

Photo: Getty Images / PAUL ELLIS

Utilities will notably receive a total of £ 55 billion next year, be it the NHS health system, schools or security.

The government promises that the country's current spending will grow 3.8% this year and next, the highest rate in 15 years.

These measures will boost the public deficit which is expected to reach 394 billion pounds for the current budget year, or 19% of GDP, due to unprecedented efforts to support employment in the face of the shock of the pandemic.

Mr Sunak, a member of the Conservative Party who claims to be the herald of budgetary orthodoxy, warned, however, that in an attempt to limit the fiscal pit, civil service salaries will be frozen, except for the NHS and for the very low income.

The UK will also sharply cut its development aid next year to 0.5% of its gross domestic product from the usual 0.7%, which has sparked a flood of criticism, especially from the Nobel. of peace Malala Yousafzai.


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