THE “economic emergency” caused by Covid-19 has only just begun, according to chancellor Rishi Sunak, as he warned the pandemic would deal lasting damage to growth and jobs.
Official forecasts now predict the biggest economic decline in 300 years.
The UK economy is expected to shrink by 11.3% this year and not return to its pre-crisis size until the end of 2022.
Delivering the Spending Review, Rishi Sunak said his immediate priority was to protect people’s lives and livelihoods as the country continues to battle the outbreak – allocating £55 billion to tackle the virus next year.
While delivering his plan in parliament Sunak also announced cuts foreign aid to says that “sticking rigidly to spending 0.7% of our national income on overseas aid” is “difficult to justify”, “especially when we’re seeing the highest peacetime levels of borrowing on record” Adding “our intention is to return to 0.7% when the fiscal situation allows”.
He also said a public sector pay freeze will be also implemented for some says “I cannot justify a significant, across-the-board pay increase for all public sector workers” so “instead, we are targeting our resources at those who need it most”.
There will be a pay rise for over a million nurses, doctors and others working in the NHS. But to “protect jobs”, there will be no pay rise for the rest of the public sector next year.
Adding that the national minimum wage will also be increased saying: “We are accepting in full the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission to increase the National Living Wage by 2.2% to £8.91 an hour; to extend this rate to those aged 23 and over; and to increase the National Minimum Wages as well…”