Britain’s Sunak: No return to austerity in new spending plan

LONDON: British finance minister Rishi Sunak (pictured) said there would be no return to austerity in a spending plan he will announce on Wednesday, even as the coronavirus crisis pushes the country’s debt further above 2 trillion pounds
Sunak, who has rushed out massive government spending increases and tax cuts equating to about 10 per cent of economic output, said he would announce “quite a significant” increase in funding for public services.
“You will not see austerity next week,” Sunak told Sky News on Sunday, saying his priority in the one-year spending plan was to fight the health and economic crises.
More than 3 billion pounds will be set aside in extra help for the health service.
Economists think Britain will borrow about 400 billion pounds ($531 billion) this year, approaching 20 per cent of gross domestic product, the most since World War Two.
It would be nearly double the hit from the global financial crisis, which took a decade to work down, and some lawmakers in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party want more fiscal restraint now.
Sunak said forecasts to be published on Wednesday would show the “enormous strain” on the economy and now was not the time to cut back on spending or raise taxes. — Reuters