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Boris Johnson to announce major economic recovery plan

© Belga

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to unveil a huge recovery plan hinged on infrastructure building to boost an economy slammed by the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), British media report on Sunday.

The pandemic has been a “huge shock” for Britain, but the country will “bounce back very well,” the Conservative leader said in an interview published on Sunday in the Daily Mail.

“If Covid was a lightning flash, we’re about to have the thunderclap of the economic consequences. We’re going to be ready,” he added. “We are absolutely not going back to the austerity of ten years ago,” under the government of Prime Minister David Cameron (also a Conservative), Johnson told the tabloid.

According to the Daily Mail, the British Prime Minister will announce details of the plan in a speech on Tuesday. A strict lockdown imposed throughout the month of April in response to COVID-19 resulted in a 20.4% drop in the U.K.’s gross domestic product (GDP), a historic record that came on the heels of a 5.8% reduction of GDP in March.

Without additional help from the State, unemployment could attain levels not seen since the 1980s, topping the 3.3 million peak recorded in 1984, The Observer reports on Sunday, quoting an analysis by the House of Commons Library.

Interviewed on Sunday on Sky News, Home Secretary Priti Patel said the Government was determined to make the United Kingdom bounce back, and was drawing up a recovery plan that focuses on infrastructure, including investing in roads and high-speed Internet.

The Justice Ministry on Sunday announced the creation of four new prisons in England to reduce crime. It said this would support local economies as well as the construction sector, creating thousands of jobs in the process.

After being heavily criticised for his management of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed over 43,000 lives in Britain – the country worst affected in Europe – Boris Johnson now faces the challenge of succeeding in reopening the country.

The next phase in Britain’s deconfinement is a major one, the reopening on Saturday of pubs, restaurants, barber shops, museums and cinemas, which have been closed since late March.

“Non-essential stores reopened their doors in mid-June. Britons hope Labour leader Keir Starmer will make a better head of government, according to an opinion poll published on Sunday: 37% of respondents felt he would do better than Boris Johnson, while 35% felt Johnson was the better option.

The Brussels Times

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