PM: Government will do 'everything in its power' to prevent second national lockdown

16 September 2020, 17:02 | Updated: 16 September 2020, 17:11

PM: Government will do 'everything in its power' to prevent second national lockdown

By Megan White

The Government will do "everything in its power" to prevent a second national lockdown, which would have "disastrous" financial consequences, Boris Johnson has said.

Speaking to the Liaison Committee on Wednesday, the Prime Minister said we "have to make sure that we defeat the disease by the means that we have set out."

He was asked by Conservative MP and chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, Julian Knight, whether the country could afford another national lockdown.

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Mr Johnson replied: "I don't want a second national lockdown - I think it would be completely wrong for this country and we are going to do everything in our power to prevent it.

"And can we afford it? I very much doubt that the financial consequences would be anything but disastrous, but we have to make sure that we defeat the disease by the means that we have set out.

Boris Johnson admits the UK does not currently have enough testing capacity

"So when I see people arguing against the rule of six or saying that the Government is coming in too hard on individual liberties and so on - I totally understand that and I sympathise with that, but we must, must defeat this disease."

The Prime Minister also promised the Government would show "creativity and flexibility" in providing support for the economy as the furlough scheme ends at the end of October.

"This government has done more than virtually any other government around the world to support people at risk of losing their jobs because of Covid," the Prime Minister said.

"The coronavirus job retention scheme, the furlough money is 80% of people's incomes compared with 70% in France, 70% in Spain, only 60% in Germany.

"Going forward ... we will continue to show great creativity and flexibility, which the Chancellor has shown, in trying to look after every sector of the economy."

Mr Johnson's comments came as he admitted the UK "does not have enough testing capacity" at the moment.

Answering questions on Wednesday, the UK leader conceded that the supply of coronavirus tests could not keep up with demand.

It comes after LBC revealed the scope of the issues surrounding testing, namely that there were no tests available for the top 10 coronavirus hotspots in England.

But now an extended investigation has found only two of the 48 Covid-19 hotspots in England had tests available for people trying to book via the government website on Wednesday.

No 10 has since announced it will be reviewing the criteria for who can book a Covid-19 test in the wake of an probe.