Rishi Sunak warns 'the economy will get worse before it gets better'

11 January 2021, 15:48 | Updated: 11 January 2021, 16:21

By Kate Buck

The Chancellor has warned we should expect the economy " to get worse before it gets better" due to coronavirus, as the country is amidst its third national lockdown.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Rishi Sunak said there were going to be "difficult but right long term decisions" to get the country afloat, but added: "We will get through this".

Giving an economic update in the Commons, the Chancellor said: "Even with the significant economic support we've provided, over 800,000 people have lost their job since February.

"And while the new national restrictions are necessary to control the spread of the virus, they will have a further significant economic impact.

"We should expect the economy to get worse before it gets better."

Rishi Sunak has warned the economy is about to get worse before it gets better
Rishi Sunak has warned the economy is about to get worse before it gets better. Picture: PA

The Chancellor added that the Government has put in place "a comprehensive economic plan".

He told MPs: "We have provided a fiscal stimulus of over £280 billion to fund our plan for jobs, to support public services like the NHS and to provide financial support for millions of people and businesses.

"1.2 million employers have furloughed almost 10 million employees. Almost three million people have benefited from our self-employment grants, taking total support for the self-employed to nearly £20 billion.

"Over 1.4 million small and medium sized companies have received Government backed loans worth over £68 billion."

But Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds was critical of Mr Sunak, saying he"was nowhere to be seen" when the Prime Minister announced the latest lockdown.

Responding to the Chancellor's economic update, she told the Commons: "The Chancellor was nowhere to be seen, his sole contribution to a set of announcements that had profound implications for our economy was a 90-second video on Twitter which begged as many questions as it answered."

She added: "Today the Chancellor appears out of ideas, urging us to look towards the sunny uplands but providing nothing new. The purpose of an update is to provide us with new information not to repeat what we already know."

She continued: "Will we have to wait until the Budget for a recognition of all of these problems and solutions to them?"

More to follow...