UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised to “unleash the potential of the entire country” as he announced what he described as a “New Deal” for Britain to help its struggling economy recover from coronavirus.
Likening his ambitions to rebuild the country to the achievements of Franklin D Roosevelt, who carried out an overhaul of the US economy in the wake of the Great Depression, Johnson said his government would be “powerful and determined and [put] its arms around people at a time of crisis.”
The £5 billion ($6.2bn) plan will focus on infrastructure projects, which the government has said will fuel jobs and economic recovery.
In recent weeks, Johnson’s pandemic response has been attacked across the political spectrum, as the UK has suffered one of the worst death tolls in the world.
The country went into lockdown later than many other European nations, and the government’s core strategy to protect the national health service and abandon testing in the wider public on March 12 was widely criticized by public health experts, who believe it has led to thousands of unnecessary deaths in the community.
Johnson has also been embroiled in a scandal surrounding his chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, who it emerged had traveled over 260 miles with his wife and child after developing virus symptoms.
In economic terms, the UK is trying to stave off its worst downturn in more than 300 years. The country’s GDP contracted by more than 20% in April, a record, following a 6% decline in March.The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warned in June that the UK would suffer the worst downturn of any major economy this year.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon responded to Johnson’s plan on Tuesday, saying the stimulus fell “woefully short” of the money needed to put the UK “on a par with Germany.”
“I also suspect there will be less to it than meets the eye in terms of genuinely new money,” she said on Twitter.
£5bn in economic stimulus is woefully short of the c £80bn that would put UK on a par with Germany. I also suspect there will be less to it than meets the eye in terms of genuinely new money. https://t.co/CMSGXLvy79— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) June 30, 2020
Source : CNN