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Starmer attacks Chancellor Sunak over economic cost of lockdown

Keir Starmer was on the political offensive at today's conference at the CBI

Labor Party leader, Keir Starmer, has launched a stinging attack on the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, accusing him of under-estimating the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference on Monday (November 02), Starmer directly blamed Sunak for the “severe” economic cost of the “late” lockdown.

 "Make no mistake, the chancellor’s name is all over this", Starmer proclaimed.  

"His decision to block a circuit breaker, to dismiss it as a 'blunt instrument' and to pretend that you can protect the economy without controlling the virus will now mean that businesses have to close for longer, more people will lose their jobs, and the public finances will be worse than they needed to be", the Labor leader added.

Starmer urged the chancellor to set out a full package of support – in keeping with what was offered during the first lockdown in spring – to ease the pain of shutting down the bulk of the economy.

The Labor leader also used the occasion to address wider issues related to the lockdown, including the protection of the country’s core infrastructure.

According to Starmer, the four week lockdown "must be used to fix test, trace and isolate – and to give control to local authorities; to get a grip on messaging and rebuild public trust; and to provide a clear and transparent roadmap to protect businesses and the NHS over the months to come".

Starmer’s stinging attack on the Chancellor and the government was all the more striking as Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, dropped out of speaking at the same event.

Instead, Business Secretary, Alok Sharma, addressed the CBI audience and admitted that a fully functioning vaccine “may never materialize”.


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