The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has warned of “enormous strains” in public finances in the post-lockdown era.
In an interview with the Financial Times (February 26), Sunak argued there was an “immediate need” to increase spending with a view to protecting jobs even as the UK slowly emerges from its third lockdown since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020.
Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s (March 03) Budget announcement, the Chancellor asserted that the bill for the government’s £280 billion coronavirus support package will eventually have to be paid, with the concomitant risk that low interest rates will leave the nation’s finances “exposed”.
While the Chancellor did not reveal any details of the upcoming budget to the Financial Times, it is widely expected he will announce a raft of economic and financial measures aimed at boosting the economy as the lockdown slowly draws to a close.
Despite warning of tough times ahead, the Chancellor’s interview with the Financial Times appears to be designed to reinforce Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s message – delivered to the House of Commons on February 22 – of a gradual return to normalcy in the months ahead.