Chancellor warns of coronavirus shock but pledges: we’ll get through this

The UK will rise to the challenge of the coronavirus outbreak, Rishi Sunak said as he delivered his Budget against the backdrop of an economic storm caused by Covid-19.

The Chancellor acknowledged the British people were worried about the threat posed by the virus “but they are not daunted”.

Mr Sunak said there was “likely to be a temporary disruption” to the economy as a result of coronavirus but insisted his plans would bring “stability and security”.

In co-ordinated action to bolster the economy, the Treasury and Bank of England took steps to protect against the impact of coronavirus.

Hours before the Budget, the Bank of England set the scene with an emergency interest rate cut from 0.75% to 0.25% and a series of other measures designed to help businesses and households through a coronavirus economic shock “that could prove sharp and large, but should be temporary”.

As the threat from Covid-19 came closer to home for the Government – Health Minister Nadine Dorries has tested positive for coronavirus – Mr Sunak updated the Cabinet on the Budget.

Other measures in the Budget include a major increase in infrastructure spending, with a total figure of around £600 billion expected to be spent over five years.

Budget 2020
Chancellor Rishi Sunak posed with members of his Treasury team outside 11 Downing Street before heading to the House of Commons to deliver his Budget (Victoria Jones/PA)

Mr Sunak said: “I know how worried people are. Worried about their health, the health of their loved ones, their jobs, their income, their businesses, their financial security.

“And I know they get even more worried when they turn on their TVs and hear talk of markets collapsing and recessions coming. People want to know what’s happening, and what can be done to fix it.

“What everyone needs to know is that we are doing everything we can to keep this country, and our people, healthy and financially secure.”

He added: “We will get through this – together. The British people may be worried, but they are not daunted.

“We will protect our country and our people. We will rise to this challenge.”

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