‘Let’s get the show on the road’: Rishi Sunak tells Brits to get shopping and get lives back to normal as he spearheads drive to get economy back on track ahead of high street relaunch TOMORROW
- The Chancellor said Britons should ‘get out there, get shopping’ from tomorrow
- All non-essential retailers are able to open their doors and lift their shutters
- Comes after GDP plummeted by a quarter in two months, the largest fall ever
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Rishi Sunak today appealed to British shoppers to get out there and spend some money when shops reopen tomorrow as he tried to breathe new life into the coronavirus-battered economy.
The Chancellor said Britons should ‘get out there, get shopping’ amid the worst economic decline in generations, with GDP plummeting by a quarter in just two months.
All non-essential retailers are able to open their doors and lift their shutters from tomorrow morning, allowing weary consumers an opportunity to get out and spend.
But with unemployment figures this coming week expected to show that jobless numbers have skyrocketed despite the Chancellor’s multi-billion-pound furlough scheme, he acknowledged that there will be some anxiety.
He told the Sun on Sunday: ‘It’s important that as a country we’ve got to reawaken our lion spirit. That’s what we are about.
‘We’ve got to rediscover our confidence and get our lives back to normal.
So my message is simple — get out there, get shopping. Those are all the things we used to love doing before the pandemic and, bit by bit, we need to get back to where we were.’
The Chancellor said Britons should ‘get out there, get shopping’ amid the worth economic decline in generations, with GDP plummeting by a quarter in just two months
All non-essential retailers are able to open their doors and lift their shutters from tomorrow morning, allowing weary consumers an opportunity to get out and spend
GDP plummeted by more than a fifth in the first month of lockdown, and has now contracted by 25 per cent since February. In this chart, 100 on the vertical axis represents the size of the economy in April 2016, showing the extent of the fall compared to previous changes since 1997
Boris Johnson takes charge on the two-metre rule
Boris Johnson will tomorrow pave the way for the abolition of the two-metre separation rule by taking personal control of the decision to axe it.
His crucial intervention comes as one of the country’s leading restaurateurs warns that if it is not scrapped, the hospitality sector will be hit by millions of job losses.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that the Prime Minister has commissioned a comprehensive No 10 review which will effectively wrest control of Covid-19 social distancing guidance from Government scientists – and, critically, allow the devastating economic impact of the measure to be taken into account for the first time.
One Government source said the move was recognition that ‘there is more to life than the R number’ – the term for the rate at which the infection spreads.
Last night, Tory MPs predicted that the review – to be run by Downing Street’s newly appointed Permanent Secretary, Simon Case – would provide a road map for the two-metre rule to be relaxed in time for the reopening of pubs on July 4.
However, with a nod to consumer uncertainty he added: ‘I am very conscious that there will be anxiety. For some time, many people have not been inside a shop and, in a way, we all have to relearn the behaviours we took for granted.
‘We’ve been living with anxiety now for 12 weeks but the good news is that we’ve made enormous progress.
‘Bit by bit, that confidence will come back and the anxiety will reduce. But it’s not going to happen overnight.’
Leading by example, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is planning to visit a high street this week – in his first public visit since lockdown began – to reassure shoppers it’s safe to return to non-essential activities.
He urged British shoppers to head to the High Street to kick-start the flailing economy when stores reopen on Monday as the PM faces a cabinet backlash over plans to ease Sunday trading laws for a year.
Economic figures on Friday showed the UK economy in freefall with a record 20.4 per cent decline in April.
GDP plummeted by more than a fifth in the first full month of the crippling lockdown being in place, following a 5.8 per cent slump in March – which was in itself a the biggest dive ever at the time.
UK plc has now contracted by 25 per cent since February – with the country facing the worst recession in 300 years, when the Great Frost laid waste to Europe.
Boris Johnson has ordered a comprehensive review of the two-metre social-distancing rule amid calls it should be scrapped.
Easing the restriction is seen as vital if businesses such a restaurants and pubs are to be able to re-open sustainably.
The the review would effectively take control of social-distancing guidelines out of the hands of the Government’s scientific advisers, who have been deeply reluctant to countenance relaxation.
With many people thought to be nervous about going out again after nearly three months in lockdown, Business Secretary Alok Sharma sought to reassure the public that measures had been put in place to ensure their safety.
Writing in the Sunday Express, he said: ‘We need to get Britain’s economy firing again, while at the same time making sure we keep people safe and avoid a second peak of the disease.’
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