UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak warned on Wednesday the “economic emergency had only just begun” as he outlined the UK’s spending plans amid the ongoing coronavirus.
Sunak said the government had already provided £280 billion (373.87 billion US dollars) to tackle the virus and announced further public service funding of £55 billion (73.44 billion US dollars) would be allocated to continue the fight against the pandemic.
Of that total an initial £18 billion (24.02 billion US dollars) has been set aside for testing PPE, vaccine programmes.
Sunak said the economic damage of the virus would be “long lasting” and the UK’s economic output was not expected to return to pre-crisis levels until the fourth quarter of 2022.
“Long term scarring means in 2025, the economy will be around three percent smaller than expected in the March budget,” he warned.
The chancellor also announced over a million doctors, nurses and people working in the NHS would get a pay rise along with public sector workers who were on lower incomes.
However, he confirmed that pay rises would be paused for rest of the public sector until next year.
A total of nearly three billion pounds was also promised to deliver a new “Restart” programme to help more than a million people currently out of work in the UK.
Sunak also announced extra money to support Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s programme of investments in infrastructure across the U.K., particularly in the north of England, where the Conservatives won seats during the last general election.