The Bank of England (BoE) forecasts that Britain could be facing the biggest economic slump for 300 years are a “real wake up call”, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said. He explained the Government saw the coronavirus pandemic would have a huge impact on the UK economy which is why they launched unprecedented packages to help businesses and individuals. The BoE said it saw a plunge of 14 percent in Britain’s economy in 2020 followed by 15 percent bounce-back in 2021.
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Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Mr Lewis said: “I think it’s a real wake-up call.
“I haven’t seen the specific figures in the last half hour but I think it’s a really clear reminder of how much damage this virus can do.
“We did say right at the beginning that we knew there would be a huge impact on our economy which is why we put such an unprecedented size of support packages for businesses and individuals.
“We’re determined the make sure we can put in whatever support we can as we go through this virus so, hopefully the Bank of England’s outline will have a swift recovery when we get to the other side.”
Mr Lewis went on to urge the public to treat media reports of possible lockdown measures being released with caution.
He said: “Well we haven’t made any final decisions on these issues yet.”
He added: “I would just say to viewers and people watching and listening, I would just urge some caution around… although we believe we are through the peak of this virus we are very cautious to ensure that we don’t get a second peak.”
Mr Lewis continued: “I would say to people that the current Government position is very clear that where you can work from home you should, we should stay home wherever we can.”
He added: “I would just say to people to not get too carried away with what we may be reading and just wait until the Government guidelines and the Prime Minister’s statement.”
Mr Lewis said: “I would really urge caution. The safest thing to do at the moment with this virus and the way it spreads is wherever you can stay home.”
will review coronavirus lockdown measures with ministers on Thursday ahead of an expected easing of restrictions from next week.
The Prime Minister will chair a Cabinet meeting for a legal review of the restrictions, which cover England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, to see what freedoms the public can enjoy while the spread of the virus is kept under control.
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Mr Johnson hinted he will announce a limited return to pre-pandemic life in an address to the nation on Sunday, with new measures set to come in as early as Monday.
Reports suggest changes could include unlimited exercise, the return of some sports, park picnics, and the opening of pub and cafe gardens – but people would still be required to remain two metres apart.
The move could also see the Government scrap its “stay home” slogan, and encourage people to wear face coverings on public transport and in crowded places as some return to work.
In an indication of the changed approach, Public Health England said it was “reviewing all communications materials in anticipation of moving to the next phase of the Government campaign”.
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