CHANCELLOR Rishi Sunak is giving tonight’s No10 briefing – after experts revealed dire warnings about Britain’s economy.
He is updating the nation after the Office for Budget Responsibility said UK GDP could be slashed by 35 per cent – and two million could lose their jobs over the pandemic.
But as soon as the restrictions are lifted the economy is likely to bounce back, the experts predicted.
They had modelled on a three month lockdown followed by another three months of social distancing measures.
However, the experts themselves admitted that their models were very uncertain and could change quickly.
They said that without the Government’s intervention to save jobs, the situation would look even worse.
Britain’s budget deficit could hit £273 billion in the 2020/21 financial year, five times the OBR’s previous estimate. That could reach 100 per cent of the nation’s GDP.
The second quarter of the year could see a 35 per cent hit to the nation’s GDP.
The unemployment rate could double to around 10 per cent, too, the experts said.
The Chancellor is also under fire as just over 4,000 coronvirus loans have been issued to struggling companies so far – despite hundreds of thousands of inquiries.
Around 30 per cent of businesses are estimated to take part in the Government’s furlough scheme – which will pay people 80 per cent of their wages up to £2,500 to stop companies going under.
And 1.6million people have applied for benefits or Universal Credit since the start of the crisis, the Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said this morning.
It came as the UK’s death toll reached 12,000 earlier today – with another 778 sadly passing away thanks to the virus.
Positive Covid-19 cases also rose to 93,873 from 88,621 yesterday as Britain goes into his fourth week of lockdown.