Politics

Rishi Sunak says public services to receive £14bn

Rishi Sunak has set aside more than £14 billion from the emergency coronavirus response fund for public services including the NHS and local authorities over the last few weeks.

It comes after the chancellor initially launched a £5bn spending package at last months Budget to aid public services facing escalating pressures on their resources through the pandemic.

The Treasury said the money included a £6.6bn fund to “support our health services, free up hospital beds and deliver urgent priorities, including acquiring ventilators, diagnostic tests and protective equipment for NHS staff”.

A further £1.6bn has been provided for local authorities while £3.5bn will “ensure vital rail services continue to operate now and, in the future, for those who rely upon them for essential journeys”, according to the government.

Nearly £1bn will be provided to cover extra measures such as food packages for clinically vulnerable people, who have been advised by the government to shield themselves from covid-19 by remaining in their homes for at least 12 weeks.

The details precede an expected decision this week by ministers to extend the UK-wide lockdown after the governments Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) presents its latest data on the outbreak of coronavirus.

Speaking on Monday, Mr Sunak said: “Our public services and its incredible workers are working with immense resolve and skill to keep us safe. We depend on them, which is why we are doing everything we can to provide our NHS, local authorities and others, with the resources and tools they need to tackle the virus.

“From the start, Ive been clear our vital public services will get whatever they need to protect this country and its people from coronavirus.”

Last week, the government said it had expanded its overdraft with the Bank of England to ensure it has sufficient money to cope with the disruption caused by the virus, adding the bank will directly finance the extra spending ministers need.

Mr Sunak is also reported to have told colleagues that the countrys GDP could fall by as much as 30 per cent in the second quarter of this year – significantly more than forecasts by City analysts, according to The Times.

READ MORE FROM SOURCE: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/coronavirus-uk-news-rishi-sunak-public-services-emergency-response-fund-nhs-a9462151.html

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