Sunak Minimizes Need For Winter Covid Measures That Would Hurt The Economy


British Chancellor Rishi Sunak warned of a ‘tough’ winter ahead as Covid cases rise, but made money available in next week’s budget to build skills and ease pressures on families and cultural institutions.

Sunak’s budget was already tightly constrained by high debt levels and the threat of higher interest rates, but now the Chancellor also faces the additional potential problem of greater Covid disruption.

Speaking ahead of next Wednesday’s budget, Sunak said the winter would be “difficult”, but did not expect the government to have to respond with policies that seriously damage the economy.

“There is a range of options available, and these are not options that involve deadlocks or very significant economic restrictions,” Sunak told The Times.

The Chancellor will respect his self-imposed spending limits when he announces the results of his triennial spending review, which will budget Whitehall until the next election.

Sunak will, however, announce a £ 3bn investment to help create what he calls “a high-wage, high-skill economy”, including spending for 16-19 year olds and a quadrupling of “summer camps”. skills training ”.

The Chancellor said the money would fund additional school hours for up to 100,000 young people aged 16-19 studying for T-level technical qualifications and create 24,000 internships.

Sunak added, “Our future economic success depends not only on the education we provide for our children, but on the lifelong learning we provide for adults.

Sunak will also announce £ 500million investment to support families, including £ 80million for ‘family centers’, £ 100million to support the mental health of new and expectant parents and £ 120million for other family projects.

Meanwhile, 300,000 vulnerable families will be helped with an additional £ 200million for the government’s ‘Family Support Program’, which helps households tackle complex issues that can lead to family breakdown. .

Family centers are places where families can access the services they need in one place, but Kate Green, ghost education secretary, said they were a “sticky cast for a fractured landscape of child care. ‘children and children’s services’.

Separately, Sunak will announce in its budget £ 850million in support to museums, galleries and other cultural venues over three years to help them recover from the effects of the pandemic.

Among the institutions receiving more money are the V&A, the Tate, the Natural History Museum and the National Museums Liverpool, the Treasury said.

Sunak said he was “proud to be part of a country with such a strong cultural heritage”, but acknowledged that the closure of cultural institutions during the pandemic had caused considerable damage.

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