Rishi Sunak says he ‘stands ready’ against inflation
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The Chancellor warned the UK is facing “anxious times” with Gross Domestic Product now falling and the cost of living soaring. Official figures showed that GDP unexpectedly dropped by 0.1 percent in March. This, coupled with rocketing inflation, has stoked fears that the country is heading for a recession.
Mr Sunak said the UK’s economic recovery is being disrupted by Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and other global challenges.
He said: “We are continuing to help people where we can.
“I’ve always said I stand ready to do more as we learn more about the situation. On energy prices in particular, the price cap protects people for some months to come.
“But I’ve said when we have a clearer picture about what happens with energy bills, we stand ready and I stand ready to support people further.
‘Times set that “What today’s figures show is that, in spite of global inflationary challenges, the UK economy remains resilient.
“The economy is bigger than it was before coronavirus, and over the last few months we’ve grown faster than America, Germany,
France and Italy, for example.” The fall in GDP came even before the Chancellor’s national insurance increase, which pushed up taxes for households and businesses by 1.25 percent.
It came at the same time energy bills jumped by 54 percent.
The Office for National Statistics said the economy grew at its slowest pace for a year in the first quarter overall.
Although GDP is now 0.7 percent above levels seen before the pandemic struck, the figures are expected to get much worse as the economy slows further in the coming months.
The National Institute of Economic and Social Research think-tank predicted the UK will fall into recession, forecasting a GDP contraction in the third and fourth quarters.
Calls are growing for an emergency budget to address the costof-living crisis, despite the Government having dismissed the need for further urgent action.
Rain Newton-Smith, chief economist at the CBI, said: “The economy barely kept its head above the water during a volatile start to the year, but times look set to get that bit tougher.
“Cost pressures and rising prices have tightened their grip, with both businesses and households feeling the pinch. The end result is a weaker economic outlook. It’s clear that the most vulnerable households and energyintensive businesses may need further support.”
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