Chancellor Rishi Sunak has condemned ‘shocking’ and ‘disgusting’ scenes from the far-right in London, and claimed the mass condemnation of such events as signs of progress in society.
In an interview designed to address the worrying economic situation in the UK, Sophy Ridge first directed Sunak to respond to the violent actions of the far-right.
Referencing a previous interview in which the chancellor spoke about his own experiences of racism as a child, Ridge wondered whether he could remain confident, in light of yesterday’s events, that the racism he endured in his formative years was unlikely to take place today.
Sunak doubled down on his belief that the UK is not a racist country, adding that the mass condemnation of yesterday’s violence acts as evidence of progress.
When discussing the intended remit of the interview – the economy – Sunak sought to placate Ridge’s concerns over the sheer scale of the collapse to the UK’s finances.
The quarter by which the economy shrunk during March and April represents the eradication of 18 years of growth, which pours cold water on Sunak’s previous proclamation that the impact of coronavirus will be ‘temporary’.
In response, the chancellor accepted that these numbers ‘lay bare’ the scale of the challenge ahead, but doesn’t necessarily agree that there will be a lifelong fallout to this crisis.
Rather, he believes that the economy will begin to tentatively rise once again, in line with each step of the government’s plan to reopen sectors of society.
The high street is a clear example of this, says Sunak, who commended the work of those endeavouring to create a safe shopping environment once again.
Reopening the high street is not in of itself a solution, but the chancellor hopes it will offer the double boost of driving consumption and protecting jobs which may otherwise be lost.