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Chancellor’s claim COVID crisis is ‘on all of us’ met with criticism

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak leaves No 11 Downing Street for the House of Commons to give MPs details of his Winter Economy Plan. - Credit: PA

Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s claim that the Coronavirus crisis is “on all of us” has been met with criticism.

Sunak made the remarks while announcing his winter economy plan which aims to support jobs and the economy during the pandemic.

He told the commons earlier: “The government has done much to mitigate the effects of the awful trade-offs between health, education and employment, and as we think about the next few weeks and months, we need to bear all of those costs in mind.

“As such, it would be dishonest to say there is now some risk-free solution, or that we can mandate behaviour to such an extent we lose any sense of personal responsibility.

“What was true at the beginning of this crisis remains true now, it’s on all of us, and we must learn to live with it and live without fear.”

The chancellor used the ‘it’s on all of us’ line to promote a question and answer session with journalists on social media.

The line prompted a strong response with many feeling the government should be taking responsibility.

One commenter on Facebook, Matt Robinson said: “What we need is strong guidance from the government and for them and their advisors to set a good example by following it themselves. That and support going forward for businesses who are still unable to work through no fault of their own. 

“It is far too easy for the government to pass blame for a second wave on to those who do not have such representation in the national media and as such are unable to defend themselves publicly. 

He added: “Ultimately, the country won’t look back on this period and blame the general public, young people especially, for the adverse effects it has on the country for years to come, it will be the delay in action and the lack of clear and effective leadership from the prime minister and his government.”

Another commenter, Conn Lockewood added: “All in it together, unless you’re Dominic Cummings and then you’re fine.”

Columnist John Rentoul, meanwhile, tweeted: “Remarkable passage about how govt cannot assume people’s personal responsibility for dealing with virus: ‘It’s on all of us’.”

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