UK chancellor Rishi Sunak on Wednesday unveiled a £30 billion package of public spending and tax cuts to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus.
The move comes hours after the Bank of England slashed interest rates as a response to the crisis.
“Up to a fifth of the working age population could need to be off work at any one time. And business supply chains are being disrupted around the globe.” Sunak said in an annual budget speech to parliament.
“Coronavirus will have a significant impact on our economy, but it will be temporary. I will do whatever it takes to support the economy”, he added.
The cost of helping businesses and individuals is around £7 billion, while £5 billion would go to the health service and other departments fighting the spread of the virus. A further £18 billion would go toward additional stimulus.
“A recession this year is quite possible if the spread of coronavirus causes widespread economic disruption”, warned the Office for Budget Responsibility, whose forecasts underpin the budget.