Monday, 17 May 2021

ITV’s Robert Peston savages Rishi Sunak’s economy recovery ‘bribe’ with brutal takedown

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Robert Peston suggested Chancellor Rishi Sunak could look “foolish” if his new policy were to result in a series of new coronavirus outbreaks over the summer. Mr Sunak announced on Wednesday customers would benefit from a 50 percent discount on meals when they eat out through the month of August. The ITV political editor quizzed Tory MP Caroline Nokes on the risks the strategy could create for revellers seeking to enjoy the offer.

Mr Peston said: “We haven’t defeated this virus yet, it’s still there in the community.

“How big a risk is the Chancellor taking, in a sense bribing us all with this 50 percent off meals in August? Bribing us all to go to pubs and restaurants.

“If there are outbreaks in pubs and restaurants in the summer he’s going to look quite foolish, isn’t he?”

Ms Nokes, however, dismissed the suggestion as she noted pubs that had re-opened recently had shown their eagerness to help track and contain potential outbreaks.

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She said: “We saw the very quick move in the three pubs where there had been a COVID case identified.

“They shut down very quickly and they were pleased to play their part in that.”

Pubs and restaurants were allowed to reopen for the first time in nearly four months on July 4 but days later three pubs across England were forced to close after a punter tested positive to the coronavirus. 

All three establishments had kept a record of revellers who had could have been in contact with the customer and said they would reopen once all staffers had been tested themselves.

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Ms Nokes also defended the Chancellor’s decision to slowly allow businesses to reopen and praised him for focusing his recovery measures on creating new jobs for younger Britons.

She continued: “I think it is absolutely right that the Chancellor is putting jobs first, he’s working really hard to make sure we’re protecting jobs and those industries that have been so easily affected by COVID.

“More than that, he’s looking at supporting the creation of jobs for young people and we know the young have been particularly hard hit.”

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She added: “I think the Chancellor has a tough job, we all have a tough job.

We have to make sure we get the virus under control and the movement is in the right direction so we should be really pleased.

“But we can’t stay in lockdown forever, we have to make changes, move forward.”

Chancellor Sunak on Wednesday unveiled a £30billion economic strategy aimed at helping contain unemployment as well as boosting the economy in the aftermath of the hard blow of the coronavirus pandemic.

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