Economy Update

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:28 pm on 5th November 2020.

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Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Chancellor of the Exchequer 12:28 pm, 5th November 2020

My right hon. Friend will know that I replied to him and his Committee with the answers to his question. There does not exist a specific prediction or forecast, which I think is what he is asking, but what we did provide—and the economic evidence that we considered—was the context for the lockdown being imposed and the impact that the initial lockdown has already had so one could make their own assumptions about what would happen thereafter.

My right hon. Friend will know as well as I do that the Office for Budget Responsibility is one of our pre-eminent forecasters, and it is already forecasting that the economy will fall by about 10% this year, that unemployment will reach 12%—an increase of 2.5 million people—and that in the medium term our economy will suffer scarring of about 3%, which represents tens of billions of pounds of less economic output. He will, of course, also know the impact that this is having on our public finances. That is the situation as it exists today, before we enter the new set of restrictions, which will obviously cause additional stress on all the numbers that I have outlined to him, and he will have seen the Bank of England’s comments this morning that the duration of further restrictions will increase their impact of long-term scarring on the economy.