A former Chancellor has warned that the UK will almost certainly face a recession following the coronavirus outbreak.
Lord Norman Lamont told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer: “I don’t think we can avoid a recession, a recession has obviously already started.”
It comes after new figures showed the UK’s economy shrank at the fastest rate on record in March this year.
Activity plummeted by 5.8 per cent during the month - the biggest monthly fall since records began in 1997 - according to the Office for National Statistics.
“I think we’re clearly on a downward trend, this is happening throughout the world,” the former Conservative front bencher said.
Lord Lamont added: “I think Britain is going to be able to get through this,” but warned that businesses will see casualties along the way.
He said: “I don’t think there’s going to be a sharp bounce back very quickly. I think it will be gradual and because it’s gradual, alas sadly some jobs will have been lost along the way and some firms will have gone out of business.”
Meanwhile, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has extended his Job Retention Scheme until the end of October in a bid to protect livelihoods.
This means the government will continue to pay 80 per cent of wages, up to £2,500 a month, for furloughed employees.
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