UK's Johnson pledges 'Rooseveltian' spending boost after COVID hit

Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits the construction site of Ealing Fields High School in west London

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the coronavirus crisis had been a disaster for the United Kingdom and while the government would look at what went wrong it was not the right time to have an inquiry into missteps.

Addressing obesity levels in the UK, Johnson said Britons were significantly fatter than people in most of the rest of Europe, admitting he had lost weight after contracting the novel coronavirus.

"As we bounce back from the pandemic, it's important we lay the foundations for a country where everyone has the opportunity to succeed, with our younger generations front and centre of this mission", Johnson said in a statement.

"We will double down on our initial agenda on investment on infrastructure, education and technology".

STIG ABELL: So no cut- no public sector cuts?

"You have to be careful, and the Chancellor will be setting out our plans in the Spending Review in the autumn".

Coronavirus
Sir Keir Starmer has called for an emergency budget to prepare for a sharp rise in unemployment

"We certainly must have a care for the health of our population and we will be happier and fitter and more resistant to diseases like COVID if we can tackle obesity", Johnson said.

Another £560 million will go towards school repairs in this financial year, while further education colleges will see £200 million of the £1.5 billion promised by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in his spring Budget to transform college estates over the next five years fast-tracked so that work can be brought forward. I happen to think that the moment is not right now, . when everybody is flat out, I don't think the moment is right now for consecrating a huge amount of official time to all of that. Yes, and now let me- let me explain that. When you look at the- the pressure on- on the NHS, compare, I'm afraid, this wonderful country of ours to other European countries.

"When I came out of hospital I did notice there were occasional pieces in the papers saying I was looking a bit wraithlike, or something someone said", Johnson said. I think it matters.

Helping Brits to lose weight had become "something we all need" to focus on, he said, adding that politicians could not treat obesity as "irrelevant". It does matter. It's hugely costly for the NHS. How you address it?

He added: "The fact that we haven't got enough kids back in school is a source of deep frustration for me".


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