The Chancellor is under pressure to extend the UK’s furlough scheme as the budget approaches on March 3. In addition, he is also being called upon to extend Universal Credit after a report found that disabled people have taken a hit due to costs during the pandemic, according to reports.
Now, an ally of Mr Sunak has told the Telegraph that the Chancellor is “concerned that the scientists have been moving the goalposts in recent weeks”.
They added this third national lockdown “is the ‘fat lady sings moment’” and urged against another one.
Others have hit out at the report and backed the current scientific advice.
Alex Norris MP, Labour’s Shadow Public Health Minister, said Mr Sunak, too, should “listen to the science”.
He said in a statement posted to Labour’s website: “The Chancellor still hasn’t learnt his lesson from last year, when his disastrous decision to block public health measures let the virus get out of control and helped give Britain the worst death toll in Europe and the worst recession of any major economy.
“If Rishi Sunak wants the economy back on its feet he should listen to the science, rather than trying to gain favour with those who would rather let the virus rip.”
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Meanwhile, Mr Sunak has been warned by business groups and trade unions that the furlough scheme must be extended, or the UK will face “deep” issues.
Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) said: “It would be a dereliction of duty of any government [not to extend furlough].
“The government must understand we need to work our way back to growth, and for that we need people in jobs.
“Otherwise we are going to end up with real, deep economic and social problems.”