‘You fixed nothing!’ Sharma on the spot as Peston erupts over Conservative record

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Alok Sharma was challenged to outline the British Government’s plan to reduce Britain’s debt in light of a new set of £30 billion measures aimed at containing the risks of the coronavirus outbreak. ITV political editor Robert Peston quizzed the Business Secretary over the plans as he questioned the Conservative Party’s record in curbing spending. Mr Sharma told ITV Peston: “If you remember back to 2010 when the Conservatives came into Government, the public finances were in a really precarious position.

“We worked really hard to get the deficit down and it’s because we were able to fix the roof when the sun was shining we are now able to weather the storm.”

But the comment had Mr Peston interrupting: “Hang on a second, hang on a second, hang on a second. No, no, no.

“In 2010, the debt to GDP ratio was 40 percent, it’s now 100 percent. It’s more than twice what it was, you fixed nothing.

“It’s worse than it was. And we now got a record deficit, we’ve got a deficit we never had before.”

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But Mr Sharma insisted the impact of the coronavirus crisis makes it “absolutely right” for the Government to invest in the economy.

He said: “Robert, it’s absolutely right that we have taken the measures that we have.

“The cost of inaction would have been much greater than the cost of the reaction we have taken.

“We are able to borrow, borrowing rates are at record low.”

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Chancellor Sunak on Wednesday unveiled a series of new policies aimed at restraining unemployment and in a bid to boost the British economy after months of lockdown.

In addition to a reduction of VAT from 20 percent to 5 percent for the next six months, Mr Sunak announced a 50 percent discount to all restaurant-goers between Monday and Wednesday to encourage them to eat out and help business owners.

The Chancellor told the Commons: “I can announce today that, for the month of August, we will give everyone in the country an ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ discount.

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“Meals eaten at any participating business, Monday to Wednesday, will be 50 percent off, up to a maximum discount of £10 per head for everyone, including children.

“Businesses will need to register, and can do so through a simple website, open next Monday.

“Each week in August, businesses can then claim the money back, with the funds in their bank account within five working days.”

Mr Sunak also confirmed he will slash stamp duty for 90 percent of homebuyers and launched a new scheme to help young workers find employment.

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