Hopeful UK lockdown can be lifted in Dec, says finance minister Sunak

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Britain’s government will seek to lift its four-week coronavirus lockdown for England in early December, finance minister Rishi Sunak said on Monday, a day after another minister said it might have to be extended.

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“Our hope and expectation is, on the basis of everything that we know today, that these measures will be sufficient to bring the R rate to where we need it to be, and therefore we can exit back into the tiered approach,” Sunak told BBC radio.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday ordered a lockdown for England from Thursday, a move that will weigh on Britain’s budget deficit and its 2 trillion-pound debt mountain, and probably cause the economy to shrink again.

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On Sunday, Michael Gove, a senior minister in Johnson’s government, said the lockdown could be extended.

Sunak also told the BBC that he would increase financial support for self-employed people after he announced on Saturday a one-month return to 80 percent wage subsidies for employed people who are temporarily laid off.