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UK Government launches new economy taskforce

WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto/PA

UK Government launches new economy taskforce

The UK Government is drafting in business leaders and top academics in a bid to help the UK weather the economic storm caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma has announced the creation of five new “recovery roundtables” aimed at shoring up the economy amid warnings of a steep recession and a spike in unemployment.

The UK Government said the new groups — which will meet for the first time this week — will bring together businesses and “leading academics” to “ensure we have the right skills and opportunities in place for our workforce over the next eighteen months“.

The five groups will look at the future of British industry, a green recovery, encouraging new businesses, boosting skills and apprenticeships, and attracting “high value investment” to the UK.

Sharma said: “These roundtables are a redoubling of our efforts to listen to and work with the business community and academic experts as we consider the measures needed to support our economic bounce-back. This will undoubtedly lead to a cleaner, greener, more resilient economy which will create new jobs. 

“The output from this initiative will feed directly into the Government’s work on economic recovery and will help deliver the commitments we made to the British people only last December, which now take on an even greater sense of urgency and importance.”

The new taskforces were launched as The Telegraph reported that Boris Johnson is planning a major speech for July 6 focused on how Britain will recover from the crisis.

The Prime Minister’s speech will reportedly be followed by a statement from Chancellor Rishi Sunak, with electric cars set to get a major boost with a new scheme offering payments of up to £6,000 for those who make the switch from diesel or petrol vehicles.

The announcement from the PM would come just days after the next lockdown review, due on July 4, with Government departments and business groups already being tapped up for ideas to get the economy moving again. 

Johnson last week admitted that “there will be many, many job losses” due to coronavirus, as he promised to do everything possible so the UK can “bounce back”.

The Prime Minister suggested young people could end up being worst affected by the pandemic and said it was “vital that we guarantee apprenticeships for young people”.

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