Boris Johnson has promised to act fast to boost spending on infrastructure in the face of the looming recession, as he returned to his manifesto pledge of “levelling up” the UK in the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis.

Delivering a major speech in Dudley College of Technology, at a podium emblazoned with the slogan “build, build, build”, the prime minister claimed his government would tackle the long-term problems in the UK economy revealed by the “lightning flash” of the pandemic.

Acknowledging the scale of the oncoming downturn, he said: “We must work fast, because we’ve already seen the vertiginous drop in GDP, and we know that people are worried about their jobs and their businesses.

“And we’re waiting as if between the flash of lightning and the thunderclap, with our hearts in our mouths, for the full economic reverberations to appear.”



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