Boris Johnson had hoped to use today's speech in Dudley to draw a line under the past 14 weeks of lockdown and return to his election agenda. However, with the government announcing overnight that Leicester is to go into a local lockdown, the ongoing challenge of coronavirus isn't far away. The Prime Minister acknowledged that some might think his speech on Britain after Covid 'premature' but he said it was not sustainable to 'simply to be prisoners of this crisis'. Instead, the country must 'slowly and cautiously' come out of hibernation.
Returning to his 'levelling up' agenda, Johnson channelled his inner Roosevelt as he presented his 'new deal' – with an acceleration of £5 billion worth of spending on infrastructure projects. Johnson said:
“I am conscious, as I say all this, that it sounds like a prodigious amount of government intervention, it sounds like a new deal. And all I can say is that if so, then that is how it is meant to sound and to be because that is what the times demand... because it is time now, not just for a new deal, but a fair deal for the British people.
The Prime Minister said there would be no return to austerity as he hinted there would be further spending to come as the government attempts to restart the economy. Some of the measures – including funding for schools – had already been trailed while others were straight from the Tory manifesto.