“I have taken a very libertarian stance,” he said. “But when you compare us to other countries, we are significantly fatter, apart from Maltese, for some reason.”
Regarding the British economy after the coronavirus, Johnson said it was “the time for a Rooseveltian approach” in the UK, referring to the American “New Deal” of the 1930s, which saw massive public investment in construction and reform.
“You can’t go back to austerity right now. That would be a mistake, “he said.
The prime minister also admitted that the pandemic had been a “disaster” and an “absolute nightmare” for Britain, which currently has the third highest number of coronavirus deaths in the world. Johnson will lay out more plans for planning policies and infrastructure in a speech in Dudley on Tuesday.
This comes after the government announced a £ 1 billion school building program overnight.
Elsewhere, Johnson praised outgoing civil service chief Mark Sedwill after it was confirmed on Sunday that the UK’s top under fire official is resigning. The resignation follows months of reports of tension between Sedwill and Johnson’s top team and is part of a larger shake-up of how the British state works.
The prime minister also praised his controversial chief aide, Dominic Cummings, as “outstanding”, despite being accused of violating the closing rules at the height of the pandemic.
Opposition Labor Party leader Keir Starmer argued that changing the head of the civil service was the wrong priority. “Focus on the economic crisis, start preparing a budget,” he told the Today program on BBC Radio 4.
On the economic renewal plan, Starmer argued that building more would be “insufficient on its own” and warned that there could be an impending job crisis with “the real possibility of millions of unemployed people.”
“It is amazing that in light of the economic crisis that is about to come upon us, we do not have a July budget that puts jobs absolutely at the center of the economic recovery,” he said.