Boris Johnson attempted to begin 2021 in an upbeat mood today, insisting it can be ‘a year of change and hope’ following the horror show that was 2020.

The Prime Minister used a newspaper column to offer hope that the worst of the coronavirus pandemic was behind Britain thanks to the arrival of new vaccines being rolled out by the NHS.

And he said that Brexit, which finally occurred at 11pm last night, also meant that good times could be on the horizon.

He even claimed that the EU departure more than four years after the referendum meant ‘the end of the rancorous bickering about ”Europe” that has bedevilled our politics for so long’.

But he tempered his natural optimism with a warning that the nation still faced hard times ahead before things started to improve, saying: ‘We must face the reality of the challenge ahead’.

The Prime Minister used a newspaper column to offer hope that the worst of the coronavirus pandemic was behind Britain thanks to the arrival of new vaccines being rolled out by the NHS.

The Prime Minister used a newspaper column to offer hope that the worst of the coronavirus pandemic was behind Britain thanks to the arrival of new vaccines being rolled out by the NHS.

The Prime Minister used a newspaper column to offer hope that the worst of the coronavirus pandemic was behind Britain thanks to the arrival of new vaccines being rolled out by the NHS.

Economy to rebound at fastest rate since WW2 to rise 8% in 2021 

Britain’s economy will grow at its fastest rate since the Second World War this year as it bounces back from Covid, experts predict today.

National income is set to rise by 8 per cent in 2021 – fuelled by billions in savings that Britons are itching to spend.

And the Brexit deal is expected to further boost the economy in the coming months.

The upbeat forecast comes on the day Britain embarks on a new trading relationship with the EU.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research said the economy would benefit from vaccines, the Brexit deal and Donald Trump’s departure from the White House.

Deputy chairman Doug McWilliams said Britons’ love of spending would also help. ‘Our tendency to splash out once we are let out of lockdown is greater than in many other countries,’ he said. ‘If you give money to Germans or Singaporeans, they will save it, or think about it for a while. Brits will just spend it. The economic recovery will be quicker and stronger than people think.’

Signs of optimism have been evident since the Christmas Eve Brexit deal and were bolstered this week by the approval of the Oxford vaccine.The pound ended 2020 on a high, hitting its strongest level of the year against the dollar.

And the FTSE 100 finished the year 23 per cent ahead of its low point in March – although it is still 14 per cent lower than 12 months ago.

 

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Britain saw in the New Year last night with warnings that Covid restrictions could last into the summer, and the suggestion that some schools may need to remain closed into February to help control a new, more infectious strain of the virus.

Writing in the Telegraph, Mr Johnson said: ‘We must face the reality of the challenge ahead – the bitter economic consequences of being forced to fight Covid with lockdowns. 

‘We know that many people have lost, and will continue to lose, their jobs – through absolutely no fault of their own. We will continue with our measures to help business, and protect jobs and livelihoods. But we also know that there is no country on Earth that is so fertile in creating new employment, in conjuring up new ideas and new industries where none existed before. 

Addressing Brexit, which happened at 11pm last night he added:  ‘You couldn’t have your cake and eat it, we were told. Maybe it would be unduly provocative to say that this is a cake-ist treaty; but it is certainly from the patisserie department. I believe that it is a big win for both sides of the Channel. 

‘For us, it means the end of the rancorous bickering about ”Europe” that has bedevilled our politics for so long. 

‘It means the end of that uneasy feeling that we were constantly being asked to sign up for the details of a project – a giant federal fusion of states – in which we didn’t really believe and hadn’t really bargained for.’

Moving on to coronavirus he added: ‘In the dying days of 2020 a beacon of hope has been lit in the labs of Oxford, with the invention of a new vaccine against Covid, a vaccine that can be produced cheaply and on a vast scale and that can be distributed at room temperature, and is therefore of potential benefit to billions of people around the world. 

‘In the genesis of that vaccine, there is a lesson for this country and our way ahead, because it is a brilliant collaboration: between state activism and free market capitalism.

‘That vaccine would not exist without government intervention – indeed it was thanks to government scientists that Oxford partnered with the British firm AstraZeneca (the lineal descendant of Brunner Mond and ICI) and not with a rival American firm. It was thanks to government cash that the vaccine was developed.

‘But it was thanks to the commercial savvy and drive of AstraZeneca that we have a UK-made vaccine that is good to go into people’s arms less than a year after the pandemic began.’ 

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

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