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Fri, 4 December 2020

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Boris Johnson pledges billions to grow UK out of coronavirus recession and claims he’s ‘fit as butcher’s dog’

Boris Johnson pledges billions to grow UK out of coronavirus recession and claims he’s ‘fit as butcher’s dog’

Boris Johnson will unveil his plans in a major speech on Tuesday (PA)

3 min read

Boris Johnson has pledged to “build our way back to health” with a multi-billion spending blitz to grow the UK out of the coronavirus-induced recession.

And the Prime Minister dismissed rumours about his health after his own battle with Covid-19, declaring that he is as “fit as a butcher’s dog”.

In an interview with The Mail on Sunday he revealed plans to build a raft of new hospitals and schools, as well as housing developments and getting started on a number of “shovel-ready” road and rail infrastructure projects.

In a conscious attempt to distance himself from his Conservative predecessor David Cameron’s recovery method from the last financial crisis, he rejected austerity as the way to fix the economy.

“This has been a huge, huge shock to the country but we’re going to bounce back very well,” he aid.

“We want to build our way back to health. If Covid was a lightning flash, we’re about to have the thunderclap of the economic consequences. We’re going to be ready.

“The lesson is to act fast and we’re going to make sure that we have plans to help people whose old jobs are not there any more to get the opportunities they need. 

“We are absolutely not going back to the austerity of ten years ago.”

Mr Johnson will unveil his plans in a speech in the Midlands on Tuesday, and announce a taskforce – dubbed ‘Project Speed’ - to be led by Chancellor Sunak to cut down the time it takes to deliver major projects.

He said: “We’re going to need a very committed, dynamic plan: not just for infrastructure, not just for investment but making sure that young people have the confidence they need that we are going to help them get into a place of work, to keep their skills up, to keep learning on the job and get a highly paid, highly skilled job that will stand them in good stead for a long time to come.

“We are going to have plans for work placements, supporting young people in jobs, apprenticeships, getting people into the workplace, making sure that their skills don’t just fall into disuse and we’re going to give an opportunity guarantee for all young people.”

Elsewhere in the interview he responded to Westminster rumours his health was still suffering after his stay in intensive care with coronavirus back in April, dismissing claims he was sleeping during the day to cope with the twin demands of fighting the epidemic and the needs of his two-month-old son, Wilfred. 

He attempted to demonstrate his strength by doing press-ups, and said he is back to his pre-Covid routine of running at 6.30am every morning with his dog Dilyn, but admitted that until a few days ago his jog was barely walking pace.

“I would turn around and see my detectives just walking,” Mr Johnson explained.

“But I want you to know that I am picking up speed now. They have detected in the last few days a notable turn of speed and they are starting to break into a mild trot themselves.”

He added: “I’m as fit as a butcher’s dog now.

“The country is going to bounce forward, and I certainly feel full of beans. Never felt better.”

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