Jeremy Corbyn: 'Coronavirus crisis proves I was right about public spending'

Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks to the media on the coronavirus pandemic outside the Finsbury Park Jobcentre, north London. (Photo by Hollie Adams/PA Images via Getty Images)
Jeremy Corbyn says he was "absolutely right" about public spending. (Picture: Hollie Adams/PA Images via Getty Images)

Jeremy Corbyn has said the government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak has proved he was “absolutely right” about public spending.

In an interview with the BBC, Corbyn said he had been “denounced as somebody that wanted to spend more money than we could possibly afford”, but the amount being spent by the government on the COVID-19 crisis showed that such sums were affordable.

The government has so far announced an unprecedented amount of economic support to help the UK cope with the fallout of the coronavirus break, including support for businesses, employees and most recently, the self-employed.

In an interview with BBC's Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg, the outgoing Labour leader said: “I did everything I possibly could to win both elections and to say to the people of this country, the only way our society can come together is if we're prepared to invest.

“I was denounced as somebody that wanted to spend more money than we could possibly afford, in order to right the social wrongs of this country.

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“I didn't think that it would take only three months for me to be proved absolutely right by the amount of money that government is now prepared to put in - and Parliament has just voted through - to deal with the coronavirus crisis.

“So this is a change in our politics, which the coronavirus crisis has actually meant in every country in the world.

“There's suddenly a realisation that we're only as healthy as the safety of our neighbour.”

Corbyn’s comments came as Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the latest package of economic support from the government - aimed at the self-employed.

In a special address on Thursday, Sunak said the government would launch a new self-employed income support scheme which will pay self-employed people a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over last three years, up to a maximum of £2,500.

The scheme will be open to those with profits of up to £50,000 and who earn the majority of income from self-employment. Only those already in self-employment and with a tax return for 2019 will be eligible, although the tax deadline will be extended by four weeks.

“The scheme I’ve announced today is fair,” Sunak said. “It is targeted to those who need it the most and crucially it is deliverable.”

The move comes on top of already unprecedented measures offered to prop up the economy amid the effects of the coronavirus outbreak.

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