“Deeply sorry,” Rishi Sunak says to UK families affected by Covid.

On the eve of the pandemic, Rishi Sunak was a relatively obscure politician who was promoted to finance minister.

On Monday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak defended Britain’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, telling an official inquiry that he did not recognise testimony portraying a dysfunctional government and that his hospitality policy was supported at the time.
The panel is looking into Britain’s response to the pandemic, which killed over 230,000 people. It has been reported that Boris Johnson’s government was paralysed by infighting and incompetence and was unable to make a decision.

Rishi Sunak was a relatively unknown politician when he was promoted to finance minister on the eve of the epidemic, appearing calm as he laid out hundreds of billions of pounds in aid to keep businesses and livelihoods afloat.

Other witnesses have criticized him during the hearing so far for his “Eat out to help out” subsidised meal initiative, which encouraged people to visit restaurants and bars in August 2020.

Some scientists have questioned whether Rishi Sunak’s strategy contributed to the outbreak, although Mr Sunak claims that scientists and other ministers raised no objections during talks in the month preceding the scheme. He stated that “Eat out to help out” occurred within rules for the safe re-opening of hospitality, which occurred in July, and that this is why the policy was implemented.

“My primary concern was protecting millions of jobs of particularly vulnerable people who worked in this industry (hospitality),” Mr. Sunak told the commission of inquiry. The committee also heard testimony from scientists and officials who questioned if Mr Sunak prioritised the economy before public health, despite the fact that economic output is expected to fall by 10% in 2020.
On Monday, he told the panel that he wanted to express his “deepest regret” to families who had lost loved ones, and that he was there to learn how the government could do better in the event of another pandemic. But, like Johnson, he said that the fact that “debates raged” was not always a bad thing.

“It’s right that there was a vigorous debate because these were incredibly consequential decisions for tens of millions of people in all spheres, whether it was health, education, economic, social, or long-term impact.” “These were incredibly big decisions, the likes of which no prime minister has taken in decades, if ever,” the prime minister remarked. Mr. Sunak took over as Prime Minister in October 2022, after Johnson and his successor, Liz Truss, were forced out.

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