Boris Johnson admits some parts of government 'were sluggish' in their response to coronavirus

Boris Johnson delivers a speech during his visit to Dudley College of Technology. (Getty)

Boris Johnson had admitted that some parts of the government were “sluggish” in their response to coronavirus.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, the prime minister said inefficiencies in the government’s handling of the crisis felt like a “recurring bad dream” at times.

It came as he announced a huge spending plan inspired by US president Franklin D Roosevelt, who led the US out of the Great Depression with his New Deal in the 1930s.

“We must use this moment – now – this interval to plan our response and to fix of course the problems that were most brutally illuminated in that COVID lightning flash.

Johnson acknowleged jobs would be lost by the crisis as he promised a stimulus package. (Getty)

“The problems in our social care system, the parts of government that seemed to respond so sluggishly, so that sometimes it seemed like that recurring bad dream when you are telling your feet to run and your feet won’t move.

In his speech, Johnson acknowledged that jobs which existed at the start of the pandemic "are not coming back" but said the new guarantee would ensure placements or apprenticeships for young people.

The spending packages announced by the PM included: £1.5 billion to be allocated this year to hospital maintenance, more than £1 billion for a 10-year school rebuilding programme, £100 million to be spent on road projects and £900 million for "shovel-ready" local growth projects.

He made reference to the recent local lockdown imposed in Leicester as he warned the virus was not yet over, but added "we cannot continue simply to be prisoners of this crisis".

"We're waiting as if between the flash of lightning and the thunderclap with our hearts in our mouths for the full economic reverberations to appear," he said.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will set out a plan to support the economy through the first phase of the recovery next week, the PM said.

Johnson said there had already been a "vertiginous drop in GDP" but indicated he would borrow to fund the recovery.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “Well, the Prime Minister promised a new deal, but there is not much that’s new, and, it’s not much of a deal.

“We are facing an economic crisis, the biggest we have seen in a generation, and the recovery needs to match that.

“What’s been announced amounts to less than £100 per person, and it’s the re-announcement of many manifesto pledges and commitments.

“So, it’s not enough.”

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