March 17, 2020 / 9:56 AM / 11 days ago

UK budget office backs state as insurer for coronavirus losses

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak walks at Downing Street in London, Britain March 16, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s independent budget office said there was a “very good argument” for the government to act as insurer against coronavirus losses for businesses, ahead of an expected announcement of more help for companies by finance minister Rishi Sunak on Tuesday.

“There is, I think, a very good argument that the state should be the essentially the insurer here,” Charlie Bean, a member of the Office for Budget Responsibility, told lawmakers.

He also said any attempt to forecast what would happen to the economy in the next year or two was “pie in the sky.”

Reporting by David Milliken; Writing by William Schomberg, editing by Guy Faulconbridge

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