Britain's Sunak denies saying economy will be permanently damaged

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak speaks during a virtual news conference, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in London, Britain September 24, 2020. REUTERS/John Sibley/Pool

LONDON (Reuters) - British finance minister Rishi Sunak denied on Thursday that he had said the damage from the coronavirus pandemic to the economy would be permanent, saying instead the prolonged nature of the crisis meant government policy must adapt.

“I’m not sure if I said that the damage was permanent. I think what I said was, because obviously the virus is something that’s going to be a fact of our lives for ... at least the next six months, that slightly means that our economic approach to it needs to evolve,” he told a news conference.

“Whereas, I think in March, if you contrast that, we hoped that this would be something that would be a temporary disruption to the economy. Obviously the way things have gone, this is going to be with us for a while to come so it’s right that the support adjusts.”

Reporting by David Milliken; editing by Stephen Addison