Boris Johnson has told his fellow G7 leaders in Cornwall that they must avoid repeating the mistakes of 2008, when the recovery from the deep recession that followed the financial crisis entrenched inequalities.
In his opening remarks to the first formal session of the three-day summit, Johnson said: “It is vital that we do not repeat the mistakes of the last great crisis, the last great economic recession of 2008, when the recovery was not uniform throughout. the society “.
His comments appeared to be a repudiation of the policies of his own party, when a decade of austerity was imposed on public services and social benefits after 2010.
Spicing up his comments with conservative slogans about “rebuild better” and “level up,” Johnson also said the G7 should rebuild their economies “in a more gender-neutral, more feminine way.”
“What went wrong with this pandemic, what runs the risk of being a lasting scar are the inequalities that have taken root. We need to make sure that as we recover, we level up in our societies, we need to rebuild better, ”he said.
The prime minister was not a deputy during the 2010-15 Tory-Lib Dem coalition government which blamed Labor for overspending on the crisis and imposed drastic cuts; but he ran for election in 2015 in a manifesto that included a £ 12bn reduction in the welfare bill.
The Treasury’s shadow chief secretary, Bridget Phillipson, said: “It is absurd to see Boris Johnson talk about not repeating mistakes, when he and the Conservatives spent the last decade cutting our public services to the bone, leaving British companies in the cold and weakening the foundations of our economy.
“Instead of learning from its mistakes, this conservative government is caught in a cycle of trying to clean up its own mess.”
Johnson’s official spokesman said his reference to a more “feminine” recovery reflected a commitment to boosting girls’ education, something the G7 leaders also vowed to do.
But TUC Secretary General Frances O’Grady ridiculed Johnson’s comments. Boris Johnson’s reflections on femininity are a mystery. But it would be a big male mistake to think that ‘more female’ means accepting a 1% salary cap for the NHS, ”he said.
In addition to discussing how to rebuild their economies after the deep recession caused by the pandemic, G7 leaders will sign a new agreement on Saturday aimed at ensuring that such an outbreak never occurs again.
The Carbis Bay declaration will include commitments to intensify research on zoonotic diseases, those that are passed from animals to humans. The UK will establish an animal vaccine manufacturing and innovation center at the Pirbright Institute in Surrey, which is expected to be operational next year.
G7 leaders will join delegations from India, South Korea, Australia and South Africa, who will attend the G7 at the invitation of the United Kingdom, for their discussions on health.
They will be shown a presentation by the UK government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, and Melinda French Gates on the work of the Pandemic Preparedness Partnership, a group of international experts who advise the G7 on the detection and prevention of future outbreaks.
Their recommendations include reducing the time it takes to develop and authorize vaccines, treatments and diagnoses for any future diseases to less than 100 days, and strengthening global surveillance networks to identify and track new pandemic threats.
The prime minister said: “I am proud that, for the first time today, the world’s leading democracies have come together to ensure that we will never again be caught off guard.”
In his opening remarks at the summit, he said that mistakes had been made in the past 18 months, although he did not specify what they were. Their official spokesperson said they included the protectionist approach that saw wealthy nations scramble for supplies of personal protective equipment in the early days of the pandemic.
G7 leaders posed for a joint photo on the beach at Carbis Bay on Friday afternoon. They later dined at the Eden Project, after a reception with the Queen.
Johnson wanted to underline his closeness to US President Joe Biden after the couple met for the first time on Thursday, stating that the US and the UK have an “indestructible relationship.”
“It is a relationship that has endured for a long time and has been an important part of peace and prosperity both in Europe and around the world,” he said.
However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel appears to have stolen the march from Johnson upon receiving an invitation to the White House. The first international leader to visit Donald Trump was Theresa May, who stated at the time, “sometimes opposites attract.”