UK's Sunak says will start to fix budget deficit once outlook clearer

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak speaks during a ministerial statement on the summer economic update, at the House of Commons in London, Britain July 8, 2020. UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - British finance minister Rishi Sunak on Thursday said he would act to put public finances back on a sustainable footing in the medium term, when he has a clearer view of the economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

Sunak said that interventions to support the economy would cost an extraordinary amount of money, but the cost of not acting would have been far greater in the long run.

“We can’t sustainably live like this, of course we can’t, and over the medium term we can and we will return our public finances to a sustainable position,” Sunak told the BBC.

“It’s difficult now to get exactly the right trajectory on that, because we have an uncertain path ahead. But as soon as we have a clearer path... we can look at the situation and make sure that our public finances are back on a sustainable footing over a reasonable period of time.”

Reporting by Kate Holton and William Schomberg, writing by Alistair Smout