UK's Sunak warns of hardship as he pledges to protect jobs

LONDON, July 8 (Reuters) - British finance minister Rishi Sunak warned of hardship ahead as he set out plans on Wednesday to protect jobs and limit the economic impact of the coronavirus.

“We face profound economic challenges,” Sunak said in parliament, adding that rising unemployment was the biggest challenge the country faced.

“People need to know we will do all we can to give everyone the opportunity of good and secure work,” he added. “People need to know that although hardship lies ahead, no one will be left without hope.”

Britain’s economy shrank by a quarter in March and April during the coronavirus lockdown, according to official data, and the International Monetary Fund forecast last month that British output over 2020 as a whole would drop by an historic 10%. (Reporting by Andy Bruce and Kate Holton, writing by David Milliken; editing by Stephen Addison)