This is the moment to address decades-old problems says Johnson

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits the Speller Metcalfe's building site for The Dudley Institute of Technology in Dudley, Britain, June 30, 2020. Jeremy Selwyn/Pool via Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday that Britain must seize the moment in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic to fix decades-old problems and narrow the productivity gap with its competitors.

“We must work fast because we’ve already seen the vertiginous drop in GDP, we are waiting as if between the flash of lightning and the thunderclap,” he said.

“We must use this moment now, this interval to plan our response and to fix of course the problems that were most brutally illuminated in that COVID lightning flash: the problems in our social cares system, the parts of government that seemed to respond so sluggishly.”

He said Britain was not as productive as many of its competitors, and while London was the “capital of the world”, much of the country felt left behind and “unloved”.

“This COVID crisis is also the moment to address the problems in our country that we have failed to tackle for decades,” he said.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Kate Holton, Writing Paul Sandle; editing by Michael Holden