LOCKDOWN-weary Brits have embarked on a huge spending spree to help to kick-start the recovery, Rishi Sunak confirmed yesterday.

Treasury figures reveal shops, pubs and restaurants doing a roaring trade as millions use their new-found freedom to splash the cash.

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The Chancellor hailed the rush, despite the cold and often rainy outdoors, as a sign the bounce-back has begun and declared: “We’re on our way.”

Mr Sunak is cautiously optimistic that consumers are ready to splurge the £192billion they have amassed in savings during the pandemic.

And he has even found time to go for a haircut himself since restrictions were eased.

He told The Sun on Sunday: “It’s been fantastic to see the great British public back out and about — shopping in their local shops, meeting friends and family in their local pubs and restaurants.

“I even managed to get out for a much needed haircut.

“Obviously, there’s still a way to go on the roadmap and we’ve got to continue to be cautious, but the sight of friends chatting in beer gardens and ‘open’ signs in shop windows is a welcome signal that we are on the way to recovery.

“Thanks to our world-leading vaccine programme, together with our £352billion package of economic support and the resilience of the British people, we can start to raise our sights and look ahead to the future.”

Households are sitting on a bumper savings pot built up as they have been unable to spend.

They have squirreled away an average of £7,100 per family and Mr Sunak believes the success of the jabs programme has given them confidence to go out and spend.

Drinkers have downed so many pints since restrictions were lifted that pubs faced a beer shortage for the May Day holiday weekend.

New data collected by the Treasury reveals that consumers are accelerating the drive to recovery as:

  • Diners flock to restaurants at two-thirds of 2019 levels — even though only outdoor service is yet available.
  • Town centre crowds are growing daily, with 70 per cent of customers regularly back in stores.
  • Shoppers go full throttle, spending a total of up to £3,500 a minute.
  • More cars hit the road than at any time in the past 13 months and
  • Bosses hire more staff as optimism for the future grows.

Buoyant analysts believe Britain is set for a “spectacular” boom, with the economy expected to grow at its fastest rate since the war.


The Chancellor hopes spending will crank up another gear in just 15 days’ time when pubs and restaurants are allowed to serve indoors and theatres, hotels and B&Bs can reopen.

And if the next step to lift lockdown on May 17 and final stage on June 21 go as planned, the real work of rebuilding the economy will begin for the Chancellor.

While many Brits have lost their jobs or are worse off because of the pandemic, higher earners and those working from home have saved substantial sums — nest eggs Mr Sunak hopes to tap into.

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