Forecasts that the UK could be facing the biggest economic slump for 300 years are a “real wake up call”, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis has said.

Forecasts that the UK could be facing the biggest economic slump for 300 years are a “real wake up call”, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis has said.
In what it called an illustrative scenario, the Bank of England said it saw a plunge of 14% in Britain’s economy in 2020 followed by 15%bounce-back in 2021.
Mr Lewis also said the British public should be cautious over newspaper stories that the government’s stay at home message to curb the spread of the coronavirus would be significantly changed in a review of the lockdown over the next few days.
“I would just say to people to not get too carried away with what we may be reading and just wait until the government guidelines and the prime minister’s statement,” Mr Lewis told the BBC.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will review coronavirus lockdown measures with ministers today ahead of an expected easing of restrictions next week.
He will chair a cabinet meeting which is likely to focus on what freedoms can be restored weeks after after the “draconian” measures were put in place on society to halt the spread of the virus.
Mr Johnson hinted he will announce a limited return to pre-pandemic life in an address to the nation on Sunday, with new measures set to come in as early as Monday.
Reports suggest changes could include unlimited exercise, the return of some sports, park picnics, and the opening of pub and cafe gardens – but people would still be required to remain two metres apart.
The move could also see the government scrap its “stay home” slogan, and encourage people to wear face coverings on public transport and in crowded places as some return to work, according to the Daily Telegraph.
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In an indication of the changed approach, Public Health England said it was “reviewing all communications materials in anticipation of moving to the next phase of the Government campaign”.
Meanwhile, UK opposition leaders have demanded an explanation for the decline in coronavirus testing, after the government missed its 100,000-a-day target for the fourth day in a row.
Labour said that the news “does not inspire confidence” in the plans to ease lockdown measures.
It came after Mr Johnson set a target for creating the capacity for 200,000 coronavirus tests a day by the end of the month.
Downing Street made clear the new target, unlike the previous goal, was related only to capacity rather than the number performed every day.
The government signalled it believed the route out of lockdown would rely on increased capacity as part of a test, track and trace programme, to quickly identify new cases of coronavirus and prevent the further spread of the infection.
Latest figures from the Department of Health showed 30,076 people had died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK, as of 5pm on Tuesday, up 649 from the day before.
But the total number of deaths involving Covid-19 that have been registered across the UK currently stands at 32,898.
It comes as a shipment of 400,000 gowns from Turkey has reportedly been impounded in a warehouse after falling short of UK standards.
The personal protective equipment (PPE) was flown into the UK by the RAF last month but has been held in a government warehouse near Heathrow, the Daily Telegraph said.
The paper said inspectors deemed the equipment to be faulty.
Issues over the supply of protective equipment such as gowns and masks for health workers have plagued the Government throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
The British government announced in April that it had managed to source a substantial supply of gowns from Turkey, which, after an initial delay, was flown back into the UK on 22 April.
However it has since been revealed that some of the equipment did not meet the required criteria to be suitable for use by frontline healthcare workers, the Telegraph reported.
It is not yet clear whether the UK government will pursue a refund over the order.
In a statement to the paper, the Department of Health and Social Care said: “This is a global pandemic with many countries procuring PPE, leading to shortages around the world, not just the UK.
“We are working night and day to source PPE internationally and domestically and brought together the NHS, industry and the Armed Forces to create a comprehensive PPE distribution network to deliver critical supplies to the front line.
“All deliveries of PPE are checked to ensure the equipment meets the safety and quality standards our frontline staff need. If equipment does not meet our specifications or pass our quality assurance processes, it is not distributed to the front line.” 
This morning Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said gowns that arrived from Turkey turned out to “not be of the quality that we feel is good enough for our frontline staff”.
Speaking on Sky News, Mr Lewis said: “Well when we’re securing PPE from around the world you do it based on a set of standards that you’re looking to acquire to, but obviously once it’s here we check that it is good enough for what we want to use and in this instance some of this PPE turned out not to be good enough.”
He continued: “There was a view that it was good enough PPE, it is only when it has got here that teams have looked at it again and taken a view that it is not up to the right standard and they’ve decided not to use it.
“I think it is right that if we have got particular standards for what we want our frontline staff to be able to have access to we make sure we stick to that.
“If something isn’t right, if we’re not even sure about it then I think it is better to be safe and not use that product and stick with products we are confident are the right products and the right standards.”