Ratings agency Moody’s cut the United Kingdom’s debt rating on Friday over the huge economic hit from the coronavirus crisis, Brexit and the lack of clear budget plans from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government.
Moody’s lowered the rating to “Aa3” from “Aa2,” putting Britain on the same level as Belgium and the Czech Republic.
The world’s sixth-biggest economy shrank by the most among Group of Seven nations in the second quarter and its public debt has topped 2 billion pounds, surpassing 100% of gross domestic product.
Moody’s said Britain’s growth had been “meaningfully weaker than expected and is likely to remain so in the future.”
Britain faced a sharper peak-to-trough contraction than any other Group of 20 economy due to the severity of its COVID-19 outbreak, the size of its services sector, hammered by social-distancing rules, and the risk of further outbreaks, it said.
The downgrade was another blow for Johnson who is under fire from opposition parties and lawmakers in his Conservative Party for his handling of the pandemic, which has killed more people in Britain than anywhere in Europe.