CABINET ministers have warned the country is staring at an unprecedented economic downturn as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

At yesterday's government briefing, Chancellor Rishi Sunak argued the UK was facing "a severe recession, the likes of which we haven't seen".

The announcement came as it was found more than 2.1 million people had submitted benefits claims in April – the highest level since 1996.

The government also urged the public to sign up for a job picking fruit and vegetables during the summer harvest – only for the ‘Pick for Britain‘ website to crash during the official launch by environment secretary George Eustice at the daily briefing.

Mr Eustice denied that Number 10 had 'put science to one side' to push for schools to reopen on June 1.