Cash-rich households and businesses are poised to supercharge the economic recovery this year as they spend their lockdown savings, the chancellor has said.

People have tucked away about £140 billion over the past year, £100 billion is sitting on corporate balance sheets, confidence has rebounded to pre-pandemic levels and activity is picking up quickly, Rishi Sunak told The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit.

“As we look forward to reopening over the coming weeks and months, there are signs to be cautiously optimistic and we can see that in the data. I’m hopeful that will be sustained through the rest of the year,” he said.

Sunak was speaking shortly after a private sector survey showed that UK factory activity had expanded at its fastest pace.