The message from the markets

Yesterday saw a further big sell off in world stock markets. The decision of Saudi Arabia to pump more oil and slash oil prices, after a failure to agree production cutbacks with Russia, was the new development demanding a fall. Most share markets fell around 8%. Oil companies accounted for much of the decline. The big lock down in Italy, still chasing the Covid19 virus, led to additional weakness in Italy as people contemplated the economic damage clamp downs on travel and events will do. The Italian share market fell 11% on the day.

Brent crude oil was down 21% on the day and down 40% from the February peak. Whilst this means less inflation and more spending power for other items it also means lean times for the oil, oil service and oil financing sectors if the oil price stays down and the price war continues.

More extraordinary was the new low in interest rates on government borrowing. In the UK the ten year borrowing rate slumped to 0.08% at one point, and the 50 year ended the day at just 0.39%. Germany can borrow for ten years at minus 0.85%.

The UK authorities need to respond with a good package of measures to see business and individuals through the difficult times created by the virus. Companies need tax holidays to ease cashflow pressures, and access to credit to enable them to pay wages and other bills whilst turnover is impaired.

Cutting interest rates is not a lot of use from here, as the 50 basis point Fed cut showed. The Bank of England needs to cancel its increase in capital buffers for a bit, make more money available through a Funding for lending scheme, and work with commercial banks to get businesses with a decent business model for the future through temporary interruptions to revenues. It needs to change its restrictive guidance to commercial banks. I was critical of the way the Bank of England slowed the U.K. economy too much by these tightening policies. The further impact of the virus on output makes cancelling these measures essential.

Individuals need a tax cut to boost their spending power.

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172 Comments

  1. Peter Wood
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    Good Morning,

    Markets are rattled by three unexpected events this is the fear factor effect, but remember most markets were at nose-bleed levels of valuation, so its not a bad as it seems.

    I read Mr. Frost and Mr Gove are to table the UK’s FTA before the next meeting with the EU. What a pleasant change! At last, our government are taking the initiative and, seem to be, carrying out our wishes and there promises. Good work!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 6:36 am | Permalink

      It is indeed a fear factor but however, unlike Climate Alarmism, it is not an irrational fear and it is only days off not 100 years.

      • Hope
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

        JR, I do not know how you have the bare faced cheek to talk about such issue without mentioning you were given a whopping 3.1 percent pay rise, £82,000, taking MPs to the top earning bracket, with tax exemptions, expenses, RPI pensions against CPI for everyone else. Even subsidized bars and food at our expense! Not a shred of embarrassment or apology for a part time unqualified job where for the last three years traitorous MPs have tried every trick/deceit to defy the will of the people. Eleven years on and still no substantive reform from the expense scandal where over half the MPs were over paid or fiddled their expenses! Any other organization would be shut down. Even the West Mids crime squad was shut down for less, they would appear angels by comparison.

        • Hope
          Posted March 10, 2020 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

          JR, what is the interest rate imposed by govt on student loans? I appreciate your govt gives free tuition to EU students at some of our top universities while imposing a life of debt to English students, where is your voice for speaking up for England! Sorry, I cannot hear you.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      The Italians are showing real existentialism, as have the Chinese, and reports are that the virus is basically under control in China – we will have to see though.

      The Italians are extending people’s loan repayment periods by statute, for instance.

      However, where, in the UK, is the public authority with the resources and staff to do what is needed here? There simply isn’t one is there?

      We’re not even checking people arriving on planes from Italy.

      That’s what you get when everything, by doctrine, is left to private fragmented, disparate, for-profit-only entities, run by bean-counters. There is no contingency nor resilience.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        What private companies are you complaining about?
        The main ones involved are Customs and Immigration and the NHS and they are State owned.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 10, 2020 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

          Let’s say that you need to throw up isolation hospitals or camps in a few days like the Chinese did. Or test every passenger, thousands, coming from infected parts.

          Which UK firm would be in a position to do that?

          That is my point, you could name dozens, none could do it, and the NHS can barely cope with normal demand.

          There is NO standing public protection authority resourced for contingencies. Other countries do have such things.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 10, 2020 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

            The Government will do it with help from the private sector companies.
            Why are trying to make an argument about private v public?
            China is a communist dictatorship.

          • Stred
            Posted March 11, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

            Someone has pointed out that the government line of contain etc is from an EU directive. It doesn’t fit with EU freedom of movement so they can’t stop planes flying from lockdown countries and so we stay in the first stage before daring to ignore the EU because we agreed to follow them until December 31. Every other country ignores them of course and closes the place down.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 11, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

            Will do it?

            By when?

          • Edward2
            Posted March 12, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

            It is doing it now.
            Don’t you have a TV or radio?

      • a-tracy
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

        Public Health England employs approximately 5,000 staff (full-time equivalent), who are mostly scientists, researchers and public health professionalsMartin, aren’t they the department making these decisions and reporting back to the Prime Minister for England? They are public sector aren’t they?

        Who are the for-profit entities you are referring to?

        I differ from you I believe that everything regarding this infection is left to public sector, not-for-profit sector run by thousands of people paid to take care of our health.

        Isn’t this devolved in Scotland and Wales?

        • Book
          Posted March 10, 2020 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

          Why do you think it wrong to pay people to look after the health of people? Don’t you get taken care of in shops by people paid to do so? You would be scared silly if you saw and witnessed some people who work for non-profit organisations. Working for a Government does not make you into a saint. In fact in a guaranteed job you may be surprised how this reduces good people into bad. I’d need
          to write many books to come close to explaining how this happens. We are not as perfect as we think we are nor how we may wish others to be. It’s hard becoming and staying good. Very easy to become bad.

          • a-tracy
            Posted March 11, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

            Book “Why do you think it wrong to pay people to look after the health of people?”

            I didn’t write that!!

            Martin is saying our health is protected by the for profit private sector and I don’t believe it is.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

        what planes? – its in lockdown….

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 10, 2020 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

          The ones that Nigel Farage was complaining about until very recently.

      • acorn
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        Two “links” in a just-in-time (JIT) telecoms “supply chain”, were telling me last evening, that they were short of components from their suppliers to fill an unexpected order occasioned by these volatile times.

        The suppliers were rationing stocks to customers which they thought was a bad show. (No, they were not French made face masks for the NHS.) I asked, did you not know that JIT implies that nobody in the supply chain holds stock unless the rest of the chain pays for it.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 11, 2020 at 10:51 am | Permalink

          Having spent decades in industry where JIT was routine I can tell you acorn you are wrong on your idea about JIT and there being no stock unless the rest of the chain pays for it.
          JOT is about the end user having little or no stock but the rest of the chain is under contract usually with financial penalty to deliver as scheduled.
          Therefore the chain below the end user hold some stock.
          Sometimes to reduce transport costs suppliers will rent space in the end users factory and put stock in there.

      • Word smite
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

        “The Italians are showing real existentialism” Let’s hope they get a plumber to fix it

      • Darwin aaahcch
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

        We should recall now, now in particular, the media years ago telling us that “the Italian and French diet is supreme.” “It is a healthy diet. “It is to be recommended” “Even the use of wine at meals is good and healthy”
        “Children in France are only given dilute wine, but they drink red wine and this is good for the heart”
        We will see who is left standing after this viral attack!

  2. agricola
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    Yes very uncertain times. I do not think businesses or individuals will be inclined to spend on anything but essentials. Were credit to be made more available for survival projects let it be at rates currently only enjoyed by government. Even if we in the UK get CV under control it is the rest of the World that impacts on our economy.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I would not advance personal tax cuts until we are on the other side of fear and staying close to home.

      Maybe relax inheritance tax a bit.

  3. Tabulazero
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    I think you are wrong. Monetary policy alone won’t save you from the virus. Decreasing capital buffers will not find you a cure.

    It’s beyond central bankers’ remit to solve, let alone in a single country.

    What could restaure confidence is a global and coordinated effort that include a large dollop of fiscal stimulus.

    The corona virus knows no borders. Neither should its response.

    Of course, a ore-existing political and legal construct would help coordinate such a response across the Continent. What is it called again ?

    • formula57
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      @ Tabulazero – So whilst you acknowledge ” …corona virus knows no borders. Neither should its response” you nonetheless want only “…a response across the Continent” not the world!

      What could account for your warped, illogical view that denies your own reasoning?

    • acorn
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      It is times like this when laissez faire neoliberal market capitalists, all of a sudden want big government Keynesian socialist intervention, to bail them out of the soft and brown; just like 2008.

      • Richard1
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        Laissez-faire free marketeers (I don’t know what ‘neoliberal’ means) would have said banks should be restructured at the expense of their shareholders and creditors instead of getting a socialist bail out. And indeed that the socialistic borrow and spend, regulatory and monetary manipulation which caused the debt build up should never have happened in the first place.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    Indeed the restrictions and red tape on bank lending are doing huge damage. The banks are also getting away with huge margins and fees and are very slow to approve anything. For example, on buy to let lending they only look at rental income from the property (in the condition you buy it) and ignore your other income (investment or earned) leading to them often lending 40% or less of the property value what on earth is the logic for this? Not help of course by the absurd taxation of landlords whereby they are taxed on profits they have not made which is totally unsustainable.

    The restrictions and red tape on lending to landlords with several properties mean several banks will simply not lend to them at all – this as it is just too much hassle for them. HSBC, I understand, will not lend on properties with any commercial parts unless the lending is for several £million. They will not even renew existing loans in this position (not even at any price it seems) forcing people to remortgage at large expense. Loan often no limited to 5 years with new fees, valuation and costs at renewal.

    Development capital is expensive and has very restrictive terms and surveyor inspection and other large costs attached too.

  5. Iain Gill
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    I am reading the tweets from doctors in Italy first hand.
    This is much worse than we are being led to believe.
    We need much more drastic decisions and immediately.
    Boris is being badly advised.
    John, read similar tweets, get educated.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      NHS should buy any medical ventilators sitting in warehouses, as saving people is constrained by how many of those are available.

      Mandate reduction in recirculating cabin air in planes.

      Get local production of face masks and cleaning gel started, state intervention if needed to take over facilities to force it.

      Prepare for shortages of stuff made in Italy and China etc.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      Indeed we will need thousands of more ICU bed and ventilators in about two weeks time and even more in four weeks time and more agains in six weeks time. Prepare to a face a war time situation. Forget HS2, COP26, climate alarmism and almost everything else and get on with getting the ICU, ventilators and the likes organised now.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        yes indeed!

      • Emperor to be
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic, no disrespect to your good self and others but if you are all to be taken as seriously as you seem to think, and I note media input into your conclusions, then I had better be appointed Lord Protector of the UK right now.

  6. Stred
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile, the government is pressing on with IR35 and will make many small businesses unviable. These are the ones that the NHS hopes to be persuaded to work from home but now they will have to work full time for big business or manage without sick pay.

  7. Mick
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8092023/Britain-produce-draft-EU-free-trade-deal-post-Brexit-talks-Brussels-nine-days.html
    They don’t like it up them do they Mr Mannering , the Eu know we have the upper hand now thank god it isn’t Mrs May or Mr Cameron as PM now or any of the other looser parties leader , as for the reduced price of oil I bet it’s not reflected at the pumps very soon

  8. Ian Wragg
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    The virus should make Brexit easier. It removes any leverage that Barnier thought he had.
    Under no circumstances should it be used as an excuse to delay.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      If this country carries on as it is doing towards a mass epidemic, whilst the Mainland controls the disease, then the UK could end up in a de facto blockade.

      Think about that.

      • Matt
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

        We haven’t blockaded Italy or France during their crises.

        Think about that.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 11, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink

          Italy has blockaded itself, to its credit.

          • a-tracy
            Posted March 12, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

            No it didn’t Martin it gave everyone 24 hours to leave and those with the virus returned to their own Countries to spread the covid19 far and wide, especially to Countries like Romania where a lot of the workforce in Italy are from.

            Italy have been very selfish, they knew they were at our stage over 3 weeks ago, yet they didn’t want to stop the ski trade, another 3 surgeons in Edinburgh with it returning from Italy just last week!

    • Fred H
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Due to the risks of transmission I think the talks should be abandoned and UK should walk away to FTA NOW.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

        Yes, Fred, and how many lives would that save?

  9. BW
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    No Sir John. The Tories have a new idea. Let’s invent a 2.5% tax for the over forty’s to pay for “social care” even better, let’s extend the tax to pensioners at the same time allowing local councils to fleece home owners for a social care levy. If we are going to discriminate on age. Can I have a refund as I don’t use the schools, i don’t want to pay for other people’s kids. I don’t want to contribute to child benefit. Or child care. Where is my discount. In the words of St Greta of Thumberg, how very dare you ask pensioners who have paid all their lives to pay again, from ridiculous pensions whilst giving money away in foreign aid and anyone who jumps of s truck at Dover

    • Hope
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      We already pay for social adult care as one the add ons to our community charge! We also pay an add on for flood defense! On top of a whopping 5 percent increase two years running against the Tory govt promise to freeze it! Then we pay for the environment Agency through our taxes! Tory govt is a party of high tax and waste, in fact the highest taxation for fifty years! JR wants more debt which means more taxes because someone has to pay it back!

  10. DOMINIC
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    This obsession with State control of all events. Rather than slashing income tax and releasing the private sector to do its own thing, the focus is entirely on what the State can do. Well, the State can step back, stop wasting huge amounts of cash on pathetic grandstanding projects and free-up the wealth creating sector of the economy

    The Tory party and its politicians are infected by Keynesian ideology because like Labour they cannot step back and accept the fact that economic activity fluctuates. This is not a political issue, it is an economic issue and yet politicians feel a compulsion to intervene continually for fearing of being seen NOT to be doing anything. Well, there is nothing you can do except reform that which you can control (which you refuse to do cos it’s way too difficult and cumbersome)

    Constant political intervention in all things will eventually destroy all that we are. I have slowly come to the conclusion that politics is a cancer. A virus as deadly as C-19. It infects all our lives with its poison. We wake up to it, we see it on tv all day on hear it on the radio and then we sleep to escape from it

    Cut personal and business tax. Reduce burdens on the wealth creators. Reform the parasitic, fat arsed, wastrel that is the political State

  11. Mark B
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Individuals need a tax cut to boost their spending power.

    Whilst I am all for tax cuts and reductions in reflations (Climate Change Act !) I suggested recently that giving people ‘time limited’ spending vouchers would also be better. I mention it again as I am sure people would use this more than just simply have a few extra pounds in their pockets. I recently conducted an online survey. My reward was a link to a code that I could use to redeem a voucher from any number of retailers. I chose M&S as I wanted to buy something from them.

    Companies can also use vouchers as a tax free way to reward employees.

    Companies need tax holidays . . .

    What about having no tax on the first £5,0000 for SME’s ? They could then build up small cash reserves that would see them through hard times like these.

    • Hope
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      Mark, how about a tax break in our energy bills by getting rid of the heading obligation to the environment i.e. Wind farms! Govt gives winter fuel payments to those undeserving but punishes the poor in their energy bill!

      Slid under the radar was the selling of steel industry in Scunthorpe to a Chinese company! Hinkley, Haewei appears to be a deliberate govt and/or civil service strategic drive to promote the Chinese road and belt project where the U.K. will be under obligation to a powerful China who holds the strings to U.K. Critical infrastructure. What on earth is your govt thinking! China is not an ally the US is. Glad IDS and co held out against Oliver Dryden over Haewei. Force more backbenchers to rebel against this idiotic drive for China to own our critical infrastructure.

      I also not China, India, Germany all failing their Paris agreement promises, not legally binding, by building airports and coal fired power stations, again, what on earth is your govt thinking about the economic green lunacy it is championing? Same for transgender tripe the Relationship and sex education act being brought in this September.

  12. Javelin
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    The average age of death is over 80 in Italy where the average age is 47. The economy is stopping to save the lives of people who are older than the average longetivty.

    Very few productive workers will die. There will be a recession and a huge drop in taxes which will impact the country for the next decade.

    Is it worth it?

    • Javelin
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      17,000 people on average die each year in the UK from the flu. If we all isolate it will be lower than in an average year.

      I have been following this story since it first broke (back in December) long before most people heard of it. My curiosity has been replaced by pragmatism. Which is where most people will be in 2 months.

      I think people over 70 need to stay in doors and we all need to support older people. But that is it. Worst case we would have triple the flu deaths of people who would die anyway Over the next few years it would average out.

      The question is why are the media blowing this up and will we be getting this panic every year.

      • SM
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        As a 75yr old, I totally agree with you. We are all going to die of something, and if you’ve lived as long as I and my friends have, you’ve been lucky. Other than palliative care if possible, medical assistance at this time should concentrate on the young and those of working age.

      • Hope
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

        Javelin, I agree.

        I despair that the govt does not check people from Iran or Italy hotspots is beyond my comprehension- how about airport contamination? We are an island different from countries with land borders.

        • margaret howard
          Posted March 11, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

          Hope

          “We are an island different from countries with land borders.”

          Oh really? I see our own health minister has got it now. I heard a doctor on tv last night say that we might well be in the same boat as Italy in a couple of weeks time.

          This ‘we are special’ claim by people like you is ludicrous. Being an island didn’t protect us from previous epidemics like the Black Death or Spanish Flu.

          In this day of air travel and of people world wide being very mobile no country is out of reach. Living in cloud cuckoo land doesn’t help.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        We are over 70 and trying to stay indoors. Would Andy like to visit and leave food, hand washing material and loo rolls, please? He doesn’t need to collect our pensions that go into the bank, which hasn’t collapsed yet.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

        I think the number is nearer 30,000 dying from flu.
        This is never mentioned as it doesn’t fit the narrative
        Who gains from all this panic

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

        I actually saw a 1 min news clip today about Turkey/Syria conflict, everythink else was coronavirus…the news media are loving this

        UK 297 active cases (just over 2 double decker buses)

      • Cheshire Girl
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

        I am way over 70, and in the high risk group. I’m not so worried for myself, but I am worried for my Son who suffers from asthma, and works in London in an office of 500 people. He travels on the tube every day.

        It should be remembered that young people who have underlying health problems are at risk too.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

        Javelin, do you realise that the total home casualties over the years of the WWII Blitz were about 45,000?

        Credible estimates put the number of fatalities from coronavirus at of the order of ten times that, and over a shorter time period.

        This is no trivial matter, and I think that the public are to be commended on their generally calm response.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      Reflect on the peak age of Tory/Leave voters, and then ask yourself the same question.

      • Richard1
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

        What a foolish post I’m surprised our host allowed it through.

        • Andy
          Posted March 10, 2020 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

          It is not foolish. It is fact.

          Coronavirus appears to not be fatal for young children.

          It has a death rate of between 0.2 and 0.4% for under 50s.

          That rises above 1% for over 50s.

          2.5% for over 60s.

          7.5% for over 70s.

          15% for over 80s.

          I doubt the Tories would be particularly bothered if it were killing young people. But it will kill off their voters so they care.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 11, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

            Well that’s a new low for you Andy.

    • Stred
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      According to the Italian doctor who put his opinion out to be widely reported, he is also treating a lot of younger people who have to lie face down while given oxygen and blood transfusions. I just had to explain this and the fact that Germany, France and Spain will be in the same position as Italy in a few weeks to a young family member who has decided to fly off to his favourite place on the Med.

      • margaret howard
        Posted March 11, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

        Stred

        As I wrote above according to a doctor on TV last night we shall be in the same position as Italy in a couple of weeks time. No time to be smug and complacent.

  13. Lifelogic
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    Despite all this the Today Programme is still talking drivel about net zero carbon right now. Do they not have any sense of priority?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      Some chap called Guy Newey, who apparently advised Amber Rudd and Greg Clark. Not sure if he has a science or engineering background but it did not sound that he understood very much about the topic to me. Other than perhaps the politics of it. The BBC interviewer, of course, knew even less.

  14. jerry
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    “Individuals need a tax cut to boost their spending power. “

    The easiest, and fairest, way of doing that is a cut in VAT, a 5% (or what ever) cut in income related taxes to someone not paying such taxes is a zero % cut and leaves their spending power no better off.

    The next best tax to cut would be fuel duty, whilst it might not lower check-out prices in the shops it will help manufactures and distributes directly and via greater spending power to the consumer.

    How to pay for these temporary reductions, well a start might be cancelling HS2 and its £100bn plus price tag…

    • jerry
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      OT; That news conference No.10 held yesterday regarding the Covid-19 update was an utter omni-shambles of mixed messages, we should not be worried, large events can carry on for now, but expect large increases in confirmed cases in the weeks to come -what a surprise!

      Then when, rather than if, the nation goes to the next phase those (households?) who show even the mildest of symptoms -that could simply be a common cold or the Covid-19 virus- should self-isolate for 7 or more days, but people should not be stockpiling household supplies to tied them over for such a period, so how many will go shopping on what should have been day-one of their isolation.

      Anyone know which cupboard joined-up thinking was placed in back in May 2015…

      • Stred
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

        I liked the bit about it being better to have peak chaos in the summer when the NHS isn’t so busy. It could have come from a Soviet management handbook.

        • Matt
          Posted March 10, 2020 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

          I think the plan is to have a nation wide measles party.

  15. Everhopeful
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Are we going to play the flu game every year now?
    All this talk of “isolation” sits strangely on the shoulders of a regime that has encouraged kids to take their antibiotics into school ( rather than being tucked up in bed) and held draconian, you-will-lose-your-job “back to work interviews”.
    It is said that flights from locked down Italy and wherever else are still landing and that anarchists and the like are cheering on the stock market fall. And hoping for worse!!
    So who is pressing the “Panic Now” button in a country that is steeped in seasonal flu experience?
    And why? And as ever… who benefits?
    All this has a very familiar feel to me…like the three years of parliamentary chaos for example!

  16. Andy
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    How could this market fall happen? .

    We left the EU. Those of you who blamed Europe for all of our economic woes are now in sole charge.

    It’s taken you just 38 days since Brexit Day to crash the markets.

    No doubt you will blame somebody else.

    Except that is not how it work. Brexiteers are in charge. This is your fault.

    • Edward2
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      What a ridiculous post Andy.
      The markets of EU member nations have been affected too.
      You see every event through your obsession with Brexit.

    • Stred
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Are you alright? Not feeling hot and confused? If so dial 111 and they will explain about the Bat virus.

    • Richard1
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      Of course sorry I hadn’t thought of that. the US ended 7% down yesterday as well. i guess that was because they aren’t in the EU? but then the DAX was down 9% yesterday also even though Germany is in the EU – what can be going on?!

    • Bob
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      @Andy
      So you’re suggesting that Brexit is responsible for global stock market falls?
      Really?

      Your ridiculous comments waste valuable space on this blog.

    • Longinus
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      ‘How could this market fall happen?’

      You are not very bright. Watch some news and educate yourself.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      Andy, the country seems to me to be being run by the Institute Of Economic Affairs and by those other so-called think tanks with whom they share a building.

      Euro-hostility is just one pillar of their common ideology, and given the present public health emergency, it’s probably not the most damaging – which is truly saying something.

      The country has no public protection authority with the resources and staff in reserve to deal with this, unlike many countries. It would be against the doctrines of the above for such a thing to be allowed to exist.

      The recent markets crash is a global reaction to this, but it certainly isn’t easy to see how the UK’s leaving the European Union is helping one tiny bit.

      Yes, the party of Government is no longer in any reasonable sense Conservative. It is The Brexit Party.

      • Andy
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        Indeed Martin. It is funny watching them all struggle.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

        Your last sentence……if only.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

        More nonsense from you.
        Most think tanks are pro EU.

        And how can you have a huge public protection force sat on standby doing nothing for decades waiting for today’s virus.
        Quite ridiculous.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 11, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

          Ask how the countries that do – not huge but considerable – do that, Edward.

          It’s a question of having reserve in public services generally, and contingency strategies, and not cutting everything to the bone, quite simply.

          Two out of three NHS beds have closed since 1979.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 12, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

            Which countries have such spare capacity on stand by?
            Name them.

            And due to clinical advances numbers of beds needed have reduced.
            Operations can be done now on an out patient basis or day or two stay, that way back in 1979 meant weeks in hospital.

      • margaret howard
        Posted March 11, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

        Martin

        They tried to blame EU directives for the flood disasters hitting parts of this country. An EU ban on dredging etc caused it.

        Nobody could answer my question as to how EU countries like Holland manage to keep their country from disappearing beneath the sea. The only excuse I heard was that Holland ignored the directives.

        A likely story. I suggested that water authorities spent too much on outrageous executive salaries.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 12, 2020 at 11:12 am | Permalink

          I answered you twice on that Margaret.
          Dutch flood defence are sea defences.
          Different to the issue you are talking about in the UK which is river based floods.

          The Dutch built their defences many decades ago.
          Some are over a hundred years old.
          The EU Water Directive came into power in 2000
          And it is concerned with streams lakes rivers and reservoirs.

    • graham1946
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      Today:
      FTSE 100 UP 1.15 %
      Euronext (Europe) 100 DOWN 1.40%
      CAC40 (France))DOWN 1.51%
      DAX (Germany) DOWN 1.41%
      Swiss MI – UP 0.62%

      There has been a sweeping sell off in the EU in the worst plunge since 2008. Explain that please. I know you don’t do facts, just EU propaganda and Twitter opinion.

    • Doug Powell
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      Andy old friend, I think we can all appreciate the hell you are going through right now! – Having to dwell among the rubble of the Remain cause with only remoaning, remoaning and remoaning ad infinitum to give you any solace. I have to be perfectly honest and say that you are in danger of becoming a very embittered old man well before your time!
      I think you have to be positive mon brave – and I mean this with all sincerity – perhaps you should consider quitting the UK and spending more time with the EU, because the UK will never join the EU again! Once Brexit is up and firing on all cylinders, more countries will be leaving! Best wishes old mate on whatever you decide to do.

      • Andy
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

        I can’t go to live in the EU. You stole that right for me.

        Brexit is a pathetic mess. An entire predictable pathetic mess.

        No other country will leave. They have seen what a hash you have made of it.

        And we will inevitably rejoin. Under 50s overwhelmingly reject Brexit – and all we need to do to undo it is to wait for demographics to work their course.

        • Matt
          Posted March 11, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

          Clearly you’re not qualified enough to live in the EU.

        • Doug Powell
          Posted March 11, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

          Andy, like all remoaners, you lack imagination. What about illegal immigration or asylum seeking to the EU? Get yourself an inflatable and paddle your way across the Channel, or La Manche, as you would not doubt prefer. That land flowing with milk and honey should be drawing you like a magnet. I’m sure you would be welcomed with open arms in Vonderleyen Land! You would be regarded as a hero – an EU treasure! They would probably strike a Euro coin in your honour!
          Courage mon Brave! Start working on your paddling technique! Bon voyage!

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 11, 2020 at 10:00 am | Permalink

          At least the French have had the good sense to refute Nigel Lawson’s claim that he had citizenship there, the last that I read.

          What enlightened, modern country wants backward-looking people like that amongst their number?

        • Edward2
          Posted March 11, 2020 at 10:56 am | Permalink

          You can go and live in the EU
          Don’t be ridiculous.

      • margaret howard
        Posted March 11, 2020 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        Doug Powell

        “perhaps you should consider quitting the UK and spending more time with the EU,”

        Not that worn out old chestnut again. You never manage to address any of the issues we Remainers raise, just silly little platitudes.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 11, 2020 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

          I think it a perfectly reasonable thing to say.
          It is obvious that you and Andy and Martin hate your own country, its institutions, its history and the majority of people in it.
          So if I were one of you, I would go and live somewhere else.

    • Andy
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      It’s all so confusing.

      In 2007/8 – there was a big banking crash in America which destroyed large parts of tbt global economy and led to a huge debt crisis in many countries and mass unemployment. Especially in places like Greece and Spain. And you have all been blaming this on the EU.

      Now we have left the EU you all claim Brexit has nothing to do with this week’s market crash. Staggering.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

        The markets reacted to the economic effects of the virus.
        They reacted to brexit ages ago.

      • Matt
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

        “And you have all been blaming this on the EU.”

        Your fevered imagination at work again.

        More stewed bat, anyone ?

  17. DOMINIC
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Why do you assume a tax cut would be used to finance spending? And herein lies the fundamental mindset of the contemporary political class. A constant political drive to force up spending to promote political fortunes of political parties.

    We don’t live our social and economic lives to suit the needs of politicians and political parties.

    Your party should by its very nature be cutting all forms of tax as a consequence of your beliefs and convictions not as some form of favour dished up once in a while to boost your public profile in the media.

    The Tory party and its politicians are confused in what they now believe. Many prefer to spend all that they can to curry media favour and prevent negative headlines from public sector vested interests. If only the private sector had access to the media and our very own TV and press outlet to force politicians to bend to our will. While the public sector can threaten strike action and then call in favours from the BBC to bash the Tory party the private sector must remain silent and take it on the chin

    Your capitulation to the parasitic public sector monster will destroy this nation’s ability to self generate our wealth that pays all the bills.

    And we never hear Tories attack public sector waste and abuse. That tells me all I need to know about the morally bankrupt Tory party

  18. villaking
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Sir John,
    I agree that helping SMEs with short term liquidity will be the most pressing concern. We deal with an Italian supplier of a key raw material and they are not answering the phone at the moment. We expect to be unable to produce anything in about 4 weeks with devastating potential consequences. I would also like to see short term stimulus from putting more money into people’s pockets but this needs to be aimed at the poorest in society with the highest propensity to consume – increased tax credits and other benefits for example

  19. Kevin
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    “make more money available through a Funding for lending scheme”

    I disagree with this suggestion. As I commented recently, after this scheme was launched in August 2012, it was claimed that it had an immediate and devastating impact on the savings market by allowing banks to ignore the latter, borrowing cheaply from the BoE instead. In other words, as I understand it, it meant that the banks could obtain “created money” from the BoE instead of paying a market rate for savers’ hard-earned nest eggs.

    You wrote recently, “We can argue about the wisdom of individual measures”.

    Please do that.

  20. BW
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Talking about tax. I see my council tax has risen by 4.2 %. However the council element is 3.99%. Without the add ons. I wonder why I am I paying more to the police when they have closed my police station and we have lost our local bobbies. And why am I paying more to the fire authorities who failed to provide the figures to Sir John. It is the same as going into a cafe, asking for a bacon sandwich however leave the bacon out and charge me double.

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      Those are very good questions.

      I am paying for a Police and Crime Commissioner. I don’t recall voting for one. More to the point – has it reduced crime!

    • Matt
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

      I also wonder why I am paying more for reduced services when 5000 extra households are now in our vicinity.

      A lot more council tax payers than before (or are there ? Hmm.)

      Interestingly as this area has become more London-ified the crime rate has shot up, just as the police have been withdrawn. Exquisite !

  21. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    I’m afraid we may as well have voted for Corbyn. A wise man can not advise a fool and I’m afraid you are the wise man ….

  22. Horatio
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    South Korean friends flew into Heathrow yesterday, from South Kotea. No checks. Why were the flights even allowed?

    Italian neighbours flew in yesterday, no checks. Why were the flights even allowed?

    Most of those sick in Leeds caught the virus from someone flying from iran on a flight that shouldve been cancelled. No checks on landing.

    Singapore and Australia have banned all flights from affected areas and despite being very close commercially and geographically to China have stabilised infection numbers. The US despite its size and population have relatively few infected due to gov enforced flight restrictions.

    Now the gov is telling the British people to be prepared to ‘do the right thing’ and self isolate etc. I work for a ftse 100; Weve had internal and external travel bans, like most of our peers, for 2 weeks. John, we are a bloody island! Why cant the gov do the right thing and protect its people?

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      It is my feeling that this virus will only go away when we are all dead, vaccinated or immune to it.

      It is now out of the box and in circulation.

      We might as well speed the exposure and recovery so banning flights only slows down our exposure. The vaccine is not coming for a year or so.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

      Horatio it’s been a truly pathetic response from the government. Still it should save them on pension payouts and that will suit Andy.

  23. Lifelogic
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    You say “Individuals need a tax cut to boost their spending power”. Indeed they do but equally important is to simplify taxes and cut the endless red tape that binds and inconveniences the productive ever more tightly. The vastly increase in the burden of compliance costs and time wasted (on unproductive activity) is huge. I must spend as long on this as I do on productive activity – I could probably be twice as productive without this. Many of my staff would be far more productive too.

    I quite like Lisa Nandy (well compared to the rest of the dire Labour MPs). But why does she want to lead the Labour Party? Watching her trying to defend men being allowed to self identify as women and compete at sport/weight lifting/(chess even perhaps?), with Piers Morgan just now, made her look totally ridiculous. Absolutely hilarious to watch.

    What planet are the Labour Party now on? They are surely done for whatever leader they come up with.

    • Jiminyjim
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      Oh, don’t be so negative! They’ve always got Andy and Martin in C to support them

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        Plus a few daft academics, civil servants and the luvvies I suppose.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

        They’ve got about eighty more MPs than the Tories had in 1997, and without Scotland too.

        A week is a long, long time in politics, as Johnson is learning.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 12, 2020 at 11:17 am | Permalink

          If you check back on British election statistics you will see the likelihood is, the Conservatives will go on to match Labour under Blair and Brown who won three elections in succession.
          Rarely is a majority of 80 overturned at the next election.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      I too liked Lisa Nandy until she started campaigning for the labour leadership – she is going momentum native

  24. Man of Kent
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Watched the Boris press conference on corona virus yesterday .
    The two scientists were excellent ,putting facts in perspective and counselling against panic moves .
    Boris was serious and supportive .
    What a refreshing change from ‘discussion ‘ on the Climate Crisis where science has been sidelined and superstition is accepted as fact .

    If only we could have a healthy public debate on Climate facts we would see how little has changed and that for the better.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      Why did no journalist ask them how they were going to get the thousands of extra ICU beds, staff and ventilators in place within a couple of weeks? Surely that was the most important question.

      • anon
        Posted March 12, 2020 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

        Not having extra 1000’s of these already ready and available, whilst allowing uncontrolled flights to and from hotpots was a grave error.

        It will lead to rationing of intensive care , high dependency care and many will die simply because of the numbers presenting with ANY circumstances that require temporary but serious resource intensive care.

        Information has been available now for weeks if not months.

        Inaction why?

  25. Richard1
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    If they can get away with it in the markets I suggest the issue of some massive 50 or even 100 year bonds, partly to push out the maturity of current debt and perhaps also to take the cost of projects like HS2 and other major infrastructure, so those are covered.

    • Bob
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Set up an HS2 corporation and allow them to fund the project with money from private investors instead of taxpayers.

      It could approach Dragon’s Den for support?
      That would be worth watching, unlike most of BBC’s programs.

      • Richard1
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        Unfortunately I do not think private capital would be available (unless with subsidies / guarantees such as are given to windmills) for HS2.

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

        correct….the limpet test for all government projects…could the private sector do this and if not why not

        If a private company wants to build a railway, runway or a bridge let them

  26. Matt
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    I have had the BBC on for half an hour so far. It is nothing but coronavirus – wall-to-wall.

    If this is not going to stoke panic in life and in markets then I don’t know what is. The tabloids have done nothing but show us pictures of people bunging toilet rolls in trollies for the past few weeks – then have the nerve to write editorials telling us not to stockpile.

    I’m not panicking about the coronovirus, but I’m starting to panic about the panic !

    “Is there anything you can do to stop panic ?” Sally Nugent just now.

    Yes.

    Stop talking about it 24/7

    • Matt
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      PS Can a boy get a job as a news presenter or sports reporter ever again ? All I hear and see is women reporters.

      • Reaction Harry
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

        It’s probably not just coincidence, but as factual news has given way to values and emotions, the jobs have been taken over by women. The programs have become variations on a theme of Woman’s Hour.

        But if your heart is set on becoming a “news” reporter, why not just identify as a woman and you should straight in?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        Indeed on the BBC it is now rather rare to see a male scientist, engineer or construction worker. This despite the fact that circa 80%+ of these people are male. Kahn now even wants misogyny to be a hate crime. I wonder what his definition of misogyny would be? Of course having this as a crime without having misandry as a crime would be hugely sexist and open to legal challenge.

        Then we can all be guilty of a crime and locked up.

    • Jiminyjim
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      It could be worse. Yesterday, Rory Stewart was calling for the schools to be shut and all self-isolators to have their salaries paid by the government. To think that we came within a whisker of having this man as PM!

  27. Nig l
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    A tax cut to boost my spending power. Actually to hand over to the local authority to pay for yet another above inflation increase including the all cost/no value Police Commissioner.

    Or above inflation rail increases or allegedly an increase in fuel duty.

    Very clever. Pass down costs/reduce budgets and then you can blame someone else.

    When you start to reduce the overall tax take, your comments in this subject will start to have some credulity as will the government.

    • hefner
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      credibility, not credulity

  28. Matt
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    I find it disturbing that we are allowing people back in from a virus hot spot and lock-down without even basic checks and without putting people into isolation.

    – Huawei (American officials now openly talking as though we are already no longer members of Five Eyes)

    – failing to visit a flood crisis

    Now this.

    We could be witnessing the worst Prime Minister in British history and that takes some doing.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      Boris caused it to rain! That’s a stretch.

      The Environment Agency chose under directions from Brussels to abandon dredging. It was decreed we have to return flood plains back to their traditional wetlands. Also bearing in mind that 20% of all homes built in the areas in question since 2010 have been built on flood plains. In the Somerset Levels the locals have ignored this requirement, gone back to normal and hey-ho no flooding.

      I agree with you on the unchecked inflows from abroad.

    • Robert Mcdonald
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Well we haven’t had a war yet, especially on the basis of a lie and a Dr Kelly. Plus we haven’t destroyed our pension schemes and sold off our gold at knock down prices. Plus,of course, we haven’t spent all our money … ok, I know there’s a yet in there but still a long way to go until Boris is the worst PM … and then of course there’s May.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      He and Hancock will not be that popular when the “very well prepared for this crisis NHS” has 10 or even 50 people fighting for each ventilator or ICU bed!

      • Stred
        Posted March 11, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

        Apparently the NHS only has thirty in England and Wales. Now that it’s died down in China maybe wr could het hold of some secondhand equipment.

    • Longinus
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      You don’t remember Blair, May and Brown then?

      • Fred H
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

        possibly even Cameron?

    • Matt
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

      Losing membership of 5 Eyes is a post Brexit disaster and indicative of the sort of trade deal we’re now going to get with the US and others.

      What remains of our pensions are being eyed up.

      We haven’t been to war because President Trump has turned out to be the most un war like President in a very long time.

  29. a-tracy
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    All you have to do John is perhaps pay the Statutory Sick Pay bill for those affected by the Virus as a one-off claim from businesses that complete the claim form.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      The government has now money other than what it taxes of individuals or businesses anyway. Or that it borrows and is then paid back by them later. So they get the bill either way anyway.

  30. Bob
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    A couple of ideas:
    – Suspend business rates.
    – Restore the employers right to deduct statutory sick pay from their NICs payments.

  31. formula57
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    The markets’ messages are not necessarily coherent: futures today apparently imply a thousand point rise in the Dow on opening because Trump proposed a payroll tax break.

    The markets nonetheless message swiftly and decisively. It is the pity of the world that our Government has passed by so many opportunities to do so in ways that will adequately educate and hence properly prepare the public.

  32. glen cullen
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    The only thing that was stable yesterday was the petrol pump prices at forecourts…they didn’t fall

    • Bob
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      Yes, the fuel prices react very quickly to oil price rises, but price falls seem to have a delayed effected. Isn’t that strange?

  33. BW
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Another note on tax. Why when the population has grown by 10000 in Wokingham with astronomical development has my council tax gone up at all. The council must be raking it in from every house that is built with the only outlay is to empty the bins. Of course garden waste has become an “add on” now. Soon so will pot hole filling. Yes I am angry.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      Simple, you now have what in everyway is a Socialist Council. As socialists it is about protecting themselves from the likes of self reliant individual’s like yourself who has the cheek to question their validity.

      Expensive garden waste! just try taking something to your council tip then you will really get ripped off. My neighbor, a neighborly sole found rubbish dumped on the footpath outside his home one morning. As a good citizen he though I will take it to the tip as I am going that way. At the tip it was thankyou Sir that will be £5.00.

      The council has made fly tipping the modern reality. It doesn’t cost them as much to clean up as they receive in additional fees from honest citizens – so quid’s in. That’s the New ultra left wing Wokingham Council.

      It is the same thinking behind high parking charges, the new ever powerful parking wardens. Money, money, money we need it so we can waste it.

      • hefner
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

        Wokingham Borough Council, 29 Conservatives, 15 LibDems, 4 Labour, 3 Independents. Does that make it ‘the New ultra left wing’ council?

        And if you paid £5.00 to bring stuff to Re3, I would guess that is just because you have never taken the time to register with Re3: for most stuff, it is free once your have the badge on the car.

        • Ian@Barkham
          Posted March 11, 2020 at 5:41 am | Permalink

          I am well aware of the political score card. Yet Wokingham has moved from being one of the country’s lowest cost, most efficient dynamic organisations, on to a high cost ‘ no interest’ in the community council. You could even suggest that it is more about putting the WOKE into Wokingham. So hence the sarcasm of their never ending left wing sense of purpose.

          The Re3, is reinterpreted at time of disposal, with the priority on money, relating to ‘BW’s opening comment over the councils runaway money grabbing attitude that no longer affords the community with any benefit.

        • Fred H
          Posted March 11, 2020 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

          badges no longer accepted, in fact will be confiscated – driving licence or utility bill required for your address.

    • Fred H
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      An analysis of Section 106 builder contributions paying for what would be interesting?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      All those gold plated pensions, high salaries and team bonding holidays for bureaucratic pen pushers to be paid out. Quick go and hand some more parking ticket out.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

      BW. Agree. We have new housing estates going up and the council have relinquished all responsibility for the green areas, roads and pavements. There is no lighting. We have lampposts where we live but the lights are permanently off. Our council taxes keep rising. Why? They have mire money but we get less services. Our ditches are full so our roads flood. Our gutters never get cleaned and weeds are on the kerbside. The whole area is a mess. We are supposed to be a wealthy country but it doesn’t look like it.

  34. Stred
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    The Evening Standard is reporting the opinion of the expert on epidemics, a Mr Balloux, that the UK will be in a similar situation to Italy in about three weeks time. The chief medical officer said during the press conference with Boris that there was little point in stopping large meetings like football matches because one person carrying the disease could only infect s small number of people, whereas one person in a small group could infect most of them. This seems to be illogical as the proportion of the infected people going to the large meeting is likely to be the same as the small meeting and many infectious people would attend and pass the disease to many more. Perhaps it is the scientists who are advising Boris who deserve the name of the aforementioned expert.

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      Stred, well if we are projected to follow the outcome in Italy in three weeks time with the hindsight that this affords us what sensible advice should we follow to reduce the UKs infection rate problem for the most affected age group e.g.

      Should we not visit our elderly relatives over 65 years of age that can cope alone without our care for a fortnight or three weeks whether we have symptoms or not?

      Should the retired with underlying illness (rui) (or we on their behalf) order their food on-line for doorstep delivery so they can isolate themselves right now? Could Asda or Morrisons or Aldi provide this service quickly to more people?

      In London should the rui cease using public transport and socialising for a fortnight? Isn’t it more sensible that they self-isolate over children?

      • Stred
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

        Whoever delivers the grub, to containers should be disinfected because the virus can survive om hard plastic or cardboard surfaces. Courtesy of my Scottish medical mate.

        • a-tracy
          Posted March 11, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

          Actually most over 65’s I know have freezers and have been stocking up food items enough for a couple of weeks without shopping.

          The self-isolating could wear gloves to unload their food and wash fruit and vegetables, cooking should kill most virus, it is better than doing nothing at all and watching the whole thing fall over.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      Of course the UK will almost certainly be in the Italian position in a couple of weeks barring some miracle. The much vaunted circa 1% mortality rate could will rise very substantially if there are perhaps 10 to 50 patients fighting for each ventilator, medical staff or ICU bed.

      Still we are assured that the NHS is superbly well prepared. We need to prepare almost for a war in a week or two and I am not convinced at all that the government and NHS is up to it.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted March 10, 2020 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        @LL you have written several times about the likely lack of beds yet for the previous year(s) you have complained about taxes going to the NHS and accused them of killing patients. You ahve even said that health is best left to the private sector (which it is in some cases).

        Private medical companies would not have ICU beds spare any more than the NHS – resourced to under peak demand in the winter – has.

        This is an event which only government is big enough to respond to, the NHS will not have enough beds, the Italian hospitals don’t have enough beds, China had to build 16 hospitals which were overflowing.

        Getting this disease early, if you can only get it once, could be an advantage while there are still beds.

        But please don’t complain @LL you would not have wanted your tax going to empty beds waiting for this to happen whatever you now say in hindsight.

        • Stred
          Posted March 11, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

          Why not requisition Cathedrals, churches, mosques, synagogues and temples. They won’t be needed after lock down. Rapid funerals and cremation services could be offered at special low charges.

        • Mitchel
          Posted March 11, 2020 at 11:09 am | Permalink

          This morning the Chinese Xinhua news agency announced that those 16 temporary hospitals have now been closed.

    • forthurst
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      Have you any idea as a London commuter with how many different people you would come into close proximity in enclosed spaces every morning and night? Obviously not. A high proportion of London commuters live outside London because most of the housing there is now occupied by the third world so every dormitory town will become infected too.

  35. graham1946
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    It’s just an excuse. Big investors want a shakeout so they sell off and make profits, forcing prices down. Small investors panic and sell off instead of holding their nerve and lose a packet. Later the big investors hoover up all the under priced shares and prices go up again for big profits. Small investors come back in paying the higher prices and the merry-go-round starts again.Most of the big firms are no worse than they were last week, though some like airlines will take a hit whilst other will do well. It is always thus.

    I went shopping yesterday expecting a quiet day, but the shops were bursting at the seams and it was difficult finding a parking place. There were no empty shelves in the discounters. They always seem to have plenty of staff loading the shelves whereas the big Supermarkets seem to load once a day. I long ago gave up on the big Supermarkets, except for things I can’t get elsewhere as the shelves are often empty on a Monday. Have complained to head office but they don’t even acknowledge complaints. They do not have any conception of customer service and deserve what they are now getting.

    • Fake words
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      I should not have been able to predict the “crash” would set off the next day with money buying shares. But I knew it would. If it was a physical crash of a car, that would be it. It would not miraculously become viable again within hours and not touched at all by a mechanic

  36. Ian @Barkham
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    I do find amusing how we accept things. Oil’s price is controlled by a cartel, the EU level playing field is the creation and maintaining of a cartel – cartel in disguise to get around WTO rules On and on it goes.

    Cartels are mechanisms were the biggest least efficient leviathan’s seek to stymie competition. If you are small dynamic and a better provider, the cartel will get you.

    Enterprising innovative start ups have their wings clipped incase they show the cartels’ how it should be done

    It may seem off at a tangent, our high streets are suffering. People blame the high business rates. Business rates are configured so that the smaller you are the greater percentage of turn over, income etc. you pay. In practice the bigger you are the more you get to freeload on the small guy. So in essence government has a downer on the enterprising self supporting members of society. The Government is playing the contrived cartel administrator.

    A free market doesn’t mean things should be done without the same but fair contribution for all, its not about freeloading on the endeavors of others. A free market is when there are no artificial barriers to trade.

    On the Markets them selves, they should never been seen as a reflection of anything. They function as a result of rumour. In a nutshell no movement no earnings. It doesn’t matter if its up or down to the brokers, it is movement that causes income. No movement they go broke.

    • Sulky worker
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      “I do find amusing how we accept things.” Oh so you’ve noticed too. So much work we do is wasted or working for false objectives. “What is the point of me doing this..?” One hears that sigh so often even in private companies. There isn’t a point except you are obeying orders even though they do not profit anyone and sometimes actually make the opposite.

  37. Gordon Merrett
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    With borrowing rates so low why does the treasury not raise loans to buy out the “Brown” Hospital PPI contracts. This would save the NHS millions.

    If we are still paying higher rates on other loans buy them out as well.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      That would make sense “if” they have a good and honest negotiator to agree a sensible deal!

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      Gordon

      Why stop at hospitals

      Review and refinance everything, if you can get credit at near to zero. !

    • Stred
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Because big business including banks find the PFI rates very profitable.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

      excellent idea

  38. BillM
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Lower priced Petrol and Diesel. Now will Joe Public still stay with that green agenda which will inevitable bring the country to a standstill??

  39. Lifelogic
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Airlines forced to fly almost empty planes to avoid losing slots by government rules! We are rules by idiots. They endlessly tell us want us to cut our energy use and yet they force empty flight to fly and gost trains to run? If they really wanted to cut energy use they should insist they are all nearly full and all economy class. Will no private jets or helicopters allowed.

    But the government clearly do not really believe in climate alarmist they just pretend to.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      And force us to put and an absurd H in ghost!

  40. Elli Ron
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    The 21% fall in Brent crude must be un-welcome news to the SNP, who rely on oil revenues for their grand independence.
    The green lobby is probably furious with the lower pump prices, so where is that “peak oil” moment coming?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      The alarmist used to say it would all be gone by the end of the last century in the eighties (this after they had stopped threatening us with a new ice age they had predicted).

  41. Lifelogic
    Posted March 10, 2020 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    So let’s make Misogyny a Hate Crime Khan now tells us the London Tube is perfectly safe and they are cleaning it with ‘hospital grade’ cleaning products. What a joke this man is. Are they cleaning the air and all the other passengers too. Does he expect us to believe this tosh?

    • formula57
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      So trust and confidence are eroded, all the worse for management of this crisis.

      The Government ought to rebut these lies before its own messages are disregarded.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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