Cushioning the economic impact of the virus measures

It s time to take stronger economic action to offset the impact government measures against the virus around the world, along with  consumer behaviour is now having on jobs and  business.

It is clear that as the virus spreads so people cancel travel plans, hotels, restaurants and pubs lose clients, cultural and sporting events are stopped, business and academic conferences  abandoned and  discretionary shopping and tourism fall substantially.

Let us take a bad case of what could happen. Let us suppose that the  20% of our economy most exposed to these activities that lose out from closures and loss of customers  are in  trouble for four months. Let us guess that they lose a large 50% of their revenue on average. They are likely to lose more turnover than businesses do in a typical recession, as in some cases what they do is simply banned and in other cases consumers walk away from them in big numbers.  

This would mean a fall of 3.3% in annual GDP just from the impact on the most vulnerable 20% of the economy. There would then be second round effects. These businesses would shed labour quickly as they try to stem their cash losses. Some will go bust with every employee losing their job. This then means lower incomes for people to spend on other things, and a further loss of consumer and investment confidence.

What could be done to reduce this bad outcome? The government could step in with temporary help for employees working for basically sound businesses that have experienced a big loss of turnover thanks only to the special circumstances of the virus.  It could be like the German temporary reduced working scheme which has got through state aid tests.

The terms might be that the government will pay a specified quite high percentage of the wage bill for a company that was profitable up to the end of January, but has faced a fall of more than say  50% of turnover since thanks either to the virus putting off customers or from bans and closures required by law. This would be a grant, available for a limited period related to the progress of the virus. It would be conditional on the business not taking on any extra employees during  that period, and not making anyone redundant. The business would otherwise  be loss making.

It is most important that say a good hotel in a town or city can keep its core staff together during a period of much reduced bookings to be available again for the recovery once we have an all clear from the virus. Putting more businesses through bankruptcy is not a good idea if they are sound businesses for the future damaged by this one off extraordinary event. Bankruptcy puts the costs of the employees onto the state anyway when they lose their jobs, and makes recovery for them and for business more difficult afterwards.

The new facilities to lend to business, and the capacity of the Treasury to delay tax payments are both very helpful to many businesses hit by the virus slowdown. They will not be sufficient for the businesses at the sharp edge of the problems, as their revenues fall too much to survive just on  more loans and deferred tax.

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234 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    Indeed and the banks are still very unhelpful (I contacted three last week) also very slow indeed to approve any lending. Plus now that the banks charge 40% to 78% or 200+ times base rate on overdrafts thanks to the idiots at the FCA, we cannot even use those facilities. What has the new FCA/BoE chap got to say about this lunacy the silence is deafening.

    Many Businesses will need long term loans to tide them over this period, then they might come out with the same business but with this large debt to slowly repay when they finally get up and running again. But many will liquidate and default on the debt. Many tenant will be unable to pay rents, landlords already being mugged by the government new tax regime will be unable to pay loans.

    One huge problem is the rather evil credit reference agencies who report on every loan payment. Missing one loan payment (due to these temporary cash flow difficulties) can debar you from credit even though you have plenty of net assets and are perfectly credit worthy. Computer says no mate and no ones sensible looks at the full picture.

    • Man of Kent
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      I don’t know about the banks being unhelpful ,but government certainly is .
      I am now downsizing and have a buyer , the lawyers are at work and in normal times we would expect to move out at the end of April .

      Being comfortably over the 70 limit we are now faced with a four month delay .
      And who knows if it will end there.
      Our estate agent who has done a good job will have their commission delayed . The lawyer ditto . Viewings of a new property will be delayed too .
      And our costs will not fall .

      What a mess !
      It feels as though the Government is buying time at my expense to get extra ventilators which they had assured us were all in place . ‘ The NHS is ready ‘

      • Hope
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        Germany – the one who called unilaterally for mass immigration to the EU- closed its borders to five neighboring countries today, despite EU rules. As did other EU countries.

        Why did the U.K. not do the same back in January? We are an island FFS. Do we have anyone with balls to do the right thing for our citizens even if it goes against EU rules etc? We read people passed through U.K. to get to US untested!

        JR, suggest you read articles in Con Woman today. Govt policy makes no sense.

        Beware, the left and remainers will expose this crisis to over turn govt or leaving the EU.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 17, 2020 at 11:21 am | Permalink

          No, Germany did not call for mass unlawful immigration to the European Union and has been foremost in efforts to stop it – since a majority want to go to Germany, not here as is wrongly often suggested.

          Mrs. Merkel merely stated the numbers with which they could cope if needed, and offered to help Italy and Greece in an outstanding display of solidarity. This has been relentlessly and cynically misrepresented ever since of course.

          The Schengen agreement provides for the emergency closure of borders too, so no rule is broken there.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 17, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

            Twaddle.
            Merkel sent out a call to welcome a million immigrants.
            And they arrived.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 17, 2020 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

            Could you please give a dated quote from her on that?

            She in fact recommended that those already in Greece and in Italy came to Germany because they could cope better than those two countries.

            That was a magnificent gesture, cynically misrepresented by the gutter media in this country and in the US, and by people like you.

            Incidentally Germany processes these applicants, and grants residence to about one in forty. The rest are returned whence they came where that can be identified.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 17, 2020 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

            You do the research.
            It is all out there.
            First you deny it ever happened.
            Then you say it was a magnificent gesture.
            Hilarious as usual.

          • margaret howard
            Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

            Edward2

            “You do the research”

            You are obviously admitting that you can’t provide the evidence because you made it up.

            Not hilarious but cowardly.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 18, 2020 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

            Look it up.
            This isn’t an academic research site.
            It was headline news when Merkel made speeches saying she wanted a million to come to Germany.
            And over a million came in just over a year.
            Everyone knows about it.
            Dont be silly Margaret.
            Stop the denial.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      This is displacement activity.

      It would be better to concentrate on getting volunteers and all other available effort to convert those commandeered hotels into hospitals.

      I’m up for it.

      Are you?

      • Hope
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 8:54 am | Permalink

        MPs receive £82,000 a year plus expenses, tax exemptions, for a part time unqualified job that has no productive value for our country whatsoever. Yet the self employed, entrepreneurs, strivers and savers will suffer greatly.

        Those who betrayed the taxpaying public like Letwin and co suffered no consequence for their treacherous behavior to our country but a gold plated taxpayers funded RPI pension denied to everyone else.

        Your Govt want to waste billions on foreign aid waste hundreds of billions to HS2 , an EU project, Haewei etc.

        We read yeasterday in Con Home that the Permanent Secretary to Transport knew three weeks before speaking to the select committee that the govt target of spending £52 billion was 83 percent higher than that figure given to the select committee! She should be sacked. No golden goodbye, sacked. The accurate figure should have been given, no purpose having a select committee otherwise, no scrutiny can take place. Deliberate lie, incompetent mistake or whatever she should be sacked. Same for Rutman and figures for Windrush given to Rudd- two civil servants moved on- no they should be sacked. Civil service needs purging it is not doing its job and creates mistrust from the public.

        • Richard1
          Posted March 16, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

          Of course MPs have productive value. We live in a representative democracy, so we need representatives. If we did not have MPs to make laws and scrutinise the work of ministers we would presumably have to make ad hoc arrangements ourselves, using lawyers, consultants or journalists, to do the work!

          • Hope
            Posted March 16, 2020 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

            Richard,
            Oh please, they are whipped to vote and add very little to what they are told to do.

            302 MPs were overpaid or fiddled their expenses in 2009, any other organization would be shut down. We were promised radical reforms, Clegg wanted the gates of Westminster shut until changes were made.

            We were promised a vast reduction in number. If you included the Lords we have the second highest amount of politicians to China! How many of the 850 Lords represent Joe Public on a day to day basis? Productivity, value for money my arse.

          • forthurst
            Posted March 16, 2020 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

            We do not live anywhere of the sort. First Past the Post eliminates choice and perpetuates failure like this failing flailing government.

        • SM
          Posted March 16, 2020 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

          Ah, but that Permanent Secretary’s reply was the finest tribute to Sir Humphrey one has heard in a very long time!

        • steve
          Posted March 16, 2020 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

          Hope

          “Civil service needs purging it is not doing its job and creates mistrust from the public.”

          That’s certainly true, but there is a bigger picture to this virus stuff…….we’re being had over, big time. The Civil Service is just a small cog in the machine.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

        who do I recommend you get an MBE to?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 16, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

          What, another?

          • Fred H
            Posted March 16, 2020 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

            congratulations. For services to what my I ask?

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 17, 2020 at 11:25 am | Permalink

            Misleading gullible internet commenters.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 17, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

            Arise Sir Martin.

      • steve
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

        MiC

        Damn good idea !

    • Hope
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      JR, why stop traveling now when most of us wanted bans to travel to and from China two months ago? We wanted bans on hotspots or at least testing. A bit like the horse bolted and shutting the door too late! You told us last week under point three it would not stop it coming here, but the govt strategy was to slow it down!

      It is clear the Govt wanted us to catch it accepting some will die.

      Look after and isolate those most vulnerable and carry on as normal is the way forward, otherwise there will not be enough people to cope and everyone will become tribal with chaos and civil disobedience to follow.

      • Hope
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

        Suggest mass immigration is stopped forthwith. It has already overwhelmed our NHS before this crisis.

      • Mitchel
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        More reports of a pick-up in China from Bloomberg Singapore over the weekend re demand for oil through the Russia-China(ESPO) pipeline:

        “Despite the expected massive supply,oil pumped in Russia’s Far East-ESPO-is getting a big boost on rising Chinese demand.Spot premium differential surged to over $3/bbl from low of 40c this week.”

      • Northern Monkey
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

        “It is clear the Govt wanted us to catch it accepting some will die”

        Or, more reasonably, the government realised that there was no way to stop the majority of the population catching Corona virus and knew that some would die, but in attempting to achieve herd immunity before health services are overwhelmed, as they are in Italy currently, sought to minimise the exposure to this virus for the most vulnerable in society.

      • steve
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        Hope

        “It is clear the Govt wanted us to catch it accepting some will die.”

        Yep, that’s about right. In the value of lives vs businessman’s profit….look which way the scales were tipped.

        • Northern Monkey
          Posted March 17, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

          Where’s the “fisherman’s profit” in any of this?

          You are ridiculous.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      So deaths are now up to 53 (a rise of 36% in just 24 hours) at this rate rise it might be about 450 by next Monday with perhaps 4500 plus needing intensive care. How many will get the care they need?

      Two weeks on Monday perhaps even as many as 200,000 dead and two million needing care? Perhaps even more then (as by then so few will get the care they need) from the NHS.

      The government has made a huge mistake in taking too little action to delay the infection and the NHS was contrary to reassurances given not remotely well prepared.

      Even today the government has hugely under reacted in my opinion.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

        Boris said this afternoon the “cases could double every 5 or 6 days”. The death rate has just gone up 36% in just one day! Which is doubling in under 2 days rather a huge difference and the rate is probably still accelerating!

        Can these people not think or do sums?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

        Boris said this afternoon the “cases could double every 5 or 6 days”. The death rate has just gone up 36% in just one day! Which is doubling in under 2 days and thus 8 times in six days – rather a huge difference and the rate is probably still accelerating too Boris.

        Can people in government not do sums or think?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 17, 2020 at 11:32 am | Permalink

          I agree with your comments on this.

          What worries me particularly is the way that the media seem to be ignoring the news from China and from South Korea, which would otherwise throw into stark relief the defeatism and fatalism of this government.

      • Oldsalt
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic-
        Agreed

  2. Ian Wilson
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    I am pleased to see your proposals as large-scale business failures and redundancies could themselves trigger stress related illness and deaths including a possible surge in suicides. It would be tragic if draconian action to combat the Covid 19, which still kills a fraction of ‘flu deaths, caused more deaths than it saves.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      I don’t think that the population are as gullible as politicians think.
      Went out on a birthday bash last night and restaurant was packed.
      Everyone asking for Corona beer.
      Most seem to think that it’s being hyped out of all proportions.
      Who’s gaining from the hysteria.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

        Yes that is my experience too – where I live in London the pubs and restaurants are definitely much busier than usual especially early in the evening – my guess is that lots of people “working” from home are taking the opportunity to go out socialising.

      • jerry
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 7:45 am | Permalink

        @Ian Wragg; “Went out on a birthday bash last night and restaurant was packed. Everyone asking for Corona beer.”

        Well yes there are always those optimistic (or foolhardy) soles who think it won’t happen to me, after all some back in 1939 not only though it would be all over by Christmas but didn’t take ARP etc seriously at all.

      • zorro
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 8:00 am | Permalink

        Cui bono from the money printing…..

        zorro

        • Ian Wragg
          Posted March 16, 2020 at 8:41 am | Permalink

          Cui bono indeed. Follow the money. This will be used to impose OWG but some will refuse to play.

          • Mitchel
            Posted March 16, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

            Far from a western fantasy one world government coming into being ,this is the collapse of the west and it’s already much-debauched financial system.Step forward China and Russia.

      • bill brown
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        Ian Wragg

        Wake up there is no hysteria this is real and now.
        even if you do not realise it

      • Northern Monkey
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

        I’m almost tickled that you believe that gullibility is a factor as to who catches this virus.

        Those brave, or foolhardy, souls out living high like it’s a hoax may well be healthy enough to survive. I hope their parents and grandparents and any sick children are equally lucky.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      You are both very wrong there really is a wolf at the door as Matt Ridley put it. If the numbers go up even at just 50% per day then 1.5^21 is about x 5000. So 20 deaths today so far today gives 200,000 deaths in three weeks!

      The hospitals will be unable to cope which could mean the mortality rate goes up to 8% or so from perhaps 1/2%.

      So 7.5% of the deaths could in that scenario have been avoided.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        Precisely.

        And all the professional opinion is the same, along with WHO’s.

        When a government ignores such informed advice, nay pleading, and the result is death on a huge scale, does that not amount to a crime in the eyes of the international community?

        I have a feeling that it does.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

        Sorry I meant 20 death today means 100,000 deaths in three weeks.

      • steve
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        LL

        “So 20 deaths today so far today gives 200,000 deaths in three weeks!”

        and Boris Johnson let the damn thing in. Something isn’t right here.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    A thought experiment:

    What is we nearly all hibernated or went went to ground for a few months, all interest payments, HP, lease, mortgage, rent payment were suspended for this time then we all wake up when we have the vaccine and resume where we left off. Everyone and every business would be in roughly the same position as when they went to sleep! True they might need a tiny bit of food, water and heat but not much else and it is getting warmer now.

    Obviously the people developing the vaccine/cures would work through it all and the medical workers to take care of those that are already infected.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 6:06 am | Permalink

      Many people could do with losing a stone or so too.

      • James1
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink

        Covid-19 is beginning to look like the biggest threat we have had to face since Hitler. It would be helpful if the government assisted in the production of a vaccine by removing any bureaucratic red tape surrounding the approvals procedure.

        • Alison
          Posted March 16, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

          The clinical tests of any vaccine need to be adequate to ensure that every member of the population is not vaccinated with something that might cause another major clinical problem

          • Lifelogic
            Posted March 16, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

            Indeed but which is the lower risk?

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 16, 2020 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

            You need to vaccinate about 95% of the population, most of whom are in good health.

            So it has to be ultra-safe.

            Vaccines can, in principle, go wrong in terrible ways.

            Alison should be heard, I think.

          • Stred
            Posted March 17, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

            Some company in parts of the world with less stringent testing protocols will be testing on humans sooner than expected. The rewards for the first reasonably safe vaccines will be enormous.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 16, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

          Indeed. Perhaps spend the many hundreds of £billions they piss down the drain on HS2 and the climate alarmist lunacy on trying to get a vaccine or other treatments much more quickly and on getting some ventilators, masks etc into hospitals now.

        • Richard1
          Posted March 16, 2020 at 11:03 am | Permalink

          there are legal cases still in the courts due to side-effects from vaccines rushed through in response to the SARS epidemic.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      I was thinking the same thing. Our business isn’t affected right now, and we are continuing as normal except for a travel and visitor ban.
      The government will have a tax receipt hole, but they could offset that in part by suspending foreign aid and rationing public sector pensions.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        Indeed a special tax on public sector pensions of say 90% of anything over £20K. Doubtless the MPs would exempt themselves from this!

      • Sea Warrior
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

        Yep – foreign aid should be suspended. But the government will lack the common-sense to do the obvious.

  4. bill brown
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    Sir JR

    You are absolutely right we need massive government support for businesses to survive at this stage or we will end up having a major employment problem on our hands shortly

  5. ed2
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    Who in the government is leaking utter garbage to the papers about 8 million people being in the hospital? We know why they are doing it John, to scare us. Because that is what the government has been upto, most of them around the world and it has to stop.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      Ed2,

      This is a clear worse case scenario that is simple to calculate and may well result as people do not follow the Govt’s advice. The media already disrupted the clarity of last Thursday’s message and presumably have no intention to change.

    • Andy
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      They are telling you it because it’s true.

      As a worst case scenario one in eight will end up in hospital. Not all at the same time of course. But as a worst case scenario one in eight of us ends up very sick. Just think about that for a moment.

      You should be scared. Somebody you know will die. Somebody I know will die. It may be me. It may be you.

      The biggest risk we face is complacency. And those of you who dismiss this are a threat to the rest of us.

      • ed2
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

        I am not scared Andy and we all die in the end (and the fearful do not get into heaven), the book of Revelation says!

      • Everhopeful
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

        Yes Andy and you want to see Western civilisation crash.
        Or at least you think you do!

        • Andy
          Posted March 16, 2020 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

          I don’t. You just don’t get out of your echo chamber much.

      • ed2
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

        They are even telling us now “Coronavirus to last to spring 2021”, how they know that? Its barely started yet. There are lots of bugs going about. Is that written into the script?

        • miami.mode
          Posted March 16, 2020 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

          What baffles me, ed, is that the govt claims to be following the science, but how come the science from many other nations tells them to have some sort of lockdown?

      • Matt
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        I’m not being complacent. I’m hoping that the death rate predictions are wrong because most people who have it are not being counted.

        South Korea has done a lot of counting and their Foreign Minister tells us this has stabilise the death rate. I venture that this is wrong end of the telescope stuff and that proper counting has revealed the truth about the mortality rate of CV.

        It hits hard and in one rush, it seems.

        If we go into lock-down we face economic depression with a far higher mortality rate – something which looks like the Thunbergist return to subsistence living that many advocate.

      • Czerwonadupa
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

        Would they be the same forecasters as the ones who forecasted Project Fear 3 years ago?

  6. Lifelogic
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    Boris should alas have said:- I have to level with you, many of you will lose loved ones before their time. Many of these could clearly have been kept alive but for the fact that the NHS has about 1/40 of the number of ventilators it may need, it will also be short of drugs, oxygen, staff, protective clothing and masks. When ministered said the NHS was very well prepared and it would “get everything it needs” and Kahn said the tube was safe – they were clearly lying. Through this governments abject failure to take serious measures early enough, to slow down the spread of this infection (and to make good these shortages in the NHS using this extra time as best we could) we have made this situation far, far worse than it needed to be.

    Still we will lock down as far as we can do immediately – and make the best of it. After it is all over we will look at the old Pandemic Plans that the government and NHS had and wonder why to was totally inadequate and calculate how many people died due to the lack of NHS capacity, lack of equipment and total failure to react quickly enough to control the spread.

    • villaking
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      So now you want the government to tax, borrow and spend in the public sector? Exactly the opposite position to the one you usually rant about on here. Funny how a crisis close to home can change your world view in a heartbeat.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

        Well having left us with a virtual state monopoly health care system and in this dire “virtual war time” situation that is all we can now do.

        Had we had a more diverse healthcare system we would be in a rather better position and with rather more hospital capacity.

        I am not in favour of tax borrow in piss down the drain which is about 50% of current government activity. I am not against all government activity.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      The NHS struggles along a mere £170 billion pa. I don’t know why we expect anything of it! Obviously after this ‘pandemic’ (remember that 39,ooo people in the U.K. die from sepsis each year, so Coronavirus has a way to go to get on level pegging even with sepsis) the NHS will require very much more money!

  7. Not Bob
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    All the world’s globalist leaders are falling ill and calling for more global cooperation hmmmm, thats not suspicious then lol?

    • zorro
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      Justin got there first… what do you feel about this in your bones?

      zorro

      • Not Bob
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

        All the usual players involved in staged events are being used. The MSM are putting out the hoax code.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

        Agree!

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Aye, co-operation is a terrible thing.

      Far better to be at each other’s throats with wars, embargoes, epidemics and the rest eh?

  8. ed2
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    John thinks the economy is just about to go down the plug hole. So millions die from the effects of poverty, not the virus, due to the media hysteria?

  9. Mark B
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    I wonder what the government of 1939-45 did when business were bombed out of existence and people stopped buying because they had to take shelter or live by their ration card ? But back then they kept calm and just carried on.

    It is just the flu with a death rate lower than those killed on our roads. By comparison 100 years ago Spanish Flu was killing people by the millions.

    Stop using this minor drama to waste more money.

    • BeebTax
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      Back then, vast numbers of people were mobilised for the war effort: in the armed services, civil defence, munitions factories, the “land army” etc. In this way they continued to receive salaries. So I think our host’s suggestion of supporting salaries is a sensible one to plan for, and quickly.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

        Yes but we are not at war.
        We used to live in a civilised country that could take care of its sick and injured.
        Now it is a hotbed of trickery, subterfuge and hidden agendas.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      Fewer than 2000 killed on the roads PA in the UK. This virus might well kill 400,000 and even more if the NHS do not get their ventilators and equipment in place as mortality might go up 8% or so!

      The only good news is that it is not killing many people under 60 only about 3% in Italy we under 60 unlike the Spanish flu. One question to ask is why can we use this knowledge in some way to save more lives can the immune systems of the elderly be stimulated in some way or something.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

        Apparently the virus is more likely to attack cells which have been altered by Ace inhibitors mostly used ( I believe) for heart disease and diabetes and mostly taken by older people. Increased risk therefore.
        Pneumonia jabs might not be a bad idea ( although that may not be correct) and anyway I believe we are out of vaccine??
        Also apparently some research suggests that overuse of aspirin, then not fully understood, in 1918 pandemic led to many deaths.
        Let us not forget that still ( advice on daily dose) aspirin still causes more than 3,000 deaths a year in the UK and all NHS errors cause around 22,000.
        Paneconomicdemic.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 16, 2020 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

          Yes, very interesting point about the ACE suppressors taken by many elderly.

          The French have warned about anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen and maybe aspirin too.

          I once took paracetamol for a very painful and persistent sore throat, and it would not improve at all until I stopped the painkillers, at which point it cleared up very quickly. I have never forgotten that.

  10. Andy
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    You’re going soft! Jeremy Corbyn would be proud of such a policy.

    I thought Conservatives liked a dog eat dog world.

    If you lose your job – tough. Get on your bike, as Tebbitt said, find another one.

    Go and claim Universal Credit instead.

    Seriously, though. This will be the biggest economic crisis in history. Entire sectors could collapse. Much more radical action is needed. Nothing short of guaranteeing all businesses and all wages until the crisis is over.

    • acorn
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      We are all Keynesian socialists now. I am surprised how quickly the capitalists have run to the government with the begging bowl.

      All of a sudden the neoliberals have stopped demanding an end to big government tax spend and piss down the drain; get government out of the way; leave it to the private sector wealth creators.

      Now they demand big government intervention and open access to the magic money tree. How come the private sector has so little resilience to cope with a crisis.?

      • Everhopeful
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        Acorn
        I suspect that is the WHOLE point!

      • Richard1
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 11:07 am | Permalink

        What a silly post. economic activity is being deliberately suppressed as a public health measure. the govt is therefore seeking to take action to counter-balance this. it is nothing to do with becoming a Keynesian socialist. Not that Keynes was a socialist. Many of the people who invoke his name could do with reading what Keynes actually wrote.

        • acorn
          Posted March 16, 2020 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

          So how is the government performing this “counter balance” if it not straight out of Keynes’s manual on how to use a fiscal injection into a sovereign fiat currency economy, to overcome a necessarily engineered demand side slump (usually called a world war; pass the ration book)?

          Unfortunately it is difficult to operate the UK on a “closed economy” basis, when it is heavily dependent on imports from suppliers in other currency areas. Personally, I would extend the Brexit transition period for another year or two.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

        How come the private sector has so little resilience to cope with a crisis?

        Because the government taxes and regulates them to death at every turn. They also kill most private sector medical care by providing it free at the point of use. Hard to compete with free. So we are left with the state monopoly NHS and little else.

        • acorn
          Posted March 16, 2020 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

          Did you know that 60% of personal bankruptcies in the USA are down to non-payment of private sector medical bills?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 16, 2020 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

          No, it’s because companies are in a race to the bottom with each other.

          And the public sector is compelled by doctrine to function as if it were in that race too.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 17, 2020 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

            More nonsense from you.
            The race to the bottom happens in socialist nightmare nations like Venezuela Cuba USSR and Zimbabwe.
            In the democratic countries customers demand ever higher standards and they get it.
            The best companies survive and prosper.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      You can only mean a Command Economy.

      Yes, it might come to that.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

        Bet you can’t wait Comrade Martin.

    • Edward2
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      How can you “get on your bike” if the Government bans you from doing so or by law closes your business?

  11. DOMINIC
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    What a convenient political event this is. Some may believe it’s a primarily a medical issue. I believe it’s primarily a political event of some importance. Almost a watershed in the relationship between the private person and a political State that sees a once in a lifetime opportunity to assert total control.

    There’s now more than one virus at work

    • zorro
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      I think more and more people are looking at the facts and seeing the bigger picture…

      zorro

    • Everhopeful
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      If I had written that it would have languished in moderation or been disappeared.
      But I agree with you!

    • Matt
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      Well I saw footage last night of an old lady in great distress left to sit on a step outside of a first world hospital (Spain.) She was gasping for breath, surrounded by her adult children having just lost her husband to CV.

      She was deemed not ill enough to be in the hospital. She wasn’t even being given sedatives. I never thought I would see the likes of this.

      While I think the overall death rate of CV is exaggerated because of flawed counting (most people with it are not reported) the initial hit is big and overwhelming.

      I don’t think any government could have contrived that scenario.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      +1

  12. Roger Phillips
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Is it not time that the banks Etc were told to freeze mortgage and loan payments for people in isolation? If this doesn’t happen then people will simply ignore it due to financial pressures.

    • Bob
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      A good time also to abolish the TV Licence and avoid all those potential super carriers from TVLA going into the homes of 75 year olds to investigate their TV viewing habits.

  13. The Prangwizard
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    The EU is breaking up. Look at how the individual countries are pulling up the drawbridge. If their leaders believed in the EU they would keep their borders open and think as one, but they are returning to being nations, in spite of pleas from the EU leadership to defend the Project.

    A house built on sand.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      Indeed and this not even a real war! Thanks goodness we are leaving. Do not let anyone delay/extend using the corona virus as the ruse as Alistair Darling wants to.

      Much talk on the BBC about manufacturing mechanical ventilators quickly. It was obvious this was needed month about but better late than never! They were going on about patent and design rights and medical certification! – Who on earth cares about that just get them build, supplied and working OK, train people to use them and ague about details like that later! Same for the drugs and other things needed. The mortality rate can clearly rise to very high levels (8% or so) if this medical intervention is not available.

      Must be lots of basic oxygen masks sitting on all those unused aircraft sitting about I suppose.

    • margaret howard
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      The Prangwizard

      “The EU is breaking up. Look at how the individual countries are pulling up the drawbridge”

      A bit like here with Scotland, Ireland, Wales all following their own paths?

      No doubt a precursor to the eventual Scottish/Irish independence vote and rejoining of the EU as independent members. It’s a near certainty . After all it was a union imposed on the people through war and ruthless power politics unlike EU membership.

    • Thomas E
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      It’s an interesting observation that the median age for intensive care treatment in Italian wards is 65 years old.

      Is it possible that in light of overstretched facilities doctors routinely choose to prioritize care for younger people?

      If ventilation isn’t available for younger people, is it possible or even likely that fatality rates might be substantially higher than predicted?

      Is it possible that this is a health emergency for younger people too?

      Why is it that countries with significantly more experience of SARS and MERS epidemics are using substantially different approaches than the ones proposed for the UK?

    • Stred
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      No sooner has the failed German defence minister now running the EU told everyone that closing borders between members is verboten than Germany has closed its borders.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        No one has said that it is forbidden, indeed the Schengen Agreement provides for closure under these conditions anyway.

      • bill brown
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 1:30 am | Permalink

        Stred,

        Read the fine print before you come out with such statements

        • Stred
          Posted March 17, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

          Please forward to Dyson development centre.Mrs von Whatsit should have read the fine print, allowing counties to close borders in an emergency, before she told them not to.

          • Stred
            Posted March 17, 2020 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

            Sorry smart error. The bit about Dyson was left from a previous comment about a ventilator.

    • Stred
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      The failed German defense minister who has been put in charge of the EU and has told all the members not to close borders between themselves must be disappointed now that Germany has closed its borders.

  14. The Prangwizard
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    I suspect we may need to prepare for shortages in some imported foods. We do after all import a lot of greens from Kenya, tomatoes from Spain Holland and Morocco for example. We must change our thinking.

    We are far too reliant on imported items of all kinds. And where are those who have claimed when discussing the supply of goods ‘we can always import them’.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      Do not worry you can live happily on a few dried beans and cabbage & potatoes for quite some time. Most including myself could do with losing a few pounds.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        would you tell us where we can stock up on dried beans, cabbage and potatoes before the supermarkets run out? I could do with losing a couple of stone too, but not with that sort of diet!
        Hopefully more wine will help reduce my hunger.

    • jerry
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      @The Prangwizard; Indeed, eat what is in season, when in season, and preserve what you can from any extra supply.

      I’m sure the BBC could dust off some old cooking and gardening programmes that show how to preserve various fruits and veg, often nothing more than knowledge is needed, what can be frozen, what just needs a cool dark place, what needs vinegar or sugar etc.

  15. agricola
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    Government can already borrow money for next to nothing over very long periods so a grant scheme to all employees made redundant by the presence of the virus might hold things together until normality returns.

    All I ask is that it is introduced swiftly via the employers existing organisation which has the means to do it. Airlines are a first obvious choice as they have been confronted with a sudden shrinking of their operation and an excess of staff. The problem is with us now so act now.

    • zorro
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      Some people will be so happy that ordinary people won’t be able to fly so much. The EU President was positively beaming about the supposed improvement in air quality because of the reduction in flights.

      zorro

  16. davews
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    As in the words of St Greta – ‘your government has stolen my life’.
    That is how I feel at the moment. A healthy 70 year old, very active, soon to be cocooned in my little house, shops with bare shelves, no exercise, end of the world as we know it. Dying of a virus is the least of my worries at the moment.

    • ChrisS
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      DaveW :

      You are adopting an over-negative view of your situation. You will be perfectly able to go for a walk, work in your garden, follow any hobbies and interests you have.

      If you are one of those unfortunate people that currently has no interests or hobbies, now would be the ideal time to take one up !

      There are many that can be followed in isolation. They include :
      Fishing.
      Reading ( electronic books are risk free )
      Model Making as all items can be bouight mail order via online shops
      Gardening
      Hiking and Walking
      Cycling
      Motorcycling
      DIY jobs

      I’m sure you can think of many more.
      Self isolation should be seen as an opportunity to do those things that you always wanted to do but never had time for !

    • Matt
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      You have your choice but bear in mind than you will be triage-d out of the system even if you find yourself unable to breath.

      I’d agree with that policy too.

      Why should younger people die non CV related illnesses because the hospitals are clogged up with older people who refused advice to keep out of the way for a few months ?

      At least CV infected doctors could return to work in some capacity if it were known that a vulnerable group had taken themselves out of the fray for a bit. As it remains they can’t.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      You do not have to do what they say.

  17. Dave
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Why would it be only 20% of businesses that see a drop in turnover? Apart from essential goods like food and medical equipment a wholesale shutdown as we are seeing now will mean that 90% plus will see huge losses. It won’t be a 15% drop in turnover, more like 80% drop. If the government starts handing out money whilst the production of goods almost ceases there will be runaway hyper inflation. Look forward to bank runs, fuel shortages and very possibly civil unrest. On the current trajectory this will result in a depression much worse than 1929 due to far greater debt and far less resiliant living practices.

    Reply 20% of the economy – the 40% that is state activity will not be suffering the same income loss

  18. jerry
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Please do not forget that there will be many self-employed people whose work will dry up, and that could start happening quickly and at very short notice. I know someone who had arranged for a SE builder to install their new bathroom suite the other day, this chap and his wife considered cancelling the night before, this before there is large scale rise in infections. As the saying goes, an Englishman’s home is his castle, and it will be like never before…

    The Govt needs to remove restrictions on when and who can claim UB/UC.

    • jerry
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      Matt Hancock in reply to a question on this issue simply washed his hands of the self-employed, of course the govt could put a new payment system in place, even if it was simply to make the existing UB/UC emergency payments process automatic until other payments start.

      Some SE people will have to make a choice, no money (for 5 weeks) or carry on working, “chancing it” in other words (despite the fact that should really be self-isolating, perhaps along with their family), only trouble is they will be chancing it for everyone not just themselves.

  19. Al
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    The groups not being supported in any way by the current or suggested coronavirus policies are the self-employed, small sole-traders, and those on zero-hours contracts. Repaying sick pay to the business does not help the workers if they don’t receive it in the first place. Your policies suggested here do not resolve this.

    As for new facilities to lend to companies, I believe you should ask a few of your consitutents with micro-firms to try and get loans. You may find their reports interesting, because business finance is certainly not available through banks in my area.

  20. Iain Gill
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    I hope someone has stepped up oxygen bottle production.

    Get a stockpile going.

  21. JoolsB
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    As a waspi woman with a 73 year old husband whose private pension was devastated when Labour trashed the economy, we rely on our b & b business here in Cornwall to make our lives more comfortable not to mention support our 23 year old son who is in his 5th year of medicine at Cambridge. In 5th and 6 years they are only given a student loan of £2,389 and parents are expected to pick up the difference.
    It seems this Government is going to spend millions/billions to cover the lost earnings of employees who get the virus even if they self isolate without testing but will do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for the self employed when my husband is forced to self isolate and we have to refund many thousands of pounds worth of bookings. Apparently the answer for us self employed is we can apply for benefits which many won’t do out of pride and the rest won’t qualify because they are over the threshold.
    Talk about headless chickens, Matt Hancock is totally out of his depth and our cushioned politicians who will carry on receiving their £82,000 a year whether they are there or not haven’t got a clue what it’s like for the self employed.

    • jerry
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      @JoolsB; Sorry to pick at your comment but really, “[we run our] b & b business here in Cornwall to make our lives more comfortable”, perhaps you simply meed to lower your expectations, after all you do have an income via a pension, those cancelling might be doing so not out or fear but because their entire income has vanished. That said UBR and CT taxes collections should be reviewed (cancelled and postponed respectively).

      As for your son “in his 5th year of studying medicine at Cambridge”, don’t worry, he will soon be fully employed within the NHS in some capacity or another I expect.

      I agree with your latter point, but it’s not just Matt Hancock, the Govt is out of its depth, as is the White House in the USA, very similar styles of administration… Much kudos to our host for facilitating a open debate.

      In another of our hosts blogs I suggested we need a National govt for the duration, this is beyond politics. This is not the time for political ideology, nothing is off the table, no one is indispensable, no one persona non grata.

      • JoolsB
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

        I agree we are better off than some. I was merely pointing out that the Government are doing nothing to compensate the self employed whilst throwing ‘whatever it costs’ at the employed. Our b & b income is more than my husband’s state and private pensions combined and if we are forced to shut down we will still have to pay the bills and find a way to support our son as this Government have washed their hands of him and England’s students, even future doctors. It’s six years at Cambridge so that means another 18months so no he won’t be earning soon and I don’t think his landlord will understand if he can’t pay his £600 a month rent because the Government have closed his parents’ business down and they don’t have the money. I think you will agree he can hardly be expected to afford it out of the £2,389 a year he gets from Student Finance.
        Shut down if we must but I say again, it’s hardly fair that the Government are doing nothing to compensate the self employed.

    • ukretired123
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      We need more good people like your family working for the country as you are so busy working normally you never have time to give feedback to the Westminster bubble.
      Having been self-employed myself it is sobering to hear your plight compared with some of the MSM in fairy-land on another planet.

      As the saying goes when the tide goes out you find out who the true wealth creators are and they are not in the many paper moving offices of public services etc.

    • Stred
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      The retired or home working will be holed up for months, maybe until next year. They can isolate in their car and go outside in places away from the 80% of people who have had the disease or those that the government wants to become part of the herd. Testing kits may be available to the public before long and those without the virus could be certified as so.
      It would be very welcome if guesthouses could offer a virus free accommodation with surfaces, food and staff isolated and certified. We could fill up with petrol at self service pumps and keep clean using gel or concentrated vodka.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      JoolsB

      New Labour set about creating the Client State of which, the fake Tories have done nothing in 10 years ! But as Labour are now finding out, although it is hard and slow getting through, never take the electorate for granted.

  22. Kevin
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    “The new facilities to lend to business”

    With reports circulating that the elderly may be either advised or required to self-isolate for several months, I would like to draw attention again to the need for a just policy towards savers, by quoting something you wrote on this site five years ago:
    “A society with too little savings would leave the elderly with insufficient means and the unfortunate with no reserves to fall back on.”
    (Source: “Why I disagree with Mr Haldane of the Bank of England”, 22/9/2015)

    • Caterpillar
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      +1

      It has been a battle to save for a decade, whether for a month’s salary buffer, old age or purchase. I have huge sympathy for those who have been in a position of not being able to save due to intermittent income etc. But there are some people who have struggled to save and continue to be punished (clearly if production possibilities are considerably greater than what we want to consume then there is an argument against saving – there would be no need to delay consumption in order to produce economic capital – but that requires a different economics for which few currently argue).

  23. Newmania
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    All good ideas but I would also redirect the spending splurge at tax breaks, prioritising the economy over the political fortunes of the Conservative Party…
    We have to hope this is one off and finite event it is easy to see how financial contagion could follow medical contagion as people lose confidence in the safety of their money
    The government must be ready to stand by savings and the banks if necessary and I think the QE against which I have long argued should now be brought forward
    I do think that clogging up the whole civil service with Brexit at this time will not be viewed as wise by any sort of voter .Everyone would understand a delay and remain voters would understand their responsibility to return the generosity

  24. Richard1
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    As far as possible any bail out funds need to be loans with interest rolling up, not grants. The money can then be repaid according to an agreed schedule when, as is likely, the economy bounces back. Though I regard myself as on the political free market right, I would also like the Govt to insist that any organisation or business which does receive public funds to keep it alive also imposes stringent controls on high pay. Directors, highly paid professionals etc, need to share the burden. During the crisis, and for as long as a business is in receipt of bail out funding, I suggest that any remuneration / profit share above eg £100,000 is placed in escrow and applied to repayment of bail out funds, again according to an agreed schedule.

    A business trading at a ‘profit’ while in receipt of bail out funds is not making any true profit. This principle should of course have applied to banks during and following the Brown bank bailout. It will also ensure that only those businesses which really need it, ask for state funding.

    • Richard1
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      The same principle should apply in the public sector. Big temporary pay cuts at the top end please.

      • DOMINIC
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink

        You can be sure of one thing. This Tory government will pull out of the stops to protect Labour’s client state at the expense of those who produce the wealth and pay all the taxes, the private sector

        Do not underestimate just how far and how deep the Tory party’s been captured by both the progressive left, the Marxist left and Labour. This is the only viable explanation to the total and cataclysmic capitulation of the Tory party to the leftist dogma

        The TP will target those they know they can (private sector) and refrain from targeting those who’ll fight back and cause political damage (the unionised State sector)

        One day, the 90% will wake up from their slumber and realise they have been duped, deceived and subjugated by the British political class. Only then will they stop voting for the 3 main parties in England that have been captured by the globalist, progressive agenda designed to splinter, confuse and control

      • Stred
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        Charities are complaining that they are running short of money because the shops are empty. How about reducing the pay of the top officers, which can be £100k plus?

        • Richard1
          Posted March 16, 2020 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

          Absolutely they shouldn’t be more than that in a charity anyway

    • BeebTax
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      Good idea. It’s people on low pay who need high levels of public support.

  25. Not Bob
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Corona Virus seems to disproportionately infect MPs, politicians and celebrities.

    • Not Bob
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      Corona Virus seems to disproportionately infect MPs, politicians and celebrities.

      ……..
      Freemasons and people who work for the company making the testing kits.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

      Yes, it infects those who meet a lot of other people, and who travel widely.

      Exactly as one would expect, surely?

      • APL
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

        Martin in basement: “Yes, it infects those who meet a lot of other people, and who travel widely.”

        You’ll be OK then. 🙂

        • Fred H
          Posted March 17, 2020 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

          😄

  26. zorro
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    OK here goes…. what is this virus in the world?

    COVID 19 is supposedly extremely infectious does anyone here know anyone with COVID 19?….

    This disease which is supposedly causing chaos, inducing mass hysteria and giving governments complete control over everything.

    Since it was supposedly first reported, deaths from certain diseases:

    COVID 19 – 5,700
    TB – 314,000
    HIV/AIDS – 154,000
    Seasonal Flu – 54 – 130,000
    Malaria – 80,000

    Previous epidemics – deaths in the UK

    Spanish Flu (1919) – 200,000
    Asian Flu (1957/8) – 33,000
    Hong Kon Flu (1968) – 80,000
    Swine Flu (2009/10) – 457

    Because of COVID 19:

    The government now (mainly because of media hysteria it has let loose or not made any efforts to counter) effectively controls all sporting events, concerts, jobs, colleges, medical facilities, whether or not you can leave your house. Because of not combatting hoarding or communicating properly, it has depleted resources such as toilet paper and food. It now controls all travel…. A concert I was attending last night was cancelled at the last minute because the theatre had shut. The popular restaurant we ate at had a hundred cancelled covers and the waitress said that staff were scared to come into work.

    Viruses are natural but also man-made and are very useful in scaring the public. They now control you and everything about your life – very easy to do without a murmur….. Mass panic, hysteria, complete control of literally the whole world…..

    Over a virus that the survival rates are extremely high, all freedom has been limited overnight with people clamouring for it without a murmur. See how easy it was?

    zorro

    • Newmania
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      Yeeeees..that a bit like saying look only 5% of the house is on on fire everyone relax. Worst case( maybe) we could be looking at more civilian casualties than during the whole of the last war.
      No need op panic but no need to pretend there is no problem either. I feel the government is judging it well but there are more things to be done and I worry , quite genuinely the people are not being made available

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 11:30 am | Permalink

        Perfect analogy.

      • Matt
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

        The South Koreans do a lot more testing. And then they monitor those testing positive by phone app. They have not gone into a catastrophic economic lock-down.

        I venture that the more testing you do the more you will find the mortality rate of CV is a lot lower than stated.

        There is a big hit at the start of an outbreak, the old and the weak are lost and then the figures stabilise.

        So isolate the old and the weak for a while then.

        The Chinese have not done anything miraculous. They’ve just provided mass dying rooms and taken the hit – which has turned out to be a lot smaller than thought.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        Zorro,

        In answer to question 2 you should consider the CSA’s explanatory bell shaped curve of last Thursday. He clearly indicated the UK was on the left hand side which looked like zero compared with the peak to come.

        Panic, resulting from terrible media and political opportunism has and is a problem, but without a plan the deaths from solely the UK vulnerable could match the Spanish flu figures you quote. The UK has many elderly and many vulnerable through decades of successful health treatments (whatever criticism one has of the NHS as is, as a model.of healthcare or in terms of funding). It is quite clear the modelling has been run and the Govt recognises the seriousness otherwise we would only be hearing about levelling up and Brexit. The Govt has also been clear on balancing the impacts and timing interventions, but there are things it cannot yet control.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      fully agree with your comments

    • Mark B
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      +1

    • APL
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

      zorro: “See how easy it was?”

      Yes.

      This is a degenerate British population. Our fathers and grand fathers would be ashamed of us.

  27. GilesB
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    All businesses receiving such funding should be encouraged/required to provide training at home for the staff. The nations skills need upgrading. Even for restaurant workers there are any number of health and safety videos to watch. Or learn foreign languages. Or coding. Or cooking from raw ingredients.

    Many people would do this themselves. But employers could provide guidance as to useful relevant materials.

    Something for the nudge unit?

  28. dixie
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    such employer bail outs will not help the self employed.

  29. Alison Barnes
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    If the elderly and medically vulnerable are to be told to isolate for a long time in future, why not do it now? Then the younger and fitter could go about their usual business, catching and spreading the virus to build sufficient herd immunity as soon as possible. And the isolated could emerge the sooner, but without further destroying the economy.

  30. Polly
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    I hope the British are collecting and analyzing data on the medication for pre existing conditions experienced by those individuals who are seriously ill as a result of Covid-19.

    From this data it should be an easy matter to establish whether ACE and ARB medications such as Ramipril, Losartan, Lisinopril and Candesartan are involved in large numbers of cases which would go quite some way towards testing the hypothesis outlined in the British Medical Journal outlined here…..

    https://www.bmj.com/content/368/bmj.m810/rr-2

    ”We need rapid epidemiological and preclinical studies to clarify this relationship. If this were the case, we might be able to reduce the risk of fatal Covid-19 courses in many patients by temporarily replacing these drugs”.

    Polly

    • Bob
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Thanks for posting this Polly.

    • margaret
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      I suppose we could also think about the propensity to cough with ACE . CCB’s are currently used more in the over 50’s in the UK although do not meet the needs of acute hypertension, but doxazosin in combination could be used. . The use of diuretics would not be useful as alternatives due to the need to keep hydrated .

      • Polly
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

        This hypothesis has also been published in the Lancet….

        https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanres/article/PIIS2213-2600(20)30116-8/fulltext

        It obviously is vitally important to collect the records of every patient in the UK who is seriously ill with Covid-19 to analyse centrally whether or not they receive ACE and ARB medication for underlying conditions. This would be enormously helpful in testing the hypothesis.

        Yet apparently this crucial information is not being collated centrally in the UK due to incompatible computer systems.

        Surely the data can be collected by other means ?

        Polly

  31. Fred H
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Can the business (?) of the H of L be suspended by the Government? Stop the signing in of £300 daily expenses for each of the up to 800 members sleeping/ attending. I’m sure that would be a very cheap way of lifting the spirits of the population in a stroke!

  32. ed2
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Another celebrity and another MP just got it this morning. I had a news alert. In the real world no one knows anyone who has it yet. Read The Express comment section.

    • jerry
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      @ed2; Why would anyone wish to read ILL-INFORMED RANTS in the Daily Express comment section, some of the comments make those front page headlines of the old Daily Sport publication appear plausible, A LONDON BUS FOUND ON THE MOON, why not, quite possible!

      Apologies for slipping into DE style caps…

    • jerry
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      @ed2; ” In the real world no one knows anyone who has it yet”

      That’s a bad thing? Long may it continue that way!….

    • Andy
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      If you really do read The Express comments section it explains where you are going wrong.

    • Fred H
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      If you think I’m going out again to queue to buy the Express to read what? – you are very much mistaken.

  33. formula57
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    If billions could be spent on bailing out with generous conditions the greedy and feckless bankers (and I do understand why, for those bonuses could not fund themselves) then it must be proper for billions can be spent now in the ways you propose.

    Speed-on herd immunity so the survivors can return to what will then pass for normal!

  34. jerry
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Should the IMF ask for govts to close/suspend their stock markets?

    • Richard1
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      no. it is essential to maintain liquid capital markets. at some point markets will anticipate recovery. we don’t want that judgement made by a committee of bureaucrats.

      • jerry
        Posted March 16, 2020 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

        @Richard1; “at some point markets will anticipate recovery. we don’t want that judgement made by a committee of bureaucrats.”

        You want the chance to profit from the crisis in other words…

  35. oldtimer
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    The government should examine the case for grants (for the smaller SMEs) as well as a new category of corona virus related loans (effectively interest free and repayable out of future tax revenues) for larger incorporated businesses.

    I question the wisdom of the advice, leaked by some newspapers, that the over 70s will be confined to quarters for up to four months. Based on practice discovered during the Spanish flu pandemic open air and sunlight were found to be much healthier, and aided faster recovery, than being cooped up inside buildings. I have read that hospitals were then designed with high ceilings and windows that enabled the flow of fresh air through wards. That approach ended with the development of antibiotics. We have seen how cruise ships, with clients cooped up in cabins have suffered high rates of infection; one of the US high mortality hot spots was a care home with many elderly patients.

  36. a-tracy
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Should the burden of wage cover be spread around so all those in the public sector rather than having their full wage covered for endless weeks get the same as everyone else say £250 per week it might focus the minds of everyone crying out for everything to be closed for a month.

  37. ferdinand
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Businesses that have temporarily lost customers due to the virus should be able tp pawn their businsses with the Governemt at zero intrest. When the virus crisis is over and people can move freely they can buy their businesses back at a discount.

  38. everyone knows
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Nadine’s infected her 84 year old mum by the way, yes, she tested positive. Nadine said she had her round her house to stay but ended the tweet reminding us to keep washing our hands. Bizzare! Incidentally, in Italy, they are threatening to jail people for attempted murder if they do not self-isolate.

  39. Catch 23
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    You will find at the next General Election the excuse”We had coronavirus therefore….” will not work. You’ll try it of course but it will ring dead with an electorate who not dead, as promised.

  40. Robert Mcdonald
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Just back from Tenerife. Airport was slightly organised chaos, a recipe for transferring bugs in massed packed lines of passengers. However, even worse was seeing the faces of about to lose jobs air hostesses and pilots and cafe owners, hoteliers, shop owners and shortly thereafter manufacturers. More suffering and life changing than catching a virus in my view. Back home and seeing shelves emptied of toilet rolls .. people have gone insane. I am over 70, and I will take as much care as I can of my health, but life needs to be lived and 4 months sat in my house is not living.

  41. John Hatfield
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    We’re a’ doomed!

    • Bob
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      “We’re a’ doomed!”

      Don’t panic!

  42. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Millions of people at the bottom end of the work/wage pyramid could lose their jobs and income. Meanwhile all those who have come here from abroad and never worked . . . . will still be getting the same amount of benefits.

  43. Iago
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Modern ventilators are extremely complicated and computer-controlled, very difficult to make quickly in large numbers I would think.
    I am told that there was an extremely effective design, completely adequate for corona virus patients, not electrically powered, and relatively very simple to make. I would think very large numbers could be made quickly. Here is a part of wiki’s descrition:

    In 1952, Roger Manley of the Westminster Hospital, London, developed a ventilator which was entirely gas driven, and became the most popular model used in Europe. It was an elegant design, and became a great favourite with European anaethetists for four decades, prior to the introduction of models controlled by electronics. It was independent of electrical power, and caused no explosion hazard.

  44. Iago
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Inheritance Tax should be abolished immediately.

    • Bob
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      “Inheritance Tax should be abolished immediately.

      And retrospectively to the beginning of the year.

    • Stred
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      Perhaps it’s been marked up as a plus on the Treasury’s forward planning.

  45. ian
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    My money on Singapore to win against C19 with there cleaning habits and resoluteness to the job in hand and not sitting around worrying about money.

    Singapore growth rate of C19 is blown most countries for the time it has had C19. Iain Gill is right about oxygen cylinders and masks would help the elderly at home.

  46. Helen Smith
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Can’t find your bit on supermarkets so can’t post a comment there. So I will say here, a big, big thank you to underpaid, undervalued supermarket staff for working so hard at the moment. Where would we be without you.

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      Helen, finding replacement supermarket staff will not be difficult there will be thousands of desperate fit and healthy people with no work in two weeks time.

  47. oldwulf
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    For cushoning the impact of the virus measures, my local coffee shop is perhaps a good case study. The lady proprietor set up the business a little over two years ago. It has involved much hard work and commitment and I’m told that the business made a small profit in January and February this year, for the first time. March has seen a significant drop in turnover. I understand that turnover now fluctuates, depending on Government and media announcements.

    The coffee shop is a valuable part of the community in that customers are encouraged to bring in unwanted clothing (particularly warm clothing) for the homeless. There is also a “pay it forward” system where customers make donations which, via a local homeless charity, is used to provide food and drink for the homeless. The coffee shop is also a meeting place for various local groups.

    There are three part time staff who are paid the minimum wage and the proprietor takes out little.

    The proprietor is, of course, grateful for the recently announced business rates holiday. However, when our host says “help for employees working for basically sound businesses” and supporting “a company that was profitable up to the end of January” and “if they are sound businesses for the future damaged by this one off extraordinary event”…. I am wondering if a relatively new business such as this would qualify for help.

    To make matters worse, a local charity has applied to open a cafe less than 50 metres from the coffee shop. Charities receive many tax and financial benefits as well as, quite often, being staffed by volunteers. So, when our host has referred to the German temporary reduced working scheme which has got through the state aid tests, I am wondering if the are similar state aid tests for trading charities which some say have partly contributed to the demise of the high street.

  48. bill brown
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    the government is way behind the curve and needs to take up and help the private sector get through this in a much more active , planned and constructive fashion or they will loose out big time

  49. Iain Gill
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    tried to buy some food today. shops… no milk, no eggs, no pasta, no rice, no fruit juice, etc really this is getting serious. if we cannot keep up the supply of basics to the supermarkets it doesnt matter what happens to the stock market we are in deep trouble of many other kinds.

    got family to feed, we are turning into a literal survival economy.

    the stock market is going to be the least of our problems if we cannot get food to the supermarket shelves.

  50. forthurst
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    The government policy is not to institute measures which do not damage the economy. Let it rip but slowly so that the NHS (free to the world but run on a shoestring) is not overwhelmed; thus quarantine the oldies. There is no evidence that any government would be capable of controlling the rate of spread without controlling its geographical spread in the first instance. What is the point of isolating oldies if items brought to their houses have been handled by the infected? There is only one rational way of dealing with this virus and that is the fallback plan in the absence of a vaccine, namely to stop it spreading as is being done in East Asia. This will also minimise the damage to the economy. The government do not have an accelerator or brake on either the virus or people. When people read about the whole country being inundated and hospitals not being able to cope, they will withdraw themselves from harm’s way whatever some ‘expert’ says is best for them.

    No one knows how this virus will behave in future so to presume it will not mutate and return to attack those with ‘herd immunity’ is unscientific nonsense. Science is based on evidence (apart from global warming theory).

  51. kzb
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    These interest rate cuts are just laughable. The economy will effectively cease to exist as we know it.

    Put capitalism on hold. Suspend share and currency dealing. Why on earth are they allowed to carry on their parasitic activities at this time?

    Suspend all business taxes, rents and loan payments. Pay the employees a citizens wage to stay at home. That way businesses are mothballed ready to re-start when it is all over.

    80% of employment in our country is unnecessary frippery. You can print billions to bail out the bankers and now it’s time to get printing for a real purpose.

    • DOMINIC
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      The pension payments of all retired employees (both public and private) are paid from dividends per shares listed on various stock exchanges.

      The mind of a child with an intellect to match

      • kzb
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 10:09 am | Permalink

        No, state pensions are paid out of ongoing national insurance payments. Some public sector pensions like teachers are similarly “unfunded”, as your friends keep telling us. All pensions are ultimately funded from productive workers but some have middle men taking the lions share of the money and some don’t.

        • a-tracy
          Posted March 17, 2020 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

          Look up National Insurance Fund gov uk

  52. Sea Warrior
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    I’m beginning to think that there was no workable ‘Pandemic Contingency Plan’ in any Whitehall safe. The outcomes of the crisis are all, largely, predictable. But, for example, there doesn’t seem to be a reserve of ventilators.

    • APL
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

      Sea Warrior: “But, for example, there doesn’t seem to be a reserve of ventilators.”

      If you’re on a ventilator, your odds of survival are already pretty slim.

      If the isolation policy doesn’t work, no amount of money will provide enough ventilators. The whole ventilator thing is another sound bite, the media has grabbed and is now shaking it for all it’s worth.

    • Omen
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 3:25 am | Permalink

      Government’s advisors do not mention the possibility of a second virus on the tail of the coronavirus merely the coronavirus raising its ugly head again after treatment.
      But people who have been weakened as we all will to some extent however little and for most it will be little, are then open to another type of virus yet to come. Closing down our economic activity and that of poorer nations is asking for it.

      • APL
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 10:06 am | Permalink

        Omen: “But people who have been weakened as we all will to some extent however little and for most it will be little, are then open to another type of virus yet to come.”

        Correct.

        And this should be a lesson to the ‘body positivity’ brigade. If you are morbidly obese, nature in the form of the covid-19 virus, doesn’t care about Politically correct soundbites. If you are already unfit, nature will take its toll.

        So, instead of whinging about what the government has done or should have done. People should be taking whatever measures they can to get them selves as fit as possible, such that if you are unlucky enough to be infected by the virus, you will be in the best possible condition to counter it.

  53. mancunius
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    That’s all fine and good for businesses directly employing staff. What of the self-employed? I myself am in the happy position of not being financially dependent on my internationally-oriented arts work (which is just as well, as has slowed to an invisible trickle).
    But there is somebody I know, a sole trader in and hitherto extremely successful self-run agency related to the music and arts business, a lot of it bringing foreign artists to the UK public. In some cases artists cannot travel. But in any case, concerts are being routinely cancelled wholesale by concert promoters, offering the agency and its artists no compensation at all.
    Concert halls and theatres are allowed to cancel at no cost to themselves because the pandemic counts legally as force majeure , so all the cancellations are neither justiciable nor liable to the agency’s insurance.
    The agent has spent months, years in some cases, of unremitting contact and organisational work, arranging for the artists to appear on the concert platform.
    The artists themselves in most cases have flexible teaching posts to keep them going during such difficult times. But the agent will be unpaid for all the hard work they have put in, and now faces zero earnings for the forseeable future. With a mortgage, family commitments, service charge outgoings…What can such a person do?
    There must be many sole traders in such a position. To cut them off while aiding similar businesses that can afford to employ an employee seems savagely unjust.

  54. Ian @Barkham
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    All commercial companies that require the taxpayer to fund their existence should as a minimum offer stock as security until such time they are able to purchase it back.

    The reason Governments don’t have access to money in an emergency is they so often just dive into the taxpayers wallet, thinking that is their money. Bail outs should be seen as investments that offer a return, in that way they will become self financing

    Today the MsM is full of airlines requiring bailouts so they survive to pay their shareholder dividends. I empathise with all those individuals that because of neglect by their employer they could loose their job – it is grossly unfair. They are the fodder to feed the monster. Why isn’t there a cash call on shareholders?

    The other large part of that discussion is that those asking for money while being large employers in the UK are not actually UK owned Companies. Because a name back in history did have its home here, gets sold on for shareholder benefit it doesn’t mean that it remains British. Then to often or not, they also by legal means, avoid paying their equal share of contribution into the society that provides their income.

  55. margaret
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    I am annoyed that more stringent measures have not been taken . With due respect to all those saying this and that isn’t important at this stage, I would remind them that Nurses are the cross infection experts. Would you expect a Nurse to go from bed to bed using the same gloves and aprons . Would you expect to go into operating theatre without being washed and gowned . Remember just these 2 examples are situations where there is less chance of cross infection than corona virus but carried out on a minute by minute process. If people were more conscious of this, had access to gloves , mask and aprons , told about the methods of transmission apart from hands , then the economic impact may be less.
    The really stupid theory about herd immunity is from lack of knowledge . Do they know how long it takes to build up a herd immunity? Do they realise that this virus is different from anything else , you can test positive, then negative , then positive again , so why is the government trying to impose ways of handling this on something apriori . You cannot work priori and make a premise with an event which is apriori !

  56. bådfører Pull for U
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    A Danish ‘friend’ of mine on Twitter, tells me that no one can cross the Danish border now even Danes, except migrants. So much for isolation. Any more bright ideas?
    Is the only way into my local pub via crossing the village pond in a rubber boat?
    pul fer yer

  57. glen cullen
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Vauxhall factory in Ellesmere Port to shut down due to coronavirus fears

    I bet public/civil servants wont be in fear of losing their jobs

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 12:49 am | Permalink

      My friend works for the NHS and has been told she’ll get full pay.

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        She’s a public servant

        I work with many small manufacturing companies and I can tell they are worried about the downturn and the salary bill at the end of this month….they will not be laying staff off on full pay they will be making them redundant

        • a-tracy
          Posted March 17, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

          glen There is a massive cost to make people redundant especially if the worker is over 41 years of age.

          Redundancy pay is based on your earnings before tax (called gross pay). It is paid in addition to your notice payment which is full pay one year per year worked.

          For each full year you’ve worked for your employer, redundancy you get:

          age 18 to 22 – half a week’s pay
          age 22 to 40 – 1 week’s pay
          age 41 and older – 1.5 weeks’ pay

          If you turned 22 or 41 while working for your employer, the higher rates only apply for the full years you were over 22 or 41.

          • a-tracy
            Posted March 17, 2020 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

            Notice = One week per year worked, sorry it’s getting stressful

  58. Trimperley
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    It’s not just cash flow that is an issue. Our audit is scheduled at the same time as peak virus. We don’t know if the auditor will be well enough to audit and if we will be open. Data protection compliance with everyone working at home will also be a big issue.

  59. Iain Gill
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    I dont understand Boris new advice, he says vulnerable are people who get free flu jabs, but the schools stay open, vulnerable to stay indoors for 12 weeks, what about school kids where both parents are “vulnerable” how are they getting to school?
    There will be teachers who are “vulnerable” by this definition, again how is this going to work?

    • Iain Gill
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

      indeed plenty of diabetic etc nurses & docs “entitled to free flu jabs” staying at home for 12 weeks from Friday is going to place extra stress on the hospitals, not to mention police etc etc

      how is this going to pan out?

  60. jerry
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    The Govt needs to take firm action against philshing attempts via automated voice calls, in the last two days I have had philshing calls demanding I need pay to keep my e-commerce account with a well known online market place valid, so has someone else I know, neither of us actually have accounts with the site in question so simply ignored the calls but someone who is perhaps relying on such an accounts whilst self isolating might be duped.

    The Govt needs to get warnings out in to the press and on radio and TV, make all e-commerce sites hosted or warehoused here in the UK place a warning message on their sites that can not be missed, stating that they will make no such demands either phone or email, if al all.

    • jerry
      Posted March 16, 2020 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

      I note that someone, a current manufactures of ventilators, has been on Sky News suggesting that up-scaling the manufacture of their machines is not simple due to the complexity of the modern units – he might be right, he might just be trying to protect his IP, perhaps even just his products price tag, but does any of that actually mean more ventilators can not be made…

      I’m sure if I or one of my loved ones fell ill with this virus (or any other aliment at this time) and was in ICU needing ventilating to save their life they nor I would care one jot if the machine was of current design or one built two days ago to a 50 year old design!

      • APL
        Posted March 17, 2020 at 7:23 am | Permalink

        jerry: “he might be right, he might just be trying to protect his IP”

        Nah! He’s probably telling us, the parts haven’t left China yet.

  61. a-tracy
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    Oh my goodness, as lower-skilled workers are going off work sick in the essential services such as the nhs such as cleaners, cooks, porters etc. is there some way you will allow all these people Boris has just put out of work in restaurants, pubs, clubs etc to be redeployed, or are they going to be able to get funding from day 1 of being put out of work?

  62. a-tracy
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    Is a wedding an essential social gathering or are all weddings off for 3 months?

    Why won’t the government tell us exactly where the people in hospital with C19 are? How many in each hospital?

    Are the elderly patients catching this from the hospital, care homes or their families or carers in their own homes.

    We want to know the risk figures to help to understand why our government are taking the decision to close down so many businesses?

  63. Iain Gill
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    just tried sending my GP an email, autoreply says “we are no longer accepting emails, you must ring for an appointment and come in to see us” couldnt make this stuff up

    nhs is so bad its hilarious

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      Why on earth can’t they accept e-mails? It is the best form of communication as one person can just work through them one at a time at their pace rather than having to answer the phone and take constant phone ringing whilst trying to deal with people.

      Once again we need to find opportunities to people who are skilled, fit and well and want to work to be able to be redeployed into tasks to answer e-mails with appointment times.

  64. a-tracy
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    Are our paramedics, hospital workers, gp practice workers etc. All in protective clothing now? Full face coverings.

    Listening to the airlines going off – ITS NOT JUST YOU! how do they think all the other transport companies, entertainment industry, hotels, shopping malls, high streets are going to recover!

  65. Stred
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    It would be better for MPs such as yourself SJR to isolate and work from home. Westminster is a high infection area and we don’t want you laid up or worse. This disease is extremely infections by aerosol and hand washing is not going to stop this.

  66. ian
    Posted March 16, 2020 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    Hundred of thousands of cleaners are needed to give office workers the confidants to go into work and teachers need their schools disinfected every night, the council should be cleaning all of their public places on the inside and offices, the government departments should be doing the same along with all business. This place needs cleaning up.

  67. Christopher
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    There are 1450 UK deaths every single day

    That’s 10,150 a week

    40,000 a month

    U.K. deaths

    There’s been 55 deaths from Covid19 over the same period, a month, and the entire economy has been shut down

    40,000 no reaction

    55, complete shut down

    🤷‍♂️

    • Stred
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      You will find out why in three weeks time.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 17, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      media hysteria

  68. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    How much will your tactical approach add to the Government’s borrowing? You don’t say. I don’t reject it out of hand but the Government may need to put back the start of its large infrastructure programme in order to keep the State’s deficit under control.

    What makes no sense at all is reducing base rate and further QE. The actions to slow down the spread of Coronavirus are causing a shrinkage in the supply of some goods and services. In these circumstances, the increased money supply will result in inflation.

    The media says that stock markets have crashed in spite of the increase in money supply. Perhaps they have crashed BECAUSE increasing money supply is daft.

  69. Bolted horse
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 3:56 am | Permalink

    I’m not quite sure how each country closing its borders is useful given Mr Virus and his family are already in each one. Better late than never some idiot once said

  70. a-tracy
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Just an idea, all of these hotels that are emptying of visitors say in London, why don’t you ask them to sterilise clean the rooms and en-suites then move hospital patients who can’t be just sent home alone as they require a degree of care into these rooms with staff re-trained from other closed down service industries to look after them (after being tested for the virus?)

  71. ed2
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    The problem is not over population, it is over consumerism.

  72. BeebTax
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    £330bn support announced today.

    Why not consider a temporary type of Universal Basic Income, only for those who lose their jobs in the next 6 months?
    Including the self-employed, 30 million people work in the UK. 5.5 million work in the public sector, so will continue being paid during the crisis. Of the remainder, say 50% are laid off, for up to 12 months. Paying them a basic living allowance of say £1000/month would cost a max of £147bn, for a year. If my maths is right, that is affordable in these extraordinary times.

    Companies could downsize knowing they could pick up their workers again when things stabilise. Households would not go bankrupt (outside of London, anyway). Fear/panic would be to a great extent assuaged, with people spending that money in the economy. Maybe it could be tapered, to encourage firms to rehire staff (with a partial payment subsidising those rehired by companies for a limited period of time).

    Something along those lines is worth considering, isn’t it?

  • 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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