How should the government support the economy?

The Chancellor’s second package of support marshalled up to £330bn of guaranteed loans for a business sector facing shutdown of many enterprises.

It offered a welcome holiday for all businesses in the worst affected sectors from business rates for a year. It offered small grants to smaller businesses.

This is unlikely to be enough to prevent a wave of job losses from pubs and clubs, hotels and restaurants, from tourist attractions and events. As some of us pointed out in questions to the Chancellor yesterday evening, he needs to come up with a working burden sharing scheme soon that lets businesses with no revenue keep on their workforce waiting for the all clear on the virus.

Businesses cannot be expected to borrow indefinitely to pay the wages when there are no customers. They don’t need loans, they need revenues. Some restaurants will try take away meals. Some hotels will offer their services to the state as temporary hospitals. Many will contemplate closure to cut costs and reduce losses. The government should do what it takes to avoid this.

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326 Comments

  1. Javelin
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    The root of the problem is that everybody needs to catch this virus. Hiding in our homes and waiting for a cure will take the economy back to the middle-ages. There will be runs on all the banks, tax revenues collapsing, supply chains of medicines collapsing and all those dependent on modern medicine will die along with many others.

    On the plus side only people with underlying health conditions, who are being kept alive by modern medicine are vunerable.

    So the ONLY way to tackle this is to isolate all vunerable people and let healthy people catch the flu. That is the strategy and everything follows from that. Paying vunerable people to isolate, telling healthy people to go out and live as normal. Getting volunteers to support isolated vunerable people. etc etc. It’s called decisive leadership.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 6:43 am | Permalink

      Correct and I’m 74. This lockdown is nonsense. Anyone would think there was an agenda.

      • Polly Smith
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:14 am | Permalink

        I strongly suspect the agenda is an indefinite extension of the transitional period, so we are locked into the EU forever. Farage was right to urge people to vote for the Brexit party at the GE, the Conservatives CANNOT be trusted

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 18, 2020 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

          For goodness’ sake.

          Those at the top of government have their hands too full to be scheming about the European Union.

          It may be different for non-ministerial MPs, however, as one or two seem to be proving.

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

            Yes it is unlikely that this virus that started in a Chinese wet market is a global plot to derail the UK leaving the EU

          • Hope
            Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

            JR, your go t over ten years deliberately pursued a mass immigration policy knowingmeach winter the service was overwhelmed. It did this in the hope of increasing GDP. Many in this site and around the country thought there were other issues more important than just GDP especially where the govts wastes taxpayers money hand over fist i.e. Overseas aid. Knowingly ormrecklessly the govt knew the possible consequences of their actions, as reported i papers before Christmas. Cameron and May deliberately made it govt policy to cut to tens of thousands and stood to be elected on this premise. Both never had any intention of achieving thentRget. We know this from the historic record numbers from inside and outside the EU. Any other organisation heaving so recklessly or dishonestly would be considered for corporate manslaughter.

            There is no way the govt can pursue a lock down policy for an indeterminate period. May made a similar point in Parliament today. Why she asked the question when she knew the answer I do not know, perhaps to embarrass Johnson? But why she had the cheek or Gaul to ask such a question when responsibility lies at her feet concerning the NHS being overwhelmed is beyond despicable. As well as being responsible for hundreds of thousands of lost illegal immigrants under her watch as Home Secretary and 56,000 as PM, all of whom will need medical care.

          • Fred H
            Posted March 19, 2020 at 10:28 am | Permalink

            Hope – – a very well argued critique of May.

        • Stred
          Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

          The government has confirmed that it will remove section 21 as means of preventing eviction of tenants from buy to let property. This means that investors will not be able to get their property back if they need to. Housing with sitting tenants will be devalued, as happened when Labour did this in the 1960s. Landlords who invested for a pension often make only enough to live on at around the average earnings. Tenants are often better paid than the landlord and have secure public sector jobs and pensions. Vote Conservative get Labour.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

          Except that would have given us Corbyn, Mc Donnall & the SNP

      • Dave
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

        A disease that so far has only killed a tiny fraction of the number that flu does every year has managed to shut the world’s economy. There’s an agenda all right. Cover up the crash that was inevitable anyway and establish enormous control over the population that are now begging to be controlled.

        • glen cullen
          Posted March 18, 2020 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

          correct (23 cases across my county pop. 1.4million – and they want to close school and pubs)

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

          Have you not seen the pictures from Italy

          This is real and more virulent than flu. However the media is sensationalising it and forcing the agenda.

          Locking down London? That didn’t even happen in the blitz or the Great Fire

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 19, 2020 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

            Casualties from not taking the necessary actions are calculated to be over ten times those in the Blitz, and in a shorter time.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 19, 2020 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

            2 million houses were destroyed in the Blitz
            That isn’t going to happen.

            32,000 were killed and 90,000 seriously injured in the Blitz

            Currently deaths in the UK is under 150.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

        I strongly advise you take an afternoon to sit down and read this

        https://www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/medicine/sph/ide/gida-fellowships/Imperial-College-COVID19-NPI-modelling-16-03-2020.pdf

        get your friends to do the same. look through the tables. do the maths.

        • Mark
          Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

          I read it yesterday. The important part is to understand it, rather than as some sensationalist journalists have done is to pick the biggest numbers and foment panic. It’s also important to understand that even partially successful interventions can make a big difference to the severity of the outcome. They do say they will continue to update their modelling as information improves.

          Meanwhile, it is clear (see Table 1) that isolation of the most vulnerable groups is key to reducing the caseload, and equally clear that few of the younger cohorts will suffer severe outcomes. They make assumptions about to what degree isolation will break down, which may prove optimistic or pessimistic. It would be greatly to our advantage to build up pools of people from among those at low risk with immunity because they have had the virus, because they will become vital to keeping the economy going, providing help to those who need to be isolated from potentially infective situations and dealing with peak caseloads.

        • Polly
          Posted March 18, 2020 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

          Surprisingly there appears to be little interest in the UK about the possible effect of ACE and ARB medications for underlying conditions making the prognosis worse for Covid-19 sufferers outlined here, and even basic statistics are not being collated and analysed….

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

          Polly

          • Iain Gill
            Posted March 19, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

            no the senior medics are discussing actively

          • R.T.G.
            Posted March 19, 2020 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

            It does appear that work could usefully be done quietly to establish if correlation is also causation in connection with adverse outcomes from the use of ACE inhibitors, and whether Calcium Channel Blockers should be substituted as soon as possible where appropriate.

            Chapter 2 ‘Types of drug use information’ and especially ‘Indication’ at 2.1.2 with accompanying table from this old WHO paper is interesting:
            https://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/pdf/s4876e/s4876e.pdf

            Thank you for mentioning this letter, published in both the BMJ and the Lancet.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

        really we should get some more video from italian hospitals on the TV, rather like the pictures of famine changed the mood of the country and sparked Band Aid etc, it looks like its going to take some real harsh realities on the TV for people to understand what we are dealing with.

        did you know some of the top docs in this field have been crying themselves to sleep at night as they know the scale of what could happen if we dont get this right? not the TV docs who rarely see patients, the real experts.

        I would also advise and cynics to spend a few hours reading through the tweets from Italian doctors who have been in the front line. Get your italian dictionary out and do it. Inform yourself.

        • Martin R
          Posted March 18, 2020 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

          I wish I could uptic your comments, Iain. They make sense, which is more than I can say for the majority of the comments I see on every forum on the internet. People have literally no idea what is going to hit this country and are much happier to stick their heads in the sand for a measure of comfort. They’ll learn the hard way.

          • Iain Gill
            Posted March 18, 2020 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

            thanks

      • Andrew Ashton
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

        I thought this from the start, 1500 people die every day in the UK, we are all going to die, the final cost to the worlds economy will be paid for by a couple of generations to come, I think the cost benefit does not stack up, the only winners here will be the governments that will be able to exercise more control over our lives, and I am not a radical, look at France, Macron acting like a dictator, where will it end?

        • percy openshaw
          Posted March 18, 2020 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

          Precisely.

      • Pragmatist
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 10:32 am | Permalink

        The government will fall shortly even without holding elections judging by the cunning plans of EU nation states. The queue for Poles to get back into Poland for example is 40km long.
        The only way to buy food here in the UK soon will be via the black market jusdging by empty shelves and the unwillingness of supermarkets to make profits anyway, by refusing to sell food

      • Hope
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        I agree with Javelin, the country should not be locked down. The elderly and those with health difficulties should be isolated. The rest carry on.

        Your govt knew for ten years it was pursuing a mass immigration policy that was having a devastating impact on public services and housing, particularly NHS and dentistry. Your immigration policies have caused this huge problem with health care.

        On Saturday I went to hospital where there was a large sign at the reception of the unit I attended 6×4 foot. Flags from lots of nations and a slogan diversity in backgrounds united in aim. Why was so much money wasted ont his tripe, how many meetings to decide it should be bought and displayed, why is it allowed at is is a health hazard that has to be cleaned and not tripped over! The money could have been far better spent. How much more of this will be wasted on the extra funding of athe NHS? Do not give extra money without improvements.

        Why wreck the economy or pass on huge debt to future generations which will effect their health care and public services.

        JR, your useless successive community secretaries for years have failed to sort out local authorities and charges they make on businesses and residents. My community charge bill dropped through the door yesterday. Adult social care, local authority rivers authority charges as add ons. Police 4.6 percent! I have not seen a police officer in my village for five years!

    • SM
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 6:55 am | Permalink

      Seconded, Javelin.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        About twenty million people in the UK have “underlying medical conditions”.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

          There us a huge range in that defined group.
          You could be a transplant patient or have stage 4 cancer and be defined.
          Or just have the right to a free flu jab or be on high blood pressure tablets.

    • jerry
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      @Javelin; “The root of the problem is that everybody needs to catch this virus.”

      Speak for yourself, do as you wish, just do not expect others to put themselves in danger to help you over your stupidity. Stop flying in the face of the WHO and all the medical knowledge. Stop thinking Covid-19 is just a bad case of Flu. ‘Healthy’ people have died elsewhere in the world from this virus, you might think you’re healthy but what if you have an undiagnosed underlying condition?

      The figures that circulated yesterday, the figures that forced the govt to change its plan, were staggering, and they were best case scenario as I understood them.

      “waiting for a cure will take the economy back to the middle-ages.”

      Nonsense, business and employees methods will adapt, and many will find or be given such work, just so long as the internet and telecoms carry on working. Yes our economy will be affected but more akin to to WW2, not the dark ages.

      All those chefs now twiddling their thumbs in empty restaurants could be put to work by the Govt supplying an enhanced Meals-on-wheels service for those who can not or should not be shopping, or providing the continuance of ‘free school meals’ to those that qualified for them, even if distribution might fall to the military.

      “There will be runs on all the banks, tax revenues collapsing

      Your point being what, other than to show what you are the more concerned about?…

    • Iain Gill
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      Not that simple, plenty of vulnerable people have young children, or are caring for others. Those children will quickly pass it to their vulnerable parents if we follow your approach.

      • percy openshaw
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

        On this logic you would ban cars. How many young fathers die in accidents each year? How many older children? We’re all vulnerable and in the end the state cannot protect us beyond a certain point – the point being where the effort to do so upends the common welfare. And destroying the economy in the effort to avoid what is for most people a nasty dose of flu would seem to break that rule big time.

        • jerry
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

          @percy openshaw; The death rate from road accidents has been decreasing year on year for half a century, and yes the Govt has banned the biggest cause of road deaths – they made it an offence to travel in a car, van and lorry without wearing a seatbelt (bar some very specific exceptions).

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      That already is the de facto strategy here, in the Netherlands, France and Germany too. But they have to slow the rate at which people catch it for a few months to offload the NHS – the end point is exactly what you describe.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      you are also completely misunderstanding the scale of the issue.

      “vulnerable” is anyone normally entitled to a free flu jab, its a long list of medical conditions which really do make you much more at risk from this virus PLUS anyone who is or could be pregnant.

      it is not a few little old ladies we could deliver groceries to. Last flu jab round 25 million people in England were entitled to a free flu jab. It is a massive proportion of the population.

      there simply wont be enough people in the rest of the population to ” volunteers to support isolated vunerable people”

      not to mention all the parents with serious medical conditions, indeed I know many families where both parents have serious conditions, having their children mixing in schools is a complete disaster waiting to happen.

      the only way to tackle this is for everyone to keep their distance. everyone.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      Well no, not everyone needs to catch just enough to get herd immunity (if we delay sufficiently this might come from later innoculations). But we certainly do not all need to catch it now give that the NHS is totally ill equiped to cope. If we do this the death rate may be nearer to 10% than 0.5%.

      But this alas seems to be the government’s idiotic policy as they are follow the “science”, unfortunately the wrong science. The real and very clear logic of the position is to delay the infection as far as is humany possible. Then use the time get the NHS geared up and find the best treatments that give the best survival rates. But it seems the governement and their experts seem to think they know better!

      • Martin R
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        If someone is scientifically and technically illiterate, having never been educated in hard subjects such as maths and science, then they have never had to face up to hard facts in the way engineers and mathematicians must. Such as these are ill equipped to even be able to seek out the best advice in the first place, as we have seen by their repeatedly abysmal decision making. Yet we live in a world that is the end product of centuries now of scientific and engineering progress, a world which classically trained politicians will never understand, so it seems. In the case of this pandemic the best thing to do when they are flailing around every day without a clue would be to seek urgent assistance from the countries which have brought this under control with successful strategies and do exactly what they advise. S Korea is one such. It will not happen, naturally.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

          Exactly.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

          +1

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      Well go and hang around hospital reception then and catch it, off you go.

      What utter nonsense.

      With a mortality of about one-in-six, the elderly need to stay healthy until a vaccine and or effective treatment is available, which may be in as little as a few months or may take longer.

      In the meantime the rest of us need to try to avoid it too so as not to give it to either them or to any other vulnerable group.

      There is no evidence that lasting immunity comes from catching it either.

      The Chinese appear to have stopped it in its tracks and with only about one in three hundred thousand of their people being killed by it, so it can be done.

    • formula57
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      “The root of the problem is that everybody needs to catch this virus.” !

      And what if repeat infections occur and are materially more virulent (as occurred in with the Spanish Influenza)?

      Would it not be better to avoid infection whilst awaiting a vaccine?

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

        That’s too much like good sense to be acceptable to some people, f57.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

        There is a similar, possibly greater, fear of going straight to human with a covid19 vaccine as some have suggested. Prior research on other coronaviruses has found potential vaccines can lead to a worse effect on infection.

    • oldtimer
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      No amount of government support, whether by loans or handouts, can or will substitute the cash flows that businesses generate through their sales revenues. All they can do is provide support for part of the costs of being business and to defer, for a time, insolvency. The economy, as we know it, could easily be the biggest casualty of all as a consequence of this virus. The time may come when that reality dawns on the politicians in charge and they change tack (perhaps when they have more emergency treatment facilities in place) to enforce confinement of defined vulnerable people and tell everyone else to go about their business as before. PS I am a few days shy of 87.

    • Irene
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      “On the plus side only people with underlying health conditions, who are being kept alive by modern medicine are vunerable.” For the record, that is NOT true. Your comment should not have passed moderation without comment.

    • Stred
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      The distancing policy and working from home should not take down the whole economy. My family have been working at home with no problem. The leisure and house conversion industries will suffer until the epidemic peaks and enough people recover and know that they are safe. Because of the lack of action by the government in the initial stages of the epidemic there will be far more deaths and seriously affected than in China, Taiwan, Korea and Singapore. The cost of pensions and health will reduce and no doubt the civil service has done the sums.

      It is probable that the government will avoid paying housing benefit to those renting BTL and will legalise the non payment of rent. This will of course mean that landlords who depend on the rent as a pension will not be able to afford to spend anything on anything other than essentials. Those tenants with secure state salaries will be quids in and able to spend on leisure after the peak.

      The economy will change but survive with state employees having the advantage and the self employed and savers being shafted.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      In that case we need more reliable stats on just who is vulnerable. We’re now getting information saying blood group A is almost twice as susceptible as O. Males more than females. And so on.

      We must be reaching the stage with AI where our health records on a chip can predict +/-0.1% our mortality/need for ICU or hospital likelihood when catching this thing, and match that with hospitalisation facilities available in the event we succumb.

      Then we can work out whether it makes sense to isolate.

    • NickC
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      Javelin, Yes, without an effective vaccine, you are correct that everyone will have to catch this virus. For the under 50s who are healthy that does not seem to be a problem. But for those who are elderly or who have ongoing health problems it is.

      The corollary of what you say is that the government is over-reacting. That may be inescapable because the agenda is being driven by the the sort of people who screech “doom!” but appear incapable of doing anything practical (as we’ve seen over the last 4 years). These people need to be shut down before they cause more damage.

      • Mitchel
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        You know how it works-the more sensational the article,the greater the number of clicks,the higher the ad revenue.

        Journalism died a while back;this is the age of the presstitute.

      • hefner
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        ‘Auberge des Migrants’ and ‘Médecins du Monde’ are two among 24 associations lobbying the prefects of the Nord and Pas-de-Calais départements and the mayors of Calais and Grande-Synthe (near Dunkerke) to make sure the people in the migrants‘ camps there are properly monitored w.r.t. Covid-19. Police and nursing staff are to start such effort after both President Macron, PM Philippe have practically shut the country through first recommendations then actions in the last five days. Although Nord-Pas-de-Calais have some cases of Covid-19 the big majority of them originally came from the East of France and an area north of Paris.
        Another thing, Macron does not have the power (‘plein pouvoirs’) to take all these decisions. Up to now everything has been decided by the government in agreement with the Parliament and Senate (these last few days meeting via video-conferences.

        • hefner
          Posted March 18, 2020 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

          Sorry, this was to be linked to Andy’s comment.

    • Pominoz
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Javelin,

      Too right. The economic catastrophe is going to be much worse than the medical catastrophe. Many (most) of us are likely, in the end to become infected. Is it a case of just let it rip to get it over sooner?

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        It would never be over, scientists say. It would probably become endemic like the common cold, but with a far higher lethality, and as people aged their chance of being killed by it would ever increase.

        Do you want that world?

        • Edward2
          Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

          But a anti viral will be developed
          Just like we have with nearly all killer illnesses.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 19, 2020 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

            We have not for the Common Cold, and this is from the same virus family.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 19, 2020 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

            But the common cold doesn’t kill.
            Keep trying.

    • beresford
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      They should identify low-risk groups of health workers and send them to corona-virus parties. They can all do their ‘stir’ together and when they come out the other side they will be able to go anywhere and work without hazmat equipment. I’m going to the pub tonight unless it actually becomes illegal. I am perfectly capable of avoiding crowded situations and there is no logic in preeventing people from going to pubs but allowing them to go to mosques etc..

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

        Some would die all the same.

        Would you like to be the person who gave that instruction?

        What do you think would happen to you?

    • CvM
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      I do not believe this is at all correct. Take the extreeme, if everyone isolated the virus could not spread and after a while those who are active carriers stop becoming carriers and they can then meet others without spreading. So more or less no further people need become infected. It’s not practical I realise, but the premise that everyone needs to catch it and potentially hundreds of thousands die is simply not correct

      • Mark
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

        The choice may be how you want to die. Do you want to starve, or be killed by thieves seeking to empty your freezer, which may in any case stop working when there’s no-one to keep the electricity going? If we could eliminate the virus by taking a weekend holiday it would be easy. But it would take months, especially since there would inevitably be those who would break the lockdown. Of course, they might risk simply being shot, as in China.

    • miami.mode
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps, Javelin, you’d like to get a dose and if you come through the other end, let us know what it’s like.

      By the way, every time I type vunerable I get a squiggly red line under it.

      • Merrie Qubus
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

        That’s because you can’t spell !

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

          Read the post to which mm replied, and feel duly embarrassed.

          • miami.mode
            Posted March 19, 2020 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

            Thanks for that., Martin.

    • Ronald Olden
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 4:12 am | Permalink

      This comment is ABSOLUTELY right. The risk from this virus is VERY demographic specific, and it could have been spread throughout 60% of the population with less death risk to them all, than the flu virus showed in 2009.

      The only case for suppressing the spread of this virus is to ensure that the NHS isn’t swamped by the most vulnerable groups all getting it at once.

      But most of those self isolating at the moment don’t even have much in the way of symptoms and might not have the virus anyway. They’re isolating because the miniscule symptoms they or one of their family does have, requires them to self isolate because the government says they must.

      This virus should have been spread amongst the healthy under 40 population as quickly as possible, and the best way to do that is via school children who have vanishingly small risks even after having contracted it, and through their healthy young parents. When I last looked, even in Italy where the virus is endemic, the youngest of the 3500 deaths to date was a man aged 39, and nearly everyone else MUCH older.

      Most of the high risk demographic in the UK are largely economically inactive anyway and the higher risk they are, the more likely they are to already be economically and socially inactive. They could have been easily isolated, whilst the rest of us get our exposure and develop immunity so we can all cope with the others when they eventually have to get it.

      The way this has been handled, is an EXACT illustration of the State’s arrogant fecklessness and the ludicrous magical powers the chattering classes claim for it. They try to control everything to the nth degree and end up making things MUCH MUCH worse.

      The REAL light at the end of the tunnel in this is the test that that will soon be available in the UK which will tell if people have had the virus without knowing and already have immunity.

      The result of the tests if they start in London (which is weeks ahead in exposure to the virus than most of the rest of the UK, and even ahead of parts of Italy), might end up revealing these panic merchants as laughing stocks, and enable all this to cease sooner than we think.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

        What a truly appalling post.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

          Keep waving your virue signalling flag Martin.

  2. jerry
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    How about staring from the bottom up, there are people loosing their jobs or incomes streams through no fault of their own, these people had little from Budget Mk1, Budget Mk2 has passed them by yesterday too, and the help many want can be ticked on by HMT very easily (yeas at a borrowing cost), suspend or cancel much more UBR and CT payments for the next tax year for example, prevent the utilities/telecoms from sending out/demanding payments, preventing foreclosures by banks and credit companies were business or household debts are unpaid.

    LOANS, as outlined by the Chancellor yesterday is not the answer to a business when they have no idea when or even if they will be able to reopen for business – some of my work might no longer exist after this virus has run its course, especially if my customers have also been driven into debt, my ‘products’ is highly discretionary in nature.

    • jerry
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 6:36 am | Permalink

      Sorry but whilst the Govt. keeps saying “What ever it takes”, so far what ever they announce always appears behind the curve or not enough – they need to be pro-active, not re-active.

      • Next Mr Speaker
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        It will be a health break if Government goes back on ALL its plans for everything about the Virus and returns the UK to normality then hold a General Election. We should not wish this set of dunces to get into power again.They are General Ludd

        • Mark
          Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

          Be thankful that it is not Mr Corbyn in charge. We would be looking like Venezuela in a week.

      • Martin R
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

        The Government needed to be pro-active months ago and immediately stop all flights coming in from China, as soon as it became apparent that this is a very very serious problem. That in the context of the ChiComs having lied for a month about the existence of the disease. But they did not. They should have stopped flights from other countries as soon as they had become badly affected. They did not. At every point they are behind the curve. People are dying and will die in ever increasing numbers due to the government still taking the wrong advice at every stage.

        The schools need to be closed now, on the spot. If they need to be used as day nurseries for the children of essential workers that can be done by much smaller numbers of staff. Virtually every child now has access to a computer so can be educated to some degree at home in the short to medium term.

        What is clear is there are certain countries that have dealt with this far more successfully, S Korea for example. The Government should be urgently seeking their full guidance and using their methods. But they will not of course because they cannot tolerate losing face.

        • jerry
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 6:59 am | Permalink

          @Martin R; Once the virus was understood Italy did ban direct flights from China….

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      Face it, there may have to be a substantial one-off wealth or asset tax to save the economy, and very considerable redistribution.

      Other countries are considering this.

      • jerry
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

        @MiC; Nonsense, unless borrowing has to exceed that of the entire UK WW2 war debt!…

      • Mitchel
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        Asset values are collapsing;the debt isn’t.And as JK Galbraith famously wrote:

        “All crises have involved debt that,in one fashion or another,has become dangerously out of scale in relation to the underlying means of payment.”

        Boris and his goofily grinning Chancellor declared an end to austerity only a couple of weeks ago-well,it was certainly an end to the faux austerity of the past decade;the real meaning of austerity is,I suggest,going to be revealed to us very soon.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        Yeah a good dose of Marxism will sort everything out.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 18, 2020 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

          What a silly comment as ever.

          Some US analysts are proposing this.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 18, 2020 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

            Oh how interesting
            You actually mean American Marxists.
            Hilarious

          • jerry
            Posted March 19, 2020 at 7:07 am | Permalink

            @MiC; The USA is not the UK or EU27 countries, for example the USA does not already have an effective pubic health service, their system of a social security safety net is dire for example.

      • Mark
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

        Asset values are falling very sharply. You won’t get much revenue out of such a tax. Indeed, merely trying to impose it would simply crash asset values still further.

  3. Ian Wragg
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    I will ask again. Have we stopped the cross channel ferry service for illegal immigrants who are no doubt infected from France.

    • Andy
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 6:42 am | Permalink

      What an absolutely outrageous comment. How are they ‘no doubt infected’? I sympathise with them. Because they seek hope in this country and instead will find it stuffed with people like you.

      • Cheshire Girl
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

        Andy:

        How can the Government urge people here to isolate, when they are allowing people from foreign countries to come in illegally. what is that doing, if not increasing the risk of infection.

        You may not mind if your family is infected, but I do. I am well up into the vulnerable group, and so is my Son, who has asthma. It is time to look after our own.

        I hope that everyone on this Forum manages to stay well, and, if they catch the virus, manages to fully recover from it.

        We have to try to stay strong, and nasty remarks from you are not helping.

      • jerry
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:14 am | Permalink

        @Andy; Whilst i in no way condone the sort of comment that the unthinking right keep pushing one does have to ask, if the EU is so marvellous why can’t these migrants find the “hope” you speak of in France?

        • bill brown
          Posted March 18, 2020 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

          Jerry

          this is a total irrelevant comment to Wraggs outrageous coments

          • Edward2
            Posted March 18, 2020 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

            Why so bill?
            I thought Jerry’s commentvwas very pertinent.
            Why do people want to risk their lives to leave good democratic nations in the EU and come to the UK?
            Ian makes a good point.
            We should do what other nations are doing and restrict immigration.
            Or at least health check those wanting come to the UK.
            Not outrageous just sensible precautions.
            Or does the woke liberalism and virtue signalling you and Andy display take precedence over a straightforward health and safety issue?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

          Because they cannot work there without ID cards, and France regulates the cash economy more closely than the UK.

          There are also not large pre-existing communities of their particular ethnic, linguistic, and cultural groups in France for them to join.

          France also restricts certain religious and cultural practices more rigorously than does the UK.

          Voting Leave has made not one iota of difference to these facts, and so has had zero effect of such people’s wish to come here.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 19, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

            I’m not saying it has
            Stop making things up.

            You want to control this crisis by Chinese style lock downs yet you want immigration must continue without checks.
            Do you not see a strange logic to your ideas?

          • jerry
            Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

            @MiC; “Because they [migrants] cannot work there without ID cards,”

            They can’t work legally in the UK without the correct paperwork either, so your point above is rather moot to say the least!

            If these migrants do not like French society, and yes you might be right about religious intolerances, but once they have their EU papers they can move to any one of about 25 other ‘welcoming’ EU member states. What is more many if not all of these migrants pass through at least one other EU member state before setting foot in France.

            Indeed Martin, there was miss-information on the Brexit side of the referendum, but there were also much miss-information on the Remain side too, as your comment illustrates…

      • agricola
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:26 am | Permalink

        Yes it is outrageous but I recall that not so long ago you were wishing for the demise of the elderly.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

        Andy mate, you are in no position to complain about outrageous comments given your perpetual years-long lack of sympathy for all old people and your offensive comments about them. Pipe down.

        • bill brown
          Posted March 18, 2020 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

          Roy Grainger

          this does not condone Ian’ s remarks

          • Edward2
            Posted March 18, 2020 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

            It is good to expose the blatant hypocrisy Andy displays

          • Jiminyjim
            Posted March 18, 2020 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

            This would be a perfectly reasonable comment, Bill, if you’d been seen to criticise Andy’s previous outrageous comments

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

        It’s quite clear that there are far worse things than coronavirus with which to be infected, and some commenters display the disorder very clearly.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

        You have no idea who they are.

      • Stred
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

        Because they have been living in camps in France, which is in lockdown because the virus has spread to the extent that their excellent health service is overwhelmed.

        • hefner
          Posted March 18, 2020 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

          Isn’t it curious that the foci of the infection were originally in the East of the country (Mulhouse area) and North of Paris
          (the Oise department) where these migrants’ camps are not located? I agree it has now spread further but the regions where the hospitals are saturated are still those ones.

      • formula57
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

        And they cannot seek hope in France because?

        • bill brown
          Posted March 18, 2020 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

          Stred

          You are guessing you have no clues on this guess game

      • Iain Gill
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

        to be fair there are groups of people who are at increased risk of cross infecting the rest of the population.

        people coming across the channel in a little boat is one of those groups.

        as are

        homeless (including the sofa surfers who move around a lot)
        “travelers” in their caravans
        students in their halls of residence

        this is reality, i sympathise too, but mouthing off every time somebody raises such issues is not going to help keep more people alive.

        all these groups should be getting targetted help to reduce their social interactions and to minimise spreading of the virus.

      • Edwardm
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        Perhaps you might like to suggest to potential illegal immigrants that they should seek hope in France – a bigger country and without the people who you despise.

      • bigneil(newercomp)
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

        Andy – why do these people seek “hope” in THIS country – -after passing through several/many where they can already get “hope”? When some of them are willing to kill lorry drivers in Calais to get here do you actually want this type of person coming here, living on our taxes, unemployable and walking our streets?

        • bill brown
          Posted March 18, 2020 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

          bigneil

          We are facing a disaster and you are making guesses based on your own ignorance

          • Ian Wragg
            Posted March 18, 2020 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

            And Importing thousands of potential carriers of whom we know nothing is not going to help.
            My government is talking of huge fines or incarceration if I leave my house but illegal immigrants have can wander in freely.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 18, 2020 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

            Answer the point raised bill.

      • Shirley M
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        They are not refugees as they are leaving France to come to the UK, and have no right to be resident in the UK. France is a safe country … or are you saying France is not safe?

        • Fred H
          Posted March 18, 2020 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

          certain areas of Paris are not safe…

      • NickC
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 10:42 am | Permalink

        Andy, What an absolutely outrageous comment. It is quite clear that if the UK had sealed its borders we would not have the Chinese virus. Whilst that is not practical, a severe reduction in the flow would have reduced the infection rate. That is why Schengen has been suspended. You see, even your precious EU empire has curtailed its ideology in the face of cold hard reality. Catch up.

        • bill brown
          Posted March 18, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

          Nick C

          We are all faced with a disaster and your cheap points are totally unnecessary and you should as usual know better

          • Edward2
            Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

            Yes you tell us bill
            Headmaster of this blog

      • Pud
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 11:59 am | Permalink

        Andy, why do you sympathise with criminals who are trying to bypass the immigration system?
        The only way someone paddling across the Channel is a genuine refugee is if they are a French citizen fleeing persecution by the French government, which is highly unlikely. Anyone else is already in a safe country in which they should claim asylum and they have crossed several other safe countries to get there.
        I believe this country should welcome genuine refugees but reject crooks who pay other crooks to arrange their passage.

      • Lester Beedell
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

        Haha Andy, I’d expect a comment like that from you and you never disappoint, the gift that keeps giving 😂😂😂😂

        • bill brown
          Posted March 18, 2020 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

          Lester Beedell

          We as a country are facing very hard times and you just have cheap reamrks what a load of nosense from you

          • Edward2
            Posted March 18, 2020 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

            Oh bill do stop playing the role of a sanctimonious class teacher on here.
            Just post your views.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      No, but they will ensure that you will not be allowed out of your home to buy food.

    • Chris Dark
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      Quite agree. It is enormously worrying that people can still drift across the channel and walk ashore unchallenged, whilst the movements of our elderly (and many others) are being clamped down on. Unless this is stopped, no amount of screaming shouting or lockdown will prevent viral spread. The country’s coastline remains open to all and sundry, AND the virus they absolutely do bring with them, from the continent.

    • BOF
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      One of those running sores that can be conveniently be ignored in these times.

    • bill brown
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      Ian Wragg

      You are a disgrace and should stop your nonsense

      • NickC
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

        Bill B, You are a disgrace and should stop your perpetual personal attacks. Ian Wragg is perfectly correct. Indeed, all immigration must be severely curtailed to help prevent the spread of Wuhan flu.

        • bill brown
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 3:32 am | Permalink

          Nick C

          stop your personal agenda, Ian, is totally out of line. This is not a personal attack it is giving an opinion to an outrageous statement, there is a big difference. I am sure even you can see that.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 19, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

            Would you be testing new arrivals bill?

            Its OK for other countries to apply travel band but not the UK?

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      what a common sense approach and wise comment

      • Fred H
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

        glen – – not often found here!

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      To be honest Ian I’m more interesting in stopping those idiots in Benidorm ‘we’ve got the virus na na na na na’ just swanning back into the general population when they’re showing up our whole Country being real pains for the Spanish police, they should be locked up compulsory quaranteed together for a month no booze.

    • beresford
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      Well according to the news they are at least being tested for the virus before being released on their ‘word of honour’ that they will return to the taxi service offices.

    • gregory martin
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

      It certainly occurs that great strides could be made in expediting the removal of the backlog of deportations already sanctioned, given the availability of considerable aviation resources and much reduced fuel costs.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    Get the help direct to businesses (and not through the inefficient, expensive, uncompetitive, rationing, incompetent & very slow banks). Cut the red tape on banks. Allow people to borrow or withdraw from their pensions schemes without later restricting on building it up again, relax of the restrictive lending rules on buy to let and other property lending that has done such damage (the slotting rules and stress testing) and the absurd double taxation of non profits on landlords that has encourage even lower lending. Give large holidays on PAYE and VAT payments and get rid of the large penalties for late payment. Relax all red tape, get rid of late filing penalties, get off the backs of the productive. Stop HSBC and the other banks charging 40% or higher overdraft rates. Abolish the revenue attack on the self employed, suspend time consuming, fishing trip, random tax inquiries. Cancel HS2 and all the renewable lunacy to pay for it all.

    “This is the nearest we have to a revelation even to an atheist” says Lord Johnathon Sacks. Not at all mate. Sensible people have always know humanity is at risk from all sorts of dangers (clearly if there actually were a God she must be a very nasty one if you look at nature – bloody red in tooth and claw with most animals born being just food for other animals). Are guests on Newsnight now going to have to wear neck ribbons advertising the BBC from now on?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      Also let people access there ISA, Lisa, save to buy isa…. and other saving products without restricting them from putting the money back in later.

      Though all these silly government saving products are largely a waste everyone’s time and money with all their silly and restrictive rules. Just have a sensible tax regime for all saving and cull all this pathetic gimmicky and tied in products. Release all the people working on these rules and products to get a real & productive job instead.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

        their!

    • Tim Chick
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      Yes indeed to the first paragraph.

      This idea of loans has Treasury parsimony fingerprints all over it. They just don’t seem to get it, as they often do not.

      We need to keep enough money churning through businesses to employees so that they can pay bills and manage to live.

      On a separate note, I would expect all those on telephone number salaries to take massive pay cuts. They will have nowhere near as much to do as they were doing before and why should they be feather-bedded at the taxpayer’s expense.

      Then there is the question of profiteering. I fully expect prices will be nudged up by the supermarkets so they can profit. The government needs to clearly warn businesses that any hints of exploiting people in this crisis will be meet with swift and draconian action, and this would be first and foremost against the directors, then the company as the company has no physical existence whereby it can decide anything.

      I heard special pleading on the radio this morning by the airport (sorry shopping malls with planes attached) operators for assistance, when many of their owners have taken out massive dividends. For example Heathrow’s owners took over 1.bn in dividends over the last 5 years. They need to be made to pay back and support their businesses first, not run bleating to the taxpayer at the first sign of turbulence.

      The phrase ‘we are all in this together’ was one much used in 2008, but we weren’t, ordinary people suffered and most of the wealthy profited. This time everyone is at risk and there should be no profiting by the wealthy.

    • ianterry
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic

      Cancel HS2 and all the renewable lunacy to pay for it all.

      Basically you are correct. What we are looking at is the survival of the population and it being strong enough, when and if we get through this to be able to rapidly grow the output of the country.

      If it takes the repeal of the Climate Change Act it will be a very small price to pay. What we should be doing is ensuring that the most important thing to totally focus on is the survival of the people of this country NOW not what and may happen in 25 to 40 years time because a computer programme says it is a possibility. Even dedicated greens must surely accept that not everything revolves around the future.

      Bring all the foreign aid budget into play, if we do not survive with some means of going forward there will be no money for foreign aid, renewable energy and high speed train passengers.

      Nothing much happening over the Australian claim, they think they have an existing vaccine that think can impact on the virus. All countries should be working with them just to confirm that it can or cannot have a role to play.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      wise words indeed

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      The credit reference agencies seem to be to be a racket. The give information to the lenders that means they can see what rates you are borrowing at and this is hugely anti-competitive. Also if you mis the odd payment for whatever reason, the virus, a tempory illness and just an error it can cause huge problems even though you might be perfectly credit worthy and with substantial assets.

      This who area need looking at.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

        Sorry I meants – The credit reference agencies seem to me to be a complete racket – the whole area need looking at it is hugely anti-competitive and rips off borrowers. You often cannot get an interest rate off lenders before they search and searches damage your credit rating so you cannot shop arround.

        Also get the FCA to change the totally absurd rules that means HSBC are now charging 39% overdraft rates so that I cannot now use it! It used to be 2.5% over base a while back. Lloyds charge nearly 78%! That was the historian Andrew Bailey now at the BoE thinking. Anyone who thing banks should charge the same interest rate regardless of the credit risk of the client is mathematically illiterate and certainly should not be at the top of BoE. We have suffered enough with PPE greencrap/dope Carney.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      Some good new – IR35 delayed from April 2020 to the 6th April 2021 – but why only delayed cancel it. Cancel HS2 too and cancel all the war CO2 plant food too.

      We are governed by fools or crooks in the main.

  5. bill brown
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    Sir JR

    You are absolutely right a few loans form the government will not help small businesses much or will it assist the self-employed. We need a much more massive grant supported system for the business community along the lines of what is now being offered in Denmark , to all employees and most businesses.

    We need a much more active and grant supported policy from the government at this very important stage.

  6. John E
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    The airlines will have to be nationalised. That’s going to be complex given the ownership structures. Is British Airways for the Spanish or the British to rescue? Can the Irish government cope with Ryanair? Wizz is Hungarian but is listed in London. Add in Brexit and it’s all going to be difficult to navigate. But we will need airlines in some form in the future. And you can’t just park airplanes without maintaining them.

    As a general point the government support for large businesses and corporations should not bail out shareholders. The businesses need to go through bankruptcy or administration first. Then focus efforts on the things we will need to reboot life after the virus.

    I fear this is going to be a 2008 plus event.

    • agricola
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      Total chaos which is what you suggest is no solution.

    • jerry
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      @John E; More important than the airlines are the utilities, the telecoms and Transport, whilst they do not need nationalising (unless they to run into difficulties) they should be placed under direct control of a Govt dept. similar to how they were in 1939, this would not impinge on their ownership structures but merely coordinate essential operations.

      If this is a prolonged crisis we will likely need dedicated Ministries of Supply, and Food, some products that everyone has relied on for years will be either in short supply or non existent, quite possibly because of external problems, people might well need to go back to basics, anyone fancy “Woolton pie”, the contents grown in your own private garden? I dusted off my Grandmothers old cook books the other day, they make interesting reading!

      The I want it, I want it now, society is on pause…

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      British Airways is a Spanish Company that is largely owned by Qatar. Any taxpayer funding should be direct to staff otherwise the taxpayer is just funding the profit and tax flow to those that do not contribute to the UK.

      The UK has no jurisdiction on their shareholder dividends.

      Like wise Virgin Airways is US(Delta) and Netherlands(KLM) again any direct subsidies would be for the benefit of foreign tax authorities and shareholders. Over which our government and us as taxpayers would derive or see any return.

      • jerry
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

        @Ian~Barkham; It’s not the ownership of the paper airline company that matters here but who actually owns the aircraft, not the same thing.

        Quite a lot of the worlds aircraft are leased, it is quite possible that the actual owner would be more than happy if a UK govt backed company were to take over the leases (or even buy the assets outright) as it would not then fall to the leasing company to maintain the aircraft even if laid-up.

        • Ian @Barkham
          Posted March 18, 2020 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

          The observation there is, that in the case of Flybee. Virgin Airways owned all the planes, building etc, The company was just the personnel. Fybee was folded the tax holiday, meant tax due was never paid, the taxpayer lost.

          Then to rub salt into the wound the UK taxpayer now is paying the redundancy and the receiver has no assets to sell

      • miami.mode
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        A dose of common sense there, Ian.

      • NickC
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        Ian, Spot on – financial help should be directed to British people, not foreign companies.

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      Why will the airlines have to be nationalised? We’ve seen pleasure flights aren’t necessary to life support?

      “And you can’t just park airplanes without maintaining them.” You can’t park up any business equipment without maintaining them!

    • Richard1
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      Rather than nationalise brown style at arbitrary valuations it would be better to look at convertibles such as the US govt did in the financial crash, so they can be unwound / repaid easier after the crisis is over.

    • Martin R
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      At this rate there won’t be any airlines to nationalise (as JohnE wanted). Even if this dies down there is no reason to believe that COVID19 will go away permanently, any more than flu ever goes away altogether. And this is much much more dangerous than flu. Viruses always mutate and come back again rejuvenated. So travel shoulder to shoulder in narrow metal tubes simply can not survive in its current form in the future.

      To maintain adequate seat spacing in the existence of a COVID19 epidemic (let alone pandemic) will require airliners to carry a very small fraction of the number of passengers they carry now. Perhaps reduce reduce occupancy to a fifth or less. The consequence of that would be to quintuple the cost of an airline seat, probably to at least business class level if not considerably more. Even then embarking and disembarking will prove extremely problematical and time consuming if it is to be safe. It will mean far fewer being able to fly abroad every year and an enormous reduction in the airline business, if it can survive at all.

      If airliners are unable to carry more than a tiny fraction of their current passenger numbers in the future exactly the same will apply to travel in other narrow metal tubes such as railway trains for instance. I’m thinking particularly of the Tories’ insanely costly HS2 toy train set for which there was never even the remotest economic case in the very beginning let alone now when it will cost five or six times the disgracefully fraudulent sum of £30 Bn first mooted. The economics of HS2 are already non-existent. In the age of COVID19 they will become at best five times more non-existent than they are now, if anyone even goes on the wretched thing. All that in the context of paying for it in an economy that will be a mere shadow of what it is now in its current (sadly de-industrialised) form. Will these fools cancel it? Never!

    • Iain Gill
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      Pension funds own those shares, if the shares are zero value so are everyone’s pensions. It is not going to be good.

  7. Andy
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    What a difference three months makes. If Jeremy Corbyn had proposed such measures imagine the howls of outrage from tbt right.

    Still. It is not enough.

    What the Chancellor needed to say was this. “Every business that was a viable business on March 1st will still be a business on September 1st. Everyone who was earning on March 1st will still be earning on September 1st. Everyone will keep their home – whether they rent or own. Utility bills and council tax bills are scrapped for six months. Government will guarantee all of this.”

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      Government will guarantee this? Except of course government has no money other than what they extract (or borrow and later extract) from the people/businesses they are bailing out now.

      So we are just bailing out ourselves in the end, via the hugely inefficient government middle man (who will waste £billions in the process) and manage it appallingly.

      • Andy
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

        Yes. It does mean we are bailing ourselves out by guaranteeing that nobody will lose their home, their income, their job as a result of doing the right thing and staying at home. We will effectively be pausing the economy for six months.

        We will have to pay it all back of course. But it is easier to pay it back if people and businesses can pick up where they left off than it will be if swathes of people are out of work and thousands of businesses have collapsed.

    • agricola
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      Just for once I agree with you.

      • NickC
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

        Agricola, Slight problem though – where is the money coming from for all of Andy’s largesse? As usual he is being irresponsible.

    • zorro
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      I agree wholeheartedly.

      zorro

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      Why should we scrap your utility bill ? You can afford it so pay up.

    • Richard1
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      Indeed there would have been. but then there would have been howls of outrage if Jeremy Corbyn had ordered people not to go out and the hospitality sector to shut down. Unless of course something had changed – like there was a virus causing a health crisis.

    • Mark
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      What Andy has written is exactly what the Chancellor needs to say. It’s a clear message without any vague references to some loans that a business may or may not get. If people are worried about their jobs, they’re less likely to spend. It’s a vicious circle, that some bold words and actions could correct.

      It’s all very well allowing or expecting various sectors of business to go bust, but it’ll have obvious knock-on effects. The economy needs to have a form of protected hibernation. It’ll have a huge cost, but it’s similar to a war cost, it can be worked out after the crisis is over or contained.

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      Andy we weren’t in a critical close down situation three months ago, don’t be silly.

    • villaking
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Andy, I know. The right wingers’ current screaming for government cash is one of the few humorous things about the current situation. When Labour had to hurl a load of money out because of the global financial crisis we were told they should have “fixed the roof whilst the sun was shining”. This time we started with a much higher level of debt than back then and this after after 10 years of Tory led government. Do you think they will be saying the same thing about fixing roofs or will the message now change? I am waiting to see how Sir John will try to blame the EU or Jeremy Corbyn for this one.
      The government is reacting correctly by my my, the hypocrisy

      • NickC
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

        Villaking, Is that the “much higher level of debt” due to the austerity you keep pontificating about?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      The rich could guarantee it with a one-off wealth tax. Oh, sorry, that’s all offshore here, isn’t it?

      • Edward2
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

        No they couldn’t.
        The effect on the economy has already required an injection of £330 billion.
        And if the epidemic continues for many months that might need repeating.
        Taxing a few very rich at even higher rates that they pay now would not bring on anything like the sums needed.
        Using this crisis to try to peddle your extreme left political dreams is very poor.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 18, 2020 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

          There’s a good few trillion equity in residential property alone.

          It wouldn’t take that great a share of just that, would it?

          I’m willing to pay my due.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 18, 2020 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

            So you own fixed assets.
            Where do you get the cash to pay that tax?

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 19, 2020 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

            From my cash reserves, how else?

            Others could always sell some.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 19, 2020 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

            How lucky you are are.
            How do the other 99% manage to pay?
            Sell your home to pay your mad tax for those you consider rich.
            Only an extremely left wing person could consider this mad scheme.

        • bill brown
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

          Edward 2

          thank you very good and sensible response

    • Lester Beedell
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Andy, there you go again!
      There really are times when it’s better to keep quiet and perhaps be thought an idiot rather than launch into print and confirm it

    • CvM
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      define viable and how it’s verified

    • Edward2
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      How can you promise all this.
      Wishful thinking with Other People’s Money.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      Yes, the closest they can get to a complete “freeze”. Frankly, the REVERSE of propping up businesses with cash injections.

      For businesses, no ongoing business rates, interest or rent to pay. Freeze debtors and creditors.

      For employees, guarantee wages at a basic level related to their past NI ers and ees contributions and their jobs back later. Also allow employees to access their pensions or ISAs on a time limited basis.

      Financially fixed.

  8. Stephen Priest
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    I think Business Rates should be scrapped for all businesses for at least two years, if not forever.

    On a brighter note my 85 year old father is contacting his friends by video, somehow via Facebook

    • Everhopeful
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      Scrapped for ever!

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      Including toilet roll manufacturers and sold out supermarkets who can’t stock up fast enough! and the Ever increasing giant that is Amazon?

  9. Lifelogic
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Deaths from the virus in the UK have gone from 11 to 71 in four days. An average increase of 61% per day, day on day. Already the NHS is not coping, lacking protective and other equipment.

    At this rate we would have 28 X 71 = 1990 death by next week and 28^2 * 71 = 56,000 in a two weeks. Perhaps about ten times this number needing hospitalisation and help with breathing etc. Unless some better treatments can be found or the spread of the infection can be slowed.

    Why are were the government so slow to react and why are they still even now under reacting hugely. The government and their “experts” have got it badly wrong. The NHS will not cope and very many people will die for lack of basic health care and ventilators. In the UK we could have delayed it hugely and given the NHS far more time but the government and their “experts” just decided not to. Thus overwhelming the NHS and giving a far higher mortality rate than was needed.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      Keeping deaths beneath 20,000 would be seen as ‘good outcome’ Sir Patrick Vallance told MPs.

      It would be an amazingly good outcome given the above and the abject failure of government to act far more strongly earlier to slow the infection spread and get the NHS ready for the deluge.

      Routine operations cancelled from Mid April they say. What make these ”experts” think they will get as far as Mid April given the above?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:34 am | Permalink

        Baring the discovery of some miracle treatment in the next few days that works and is already in stock that is.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

          Barring!

  10. DOMINIC
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Understand one simple fact. This Tory party now ensconced in No.10 doesn’t give a fig about the private sector. It’s only concern is the promotion of the Tory party’s political interest, all else is immaterial. Johnson will bend over backwards for Labour’s client state, their public sector and their progressive pressure groups but he knows he doesn’t have to do the same for the people who pay all the bills, the private sector.

    The private sector can’t go on strike, the unionised public sector can and they use this to force concessions. This process of threats no doubt happens behind closed doors on almost daily basis. This is the real Tory party in action. Say one thing in public, backslide in private.

    I am suspicious of Johnson’s plan. I believe it’s more about protecting the NHS from extra work rather than alleviating the spread of this virus. Once you understand the ‘capture’ of the Tory party by Labour’s client state then it all falls into place and you see the Tories in a very different light

    So, I don’t expect this government to do anything particularly pivotal for the private sector unless they are forced into it, only then will they act out of pressure rather than choice. That forced decision making reveals what the Tory party’s become.

    OT – Hate Not Hope is a Labour party pressure group not a moral crusade. They and their raison d’etre need to be fully exposed

  11. Mark B
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    “How should the government support the economy?”

    By not scaring the hell out of us !

    The government should be calming things and speaking to the media. It is talking us into a recession.

    Oh ! And rid us of all that rubbish Green Enviro-loony stuff.

  12. Lifelogic
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    Lance Price (on The Papers last night, a rather typical deluded, lefty, BBC guest, PPE Oxon).

    Rather typically he thinks the government should requisition private hospitals beds and should not even pay for them. What else would he like the government to just thieve off people and businesses his house perhaps and his pension pot?

    Rather a shame we did not have a much larger private sector and thus more capacity. He also would welcome the demise of many of the airlines! An ideal guest for the deluded BBC!

  13. Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    One way to help business, the economy and the future would be to encourage investment IN and implementiaton of remote computing for all companies.
    Not all the companies in the centre of big cities need their staff on site, and with trains / transport likely to get hit badly with staff shortages etc – NOW IS THE TIME TO MAKE HOME WORKING A REALITY for EVERYONE.
    With teleconferencing facilities and a work PC, many could avoid the daily commute. Companies would need to pay for a new telephone line into home properties, and then they would need to look at how people worked, to reduce physical paperwork etc – get it all computerised.
    Security of data clearly would be critical, and it is possible to make sure the networks used are secure, and with appropriate PC software hacking can be eliminated.
    MOD and other secret data may require people on site to use it, contracturarly, but even that could be reviewed and systems enhanced for remote support.
    Just imagine, thousands of people not having to flood the railways, and roads every day just to get to work. Their quality of life would improve, and the railways would have the opportunity to become effective.

  14. Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    As well as the economy, we all need some help against rising costs.

    Already shop prices are rising – with some stores charging what they want for scarce items.

    Government need to work with all supermarkets and suppliers to ensure that all important foods etc can be sourced in the UK.

    Where items for business or basic survival cannot be had from abroad, government needs to help establish production of that / those items within the UK

  15. agricola
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Borrowing is only good for as long as you can pay the interest and repay the loan. I think as I stated yesterday, government must take over the payroll. The long line of inter dependency is then covered and a potential economy will still exist at the end of the pandemic. The slternative is the collapse of the whole economic structure as we know it.

    • agricola
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      I should have added that the collapse of our economic structure will lead to anarchy. The Brits or at least some of them express their anarchic tendencies by stripping supermarket shelves. This I submit is the first sign. Then there is the Black market and we are well on the way.

      • Martyn G
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        I agree. Without in any way demeaning our honourable host with these, my thoughts on governments in general.
        To our Governments, past and present: Over the years, in pandering to various lobbying parties you have collectively taken God out of schools, told parents you cannot discipline your children and raised the cost of living so that both parents now have to work rather than spending time with their children. In doing so you have encouraged a whole generation of out of control, ill disciplined, selfish, entitled brats who have no respect for people, property or authority. Hence the insane panic buying stripping stores of the items needed by others without any sense of fairness to others or shame in doing so, with an attitude of well, the weak can go to wall, it’s me, me, me and what I want every time.
        You allow our war veterans to go homeless and hungry with no support other than that of charities, yet provide £millions in foreign aid which far too often is pocketed by rotten, corrupt people and organisations. Criminal prisoners are provided with all possible support without cost to them, yet you allow the elderly, who have paid their way in society, to exist on the lowest pension in Europe, having often to choose between eating or staying warm and demand that when they need care, their home must be sold to pay for it.
        You allow the police forces to ignore theft from shops and homes, yet allow them to spend huge amounts of their time, money and resources chasing someone who has said something – often on social media – to which another person claims to be a hate crime. Amongst all this you have always bent over backwards to be seen and heard as being so politically correct and always too scared to ever say ‘enough is enough’ in case you offend someone. Well, I say enough is enough and it is now time for you to govern our disunited nation in a much better way, without fear or favour of the self-interested lobbying people.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

        I fear you are right having just been to an essentially empty Tesco (there were easter eggs) and failed to shop. It is though the pessimistic view that everyone hides in their group identities that have developed so strongly in recent years, not looking after the broader society. But the optimistic view is that we get over all this identity stuff and consider each other, maybe we will come together as one country.

  16. Everhopeful
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    I read somewhere that the railways are going to be privatised? Seems like a great opportunity assuming that post virus govt can manage them properly ( doubtful I know).

    Maybe, in future, govts will close borders and fund LOCAL hospitals with SPARE CAPACITY for emergencies. Would’ve been cheaper in the long run.
    Imagine if every town were certain of several hundred ready and waiting,“fever beds” right now!

    But no! Despite knowing about death rates of SARS in 2003 (0 – 50% depending on age and infirmity) there is no preparedness now for what apparently ( if my understanding is correct) is the “sister virus” to SARS. COVID19 is a disease name…the causative virus is SARS-COV-2 which for me rather changes things.

    Perhaps the weird behaviour we are witnessing from govts is PANIC?
    Elites ( used in the nastiest way possible) rather hoist by own petard, bitten on ***.
    Virus doesn’t know the difference between Islington and less affluent areas.

  17. Dave Andrews
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    If my customers find themselves in difficulty paying their bills because of the economic impact of coronavirus paranoia, my business will then have a cashflow problem. It would be harsh for me to start charging them interest on unpaid bills.
    We will then have to default on our debts. Would it also be unreasonable for our creditors, especially the government, to charge interest as well?
    Do we need a comprehensive debt suspension policy, involving business and government?

  18. Iain Gill
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Hire extra hospital cleaners.

    I would increase family allowance to say 2000 a month for three months, get the money to individuals.

    Freelancers who depend on moving around to win and doing work are in big trouble. Just give them all 100000 each ?

    Let big business go bust, sorry they will restart later.

    Get the teachers doing online lessons, buy the kit to do that.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      also every large hospital needs numbers of hand basins in the toilets increased. currently average visitor gents is 6 traps, 6 urinals, 3 hand basins, and 2 hand dryers. they are simply not built for all the throughput to wash their hands. get more washing facilities done.

      we need to change in-patient facilities so that every single patient gets their own washing and shower facilities.

      also entrances to hospitals should have hand washing stations, not one or two token gel dispensers but real provision of running water, soap and hand driers. get this done. swap out the silly coffee shops many hospitals have put at their main entrance with hand washing stations.

      stop doing all blood tests in one place for everyone in town, it is a silly cross contamination risk. get blood taken by the doc or nurse who originally requests it.

      student halls of residence are another site of cross contamination risk. especially any with student nurses etc. get them deep cleaned.

      etc

  19. Kevin
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Watching the daily updates, one thing is occurring to me: Mr. Johnson could, perhaps, improve his bedside manner. The official discussions of COVID-19 have been sufficiently candid for many people, I suspect, to be more than usually focused on their own mortality. Some of those people are likely to be theists. While Mr. Johnson is not a religious leader, he does set himself up as a representative of the people, theists included. I think it would be appreciated by them if he could show some awareness of their state of mind in his words of consolation.

    • SM
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      Mr Johnson has not set himself up as a representative of the people, he has been formally elected as an MP and formally selected by his Party to be Leader.

      Religious matters are for senior spiritual leaders to deal with – I believe Welby has somewhat belatedly come forward.

  20. zorro
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Absolutely I wonder why 330 billion hmmm….. it will clearly need more than that but this will or should be a short term issue/cashflow problem and there is no reason to let these businesses go because of enforced government policy. They will soon be earning back for UK PLC in business and tax revenue. They are not zombie banks after all….

    And with regards to COVID 19 and the considerable intelligence gaps around the level and nature of infections, what scientific proof do they have that the death rate is ten tines that of the flu virus?

    zorro

  21. Newmania
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    We must back the government whatever doubts we have . That said , there is a problem of trust.
    So when I hear them claim they have agreed with Insurance ( who ?) there will be pay outs for closed restaurants , which there will not, I worry. When I hear them take credit for agreeing to pre existing mortgage breaks , I worry. When I hear vast sums we do not have, offered as guarantees to business that cannot take on debt; I`m dubious.
    Above all when I see all my children and wife go off to school so as to have the maximum chance of infection , I am not impressed The line about NHS staff is right out of the Brexit book of “any old argument will do”.

    We must back the government whatever doubts we have …..

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      We the people must do ourselves what science and expertise from around the world says must be done, even if the government do not organise or order it.

      That is, isolate ourselves as far as we can, and use scrupulous hygiene whenever we must make contact.

      That is, avoid all actual contact and keep as far apart as possible.

      Wear gloves for handling shopping trolleys and produce etc., and clean wrappers once at home.

      Wipe doorknobs, taps etc. with bleach after having visitors.

    • NickC
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      Newmania, You’ve been drooling about a disaster for the last few years – Brexit causes doom!! – We’re all gonna fry!!! – you’ve wailed. Now there really is a disaster and your cynicism and bilious negativity is no longer in check. So nothing constructive from you, or Andy, or Martin, etc, just puerile whining.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 10:38 am | Permalink

        And calls for a bigger more powerful state with huge powers over us and a demand to tax the rich and tax their assets.
        Then pay everyone a citizens wage.
        Straight out of the Lityle Red Book.

  22. Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Proper cash help is needed for those who are laid off over the next 6 months. £94 (or less) is a week is a joke, with mortgage, rent, Council Tax, utilities, insurance etc to pay and food to buy. The electorate will remember what help was given them, come the next election.

    Including the self-employed, 30 million people work in the UK. 5.5 million are 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 (about 4x the cost of paying them basic unemployment benefit). If my maths is right, that is affordable in these extraordinary times. You could tinker around with the details but the basic idea is a genuine safety net so that individuals – particularly the lower paid – don’t have their lives wrecked.

    This would be a huge boost for morale.. Fear/panic/pessimism would be to a great extent assuaged. We could weather out the storm and get back to normality more smoothly. The government must help individuals, not just companies. And quickly.

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

      If you make the payment too high then people that are currently working will stop, like lots of the public sector workers and ex public service workers like posties on full sick pay for 6 months have done this week! If they can self isolate without a doctors note for two week then that’s exactly what they’ve done, and then when Boris said 12 weeks they think they can sign themselves off for 3 months on full pay – don’t be stupid government – there can’t only be doctors and nurses working!

      You’ll be sorry if everyone just walks out for 3 months because you won’t get it started again, allowing people to sign themselves off work is just a mistake, you need to find ways of keeping fit people in work, you’re going to have to allow people to pick up their own post if too many posties are off then perhaps this would lead to a long term change to the way people expect post to be delivered everyday on the cheap. Or just have a once per week delivery.

  23. dominic
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    So you throw limitless amounts of cash at the public sector to appease their whining protests but dish out loans to the people who pay the bills? Easy politics

    You keep aiding and helping to expand Labour’s client state and we’ll look after ourselves

    We now know who’s side you’re on and ain’t those who keeps this country’s finances afloat

    • dominic
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      whose

  24. Caterpillar
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Yes revenue streams are needed and resources need to switch to where they are needed, I have no idea how this is to be enabled.

    It is a small example but seeing a supermarket aim to recruit 2500 more people for picking and delivering shows a response of the economic system. This contrasts with the shutting down of so much of the (visible) economy I am beginning to understand why people are panic buying. Flights that are shared freight & passenger are having to change, haulage through Europe and across channel is having to adapt. There are obvious challenges here with the restrictions that are being put in place throughout the world, but if we continue to stop our economy producing then the biggest restriction will be no confidence in the currency – UK imports a lot of food. We may not want a strengthening currency at the moment, but even a fiat currency is backed by its economy and this can change rapidly if too much of the economy is switched off. I can understand why someone buys a 100kg of rice. Whilst I recognise the importance of levelling the demand for the health service (and increasing capacity), and cocooning the millions of vulnerable due to age or morbid disease in an attempt to limit additional deaths to the tens of thousands, if the economy and society are switched off for too long without the freedom to adapt things can spiral much further down hill very rapidly.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      Once/if the UK gets through this, something significant will need to be done about personal saving. Moral hazard became a popular term during the GFC, it now resurfaces at the individual level as the Govt has no choice but to act. The UK will need to decide whether savers/saving will need support or whether we are fundamentally shifting the economic model i.e. away from scarcity thinking.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Is it true France are threatening to stop cross channel crossings?

      • Fred H
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

        great news.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        Who can blame them with the half-measures and failures here?

        • Edward2
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

          Yet you and bill think immigration without checks should continue into the UK

  25. GilesB
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Many businesses are not viable if they lose three months revenue.

    Loans are not enough.

    Whether you value the business by assets, multiple of revenues, or multiple of earnings, their value is less than three months revenue.

    Even at very low (zero?) interest rates the loans are an unbearable load on the balance sheet.

    Some of the money needs to be grants. And some payments need to be for providing ‘services’ such as training to their employees who are in quarantine

  26. Richard1
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    I think as far as possible it needs to be loans. The economy will come roaring back thanks to the good shape it is in once this crisis has passed, and revenues and profits with it. If there are handouts to subsidise wages these need to be at the lowest level only. We can’t have the govt paying people 6 figures to sit at home. People and businesses are showing ingenuity already and many will find ways for profitable work even with these restrictions. Perhaps legislation is needed to allow businesses to make big cuts to higher paid people while asking them not to come to work without triggering constructive dismissal clauses in contracts and a whole lot of vexatious legal claims.

    Are the govt to publish conditions for the loans and grants? I hope and assume they include a prohibition on any distributions to owners, bonuses or excessive pay whilst taking advantage of these special measures?

  27. BOF
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    What I fear more than the virus is the massive extension of socialism that is its companion and that will follow for a very long time.

  28. BJC
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Clearly, we all have an obligation to contribute to getting through this thing, but it will become increasingly difficult for government to sell the idea of support for the businesses of billionnaires, whilst others fall like dominoes. This would play directly into Labour’s rhetoric once everything settled down. Perhaps directors/senior management should be required to take a percentage reduction in remuneration; or indeed, temporarily draw a government-set salary level to demonstrate their contribution to keeping their businesses afloat. “Whatever it takes” must involve everyone, including bankers! Apologies, if this all sounds like a Marxist’s nirvana, however, I strongly believe that Tory MPs/Lords should be voluntarily leading on this, anyway, and would prevent the currently distracted Labour Party the time to take the moral high ground. To get the optics right, it shouldn’t simply involve foregoing the pay rise!

    As an aside, have we renegotiated payments to the EU, yet, because they’ve clearly breached the terms of the legally binding Withdrawal Treaty by not providing the services and “benefits” that cost us £1b a month? Foreign Aid? Charity begins at home. Whatever it takes…………..

  29. Jim
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Send a postal order to everyone under the age of 65 and over 16. About £2000/month should do. You will only have to keep this up until say August.

    • Fred H
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      to be cashed where? – majority of Post Offices closed. Others operate in a fashion in W.H.Smiths for instance…soon run out of cash – – –

  30. Ian @Barkham
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    There is no easy solution. The only overriding qualification should be that in an ‘all in it together frame of mind’. Digging deeply into the taxpayers pockets for those that have sort to play the system and avoid an equal and proportionate contribution to the welfare of the UK, should automatically be precluded – as they effectively haven’t paid into the insurance policy.

    However well meaning it might seem at the time, if you are not 100% committed to playing a part in the UK any payouts to that sector would be to the determinate of those that do. It would also be in effect contributing taxpayer funds into the tax systems of other domains.

    Are we together on this? Or is it still them and us.

    Illustration British Companies don’t join the CBI, because in reality it is anything but British

  31. Sakara Gold
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    We should face the facts:- there is little the gov can do to avoid what appears to look like the begining of a deep depression as de-leveraging, margin calls, forced selling and no buyers collapse the price of asset bubbles.

    All the proposed measures involve more debt in one shape or form, with little prospect of the debt being repaid lenders and the bond vigilates will demand higher interest payments to compensate them for the current high risk of systemic default. Turbulence in the US Treasury and other sovereign debt markets indicate distressed selling and it appears that at least one major continental bank is in trouble:- another Leman Bros moment may be upon us.

    The government’s priorities must be focussed on defeating the Wuhan virus whilst avoiding the mass fatalities. Boris Johnson’s two scientific poodles should be moved to the badger culling department and “whatever it takes” should mean bringing in experienced professionals from S Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and/or Singapore who have got their outbreaks under control. At whatever the cost.

  32. Fred H
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    a little off topic…

    Surely the maximum prescription of 28 days must be relaxed to 56 minimum? There are hundreds of thousands of people, and yes the vulnerable and elderly, who require basic and sometimes life prolonging medication. The prescription for most is taken to the surgery handed in, collected, assigned to the Dr involved, checked initialled and forwarded to the pharmacy, or collected by the patient or service. All this every 28 days and presents an unavoidable amount of work on those already stretched. I assume the most common drugs can be ordered to meet the extra demand without major delay.

    • Posted March 18, 2020 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      Seconded, and it means fewer people coming into the surgery and the pharmacy, therefore less possibility of transmission.

  33. Ian @Barkham
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    May seem of at a tangent, but does relate. This UK Government has form of just giving away UK taxpayers money.

    In his last budget, with very well meaning intentions the Chancellor provided funds to remove dangerous cladding from tower blocks. Everyone is happy with that intention as it is about saving lives.

    The bit that is monstrously wrong is our Building Regulations from the get go banned the Product in that type of situation. The Product is banned in its home country. The landlords/owner of these blocks are 100% responsible for its misuse. It was used solely because it was cheaper than the appropriate cladding that it found its way into the system. This work got through the system because of those responsible were permitted to self certificate that they complied with Building Regulation. Is that ‘fraud’?

    In is not the tenants fault it is not the taxpayers fault. Yet the Chancellor is giving taxpayer money to right a wrong to those that to chose to save money by ignoring the regulations, without forfeiting anything.

    One now suspects in these difficult times the taxpayer will be funding those with the wherewithal and resources to play the system. It is not assurances that the money wont get spent for other purposes, because it will as the majority is outside UK jurisdiction and there is nothing that can then be done accept a slap on the wrist.

    Any funding to those with connections no matter how tenuous out side of the UK jurisdiction, should only be offered by asset transfer.

  34. formula57
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    In the USA Boeing is now seeking USD 60 billion in aid. This is a company that bought back USD 100 billion of its own shares since 2013, ramping up its gearing. Time for it and those similarly placed to make a call upon shareholders?

    I see Senator Warren has proposed conditions for Federal aid that include some reasonable points, being maintaining payroll numbers, not paying dividends or executive bonuses, not undertaking share buybacks (ever again per her notions).

    I trust the UK government is not going to be a soft touch for ailing businesses in these difficult times?

    • Mitchel
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Let the banks who have provided the finance for share buybacks and over-leveraging take the pain.They clearly have learned nothing from the various crises involving excessive debt over the past c30 years;indulge them no longer.

  35. Andy
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Just a thought. Senior ministers are now comparing this to a war effort – with some justification. Extraordinary restrictions are being placed on people. Extraordinary measures are needed.

    It is time for a government of national unity. Get rid of Raab, Mogg, Patel and the Cabinet’s numerous non-entities. Bring in Starmer and Nandy and Benn and Sturgeon and Khan and Lucas. We need a government for all of us.

    Oh and, bad news, Brexit will be extended for at least 6 months – probably two years. Our economy cannot suffer your Brexit hit so soon after the Coronavirus hit.

    • NickC
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      Andy, By your logic, if we had voted Remain then we should now have a government of national unity and leave the EU. The Wuhan virus shows (again!) how much more important the nation and national boundaries are than sclerotic empires like the EU.

      There is no “Brexit hit”. That was always in your imagination. You never cited any evidence – because you can’t – because it was all just a prediction based on assumptions to suit your own agenda.

      • bill brown
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 3:29 am | Permalink

        Nick C

        the wuhan virus shows nothing of the kind , it is just and assumption to suit your own agenda

    • Jiminyjim
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      A government for all of us, Andy? What an absolutely jaw-dropping comment! What you actually mean is a government for the metropolitan elite, not for anyone else

  36. Alan Joyce
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    May I comment on your yesterday’s post today?

    It was another day and another 14 posts from @Martin in Cardiff.

    When I pointed this out to you some months ago, you informed me that to have to count the total of any one individual’s contributions would ‘slow you down’, yet on several occasions previously on certain more controversial topics that invite many, many responses, you have complained that some individuals were posting far too often and at too great a length and that you would have to resort to censorship in order to reduce your editorial workload. You can’t have it both ways.

    PS. I still look forward to reading your blog every day.

    PPS. Dear MinC, before you once again feel sorry for me for not having anything better to do than count the number of your posts, I must point out that at least I don’t have the time to write to Mr. Redwood 14 times a day!

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      I am immensely flattered, Alan.

      Thank you.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        PS, Alan, your post here is off-topic, mine generally are not, I think.

        They are also as short as I can make them, bearing in mind what our host said.

        If you think that I am wrong on a point, then why do you not just reply and say why?

        It strikes me that your main worry is perhaps that rather, I am correct, at least some of the time, and that you would prefer to see such information suppressed.

        To John’s credit, he allows a fair proportion of comments which oppose his position.

    • SM
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      And the same goes for “I know everything about everything and could do everyone’s job better than they can” Lifelogic.

      • NickC
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        SM, Except that Lifelogic is rational and uses information that can be accessed to check it. Martin and Andy (or Andy/Martin) tend to whine and criticise without the courtesy of providing either checkable information or a constructive argument. And, no, I don’t count “All you 17.4m angry Tory pensioners voted to be poorer – FACT!” as containing any facts or rationality.

      • Peter
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

        So LL has competition from Martin these days?

        Maybe – in the same way that supermarkets are now putting a limit on the number of products for one customer – this site could put a limit on the number of posts for one individual.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

        I do not claim at all to know everything about everything at all. I am rather hopeless at history, languages, films, pop music, celebrities remembering people’s names and very many other things.

        But I certainly would never have sent people back to their flats in Genville Tower (as it was blindingly obvoius it was out of control from a few seconds looking at the TV). I would never had it clad anyway as the energy saving was totally trivial relative to the vast cost. I would never have joined the ERM, the EU or the EURO. I would never have wasted billions on renewable lunacies or pushing electric cars before they are ready. I did sell all my shares well before this recent market collapse. I would never have got into to the idiotic (Blair’s) counterproductive wars one on a blatant lie. I would not have build the Millennium Dome, I would never had made such a mess of the country will Blair’s idiotic devolution structure, I would not have agreed to the damaging fix term parliament act, I would not have agreed to the clearly political Supreme Court being set up. I would have a criminal justice system that actually had some deterrents. I would not have told people the tube was safe as Kahn did just a few days back not would I have allowed mass gathering to go ahead like Cheltenham or Crufts.

        I would certainly have clamped down far harder on the spread of this virus far, far harder and far earlier than the government has (even now not nearly enough) . This to give the NHS more time to prepare. It is now almost certainly many thousands will now die for want of sufficient ventilators or medical care. This could have be reduced or even avoided. The experts and government have I believe made a massive error. The NHS will surely be overwhelmed within days I hope not.

        We shall alas see very soon indeed.

  37. Bob Dixon
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    On BBC this morning the government spokesman added very little to yesterdays statement by the chancellor.

    What is required is the time scale before we can claim any of this help.

    If this has not been worked out then most small businesses will have failed.

  38. Irene
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Like many people, I will look forward to the Chancellor’s and the government’s afterthought. Namely, support for individuals who are not business owners, or who don’t have a mortgage, or who are struggling to pay their rent, or who are on low pay. Well, you know the ones I mean. The afterthoughts.

  39. JoolsB
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    John it’s all so vague. I am receiving cancellations amounting to thousands at my small b & b here in Cornwall. I expect most if not all will cancel and as a result expect to lose income of around £20,000. The Chancellor yesterday announced grants for small business but what are they for, who qualifies and who does one contact for advice? Can you tell me please?

    Reply Small businesses do qualify for cash grants. Go onto Government website or contact your own MP

    • Caterpillar
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      JoolsB,

      The £25,000 small business grants are mentioned on this page

      http://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-announces-additional-support-to-protect-businesses

      “providing further £25,000 grants to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000”

      Lets hope there is a process up by the week end.

    • Al
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      “Reply Small businesses do qualify for cash grants. Go onto Government website or contact your own MP” – JR

      Please could you provide a link to the government website’s page that shows exactly where these grants for the smallest businesses can be found, as Google and DuckDuckGo cannot find them. The only thing that seems to be available is information on loans, and grants to companies large enough to pay rates.

      A trawl of the government site only reveals the £10,000 grant for businesses receiving rate relief, which obviously excludes the UK’s smallest as those firms are usually run from home or shared facilities and don’t receive rate relief (and are still getting hit by coronavirus as their customers are affected).

      I wish our MP would spend some time volunteering with a CAB and learn what “low income” and “small firms” actually mean.

    • everyone knows
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      Reply Small businesses do qualify for cash grants. Go onto Government website or contact your own MP

      >>>>>>>>>>
      We don’t want your socialism we just want you OUT of your lives. Go lock yourself up in the bottomless pit so you cant deceive the world any longer.

  40. Alison
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Completely agree.
    I was deeply dismayed by the loan proposal.

    The banks need to be made to adjust their automated systems, which spring into action when one payment has been missed. They might even do it voluntarily, of course. But ASAP.

    I’ll be reading the government’s proposed legislation, to cover two years – glancing at it, it looks extremely worrying in the degree of control it takes (and for the devolved governments).

  41. Edwardm
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    If a whole area of economic activity is removed and workers left idle, it is lost and cannot be recovered and we are all poorer. Though the state can print or borrow money to lend to businesses and to keep them afloat there is bound to be a limit after which the amount borrowed/lent is seen to become irrecoverable in which case confidence in the financial system will breakdown.

    With its resources the government needs to ensure core production and especially distribution of food are maintained as a priority – this will be difficult given the pressure on the government to close schools causing some parents to stay at home.

  42. Ian @Barkham
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    £350 billion support for UK industry. However, the CBI which is predominantly an organization for foreign companies have said the UK taxpayer doesn’t go far enough for them.

    Is that the CBI saying give us your taxpayer money so we can then support our home market and taxpayers. The Greater Majority of UK business is not involved and has no connection to the CBI. The CBI is primarily a lobby group on behalf of foreign companies, whom already have diplomatic representation with the UK Government.

    Jobs are important so supporting them is a must. But we have to think inwardly those that don’t and will never do so contribute equally to the welfare of the UK. Have no right to be treated on an equal basis of those that do.

    Its time for UK PLC to play the same game as the big cooperate – ‘game’ players. If they want to take advantage of the system let the UK Government take advantage of them – and as they would see it, its simply business.

  43. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Millions nationwide face losing their jobs, incomes, homes/businesses. Yet loads of migrants who came for a life on our taxes – and have NEVER worked – sit and laugh as their non-contributed-to benefits will reliably drop into their bank accounts.

    • margaret howard
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

      Give it a rest.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        “Migrants who will not work come here and take our jobs”, says BigNeil

        • Edward2
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

          Give it a rest you two.

    • Al
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      “Yet loads of migrants who came for a life on our taxes – and have NEVER worked – sit and laugh as their non-contributed-to benefits will reliably drop into their bank accounts.”

      And many migrants who came to work and have set up family firms, shops, transport, sometimes built up over years, are watching their businesses get destroyed the same as any other small businessmen.

      In this case support should not be about immigration, it should be about contribution.

  44. John
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    This is an expected response from a pro EU bureaucratic Treasury. Circa 1.7 million government salaried workers shoulder none of the burden but the small and medium sized businesses are saddled with all the debt.

    Binding the feet of capitalism does not pay the civil service wages. This is similar if not quite as bad as the ECB of wanting to make profit out of it.

    A more balanced response is required where we all take a share but try to leave businesses as much as possible being able to grow us out of this when its over.

  45. Thames Trader
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    As well as the big stuff in the economy some smaller areas need to be addressed which are of major concern to people in their day to day lives particularly as the spectre of full lockdown draws closer.

    The situation in the supermarkets (at least in my area) is concerning with most of them out of stock of key non-perishable foods and household essentials such as soap, tissues and toilet paper. The government should put efforts into improving the stocking of these items. I read that the UK is a large manufacturer of toilet paper and stocks need to be moved quickly into the shops. Use charity shops as additional sales outlets for toilet paper.

  46. Brigham
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Everyone will eventually get conovid19. The strategy is to infect everyone slowly so that the NHS can cope. Why this can’t be explained to the general public, so that they all understand , is the only real fault of the government

  47. forthurst
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    The best thing the government can do, indeed the only sane thing they can do is to restore confidence. How would they do this? They would stop floundering around as the cases and deaths mount introducing ever more draconian measures and start thinking for a change. The first question they should be asking is whether any other country has a template for controlling and eliminating the virus? The answer is yes: South Korea. What are they doing? They are testing on a massive scale including random testing; in this way the government and the people know where the cases are and co-operate with measures to eliminate the spread. Meanwhile much of the economy is able to operate normally; the number of new cases peaked at the beginning of March.

    What do we have? A people with no confidence in a government who haven’t a clue as people are working on the assumption that this disease is building unseen and undetected in their communities because the government is not testing, testing, testing to establish where the cases are and to eliminate them: the result: panic buying and everybody either in a state of panic or total unrealistic bravado whilst mildly affected people spread the disease to every corner of the country and create a massive and destructive pandemic.

  48. glen cullen
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    The UK is in lock-down or it isn’t, the message is a bit confusing

    Either (a) support the business economy or (b) support the community infrastructure

    If the decision is (a) than keep the UK fully open and promote business as usual but test vigorously, identify hot spots and isolate when necessary

    If the decision is (b) than close borders, school and gatherings of people, bring in military to enforce and isolate by sector and region

  49. robert lewy
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    I am surprised how narrow the views expressed in comments above are.

    In deciding what is the proper stance for HMG to take in these circumstances one must first define the problem. Only, then can we propose measures to address it.

    The problem is best described as to what are the implications of Neil Ferguson’s bombshell report.

    In a nutshell, we are in lock-down until a vaccine is available in sufficient quantities to establish herd immunity This is unlikely to occur in less than 18 months.

    This means that many organisations will become insolvent without emergency liquidity support some of which will be unable to survive the losses during the lock-down period.

    In short, there are two problems to address:
    1) emergency liquidity
    2) replacement capital

    No 11 together with the Bank of England have addressed the first problem.

    As regards the second matter, I believe that this is a much more fundamental issue which requires a different approach. Loans will not be attractive to a business which does not believe that they will be able to recover sufficiently to repay the loans. If the business can see light at the end of the tunnel and believes that it can recoup the losses for the period of disruption commercial banks would respond especially with government backing.
    If the business does not have such a positive view it does not seem sensible to simply throw money at the problem even if it saves jobs. The implication is I believe that a considerable
    proportion of the new government backed ( unsecured?) loans will suffer default.

    The answer is to have an insurance based approach with HMG being the ultimate insurer.
    The loans should be at the lowest interest rates possible based on HMG’s ability to borrow.
    No repayments would be required during the period of the disruption. However, in return for supplying this emergency loan facility which I believe is tantamount to venture capital in the current circumstances there should be a monthly charge of say 5 per cent p.a payable to HMG as an insurance premium to insure against the business failing and with HMG as the beneficiary in the event of the business failing.

    HMG would in this way accumulate a fund which would be available to mitigate the cost of loans which it has guaranteed going into default.

    The approach would be to support businesses which are likely to recover so that moral hazard is minimised .

  50. a-tracy
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    This is where it is a shame our Job Centres were ruined all jobs going online only with a system where you get 250 applicants for one job and then in order to stop time wasters you ask them to fill in an application form and you get five applicants, I heard claimants just need to be seen to apply for a certain number of jobs so tick away with no intention of turning up for interviews.

    If Job Centres had a proper recruitment section to line people up with shortages in open sectors people that I know that are fit and desperate right now because their performance sector is decimated and their usual top up bar, restaurant and hospitality jobs have just disappeared could be redeployed.

  51. Steve Reay
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    The situation is about to get worse for business and people. Drivers who deliver food and goods from Europe now seem reluctant to cross borders fearful of not being able to return to their families. I predict a government led rationing scheme sometime this year if the situation doesn’t improve.

  52. a-tracy
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Good businesses are all going to get a big tax bill for the quarter ending March when things were going ok, then come April bang no turnover, VAT bill still due, rent still due, rates still due, hire purchase still due, SSP and holiday pay still due, how long are you anticipating that companies can all keep paying out with nothing coming in?

    If you VAT bills don’t get paid where is all the money to pay benefits and pensions going to come from?

  53. Andrew Ashton
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    John, this crisis will not affect the wealthy, but it will devastate the 20% of the population living week by week, probably all renters, a radical thought, let’s share the pain, suspend all rents for 6 months and the landlords will have to prove hardship to reclaim it from the government. I am sure a handful will suffer, and be recompensed, but the majority can feel the same pain as their tenants, cheers, Andrew

  54. This is how
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Hold an Election

  55. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    It makes all those hospitality folk on TV bemoaning the loss of EU workers over the past 3 years look as though they existed in a different life, which of course they did,

    The net result I guess will be a re-rating of those businesses and sectors where they are vulnerable to this type of event. The restaurant/hospitality sector will be far less attractive, online businesses and those which can be operated largely from home far more. Automation in manufacturing pushed forward, and so on.

    We need the government to pull this forward, direct grants for UK citizens working in restaurants to retrain online perhaps into CAD or other packages, study STEM things or how to run other businesses they can run independently.

    Just paying working age people to sit at home and mope won’t get us anywhere.

  56. GilesB
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Can the government employ restaurant workers to stay at home and provide social care by chatting over the phone to all the quarantined vulnerable who risk facing depression from social isolation?

  57. glen cullen
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Cancel COP26, HS2, foreign aid and EU contriutions and divert funds to pay for employer NI & PAYE for the next 3 months

    But whatever you’re going to do….do it today

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

      Exactly.

  58. gyges
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Paracetamol

    Paracetamol was made in the UK at Dudley, Northumberland by Sterling Organics ltd (at least it was called that at the time). At that time (mid to late 90s) it could be made for £4.76 per kg (I don’t recall if that was cost or price, I think price) with a typical paracetamol tablet containing 0.5 g, each kg would provide 2000 tablets. The maths tells us that is 0.238 pence per tablet.

    I suppose the answer to your question is found in answering another question, why did we lose our capacity to manufacture this pharmaceutical active ingredient so that it could be supplied _even cheaper_ elsewhere?

    • Fred H
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

      methinks all the way from….er.China.

  59. NickC
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    JR, Assuming the information we have (that fit healthy people under 50 are unlikely to suffer or die) is correct:
    1. The government absolutely must reiterate constantly that without a vaccine most people will be infected. In the end the Wuhan flu cannot be stopped.
    2. So the under 50s should go about life normally.
    3. The vulnerable (over 55s, those with existing health problems) will be protected to the best ability of the government – principally this will be self-isolation.
    4. Everyone and all businesses should take extra hygiene precautions (eg touch screens, keypads, handrails, door handles, public toilets, etc, must be sanitised often and regularly).
    5. Emergency production of ventilators (plus staff training) is necessary.
    6. Continued research on ameliorative actions and drugs hopefully leading to a vaccine, is vital.

    The government is already doing many of these things. However it is becoming trapped by the theory that “government” can cure all evils, and if it doesn’t it is because of wilful neglect. That is why both 1. and 2. are so important. Moreover, following 1. and 2. reduces the economic consequences. Don’t lose the propaganda war.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      Your first claim is incorrect.

      The Chinese appear to have stopped it, as logic would say their approach absolutely would do, if applied with the necessary rigour.

      • NickC
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        Martin, Firstly we are not an authoritarian dictatorship with a militia capable of forcing people to isolate. So your claim is inapplicable to the UK. Secondly the epidemiologists state that a secondary infection surge is likely after the lockdown is lifted in China. So it is too early to say that the Chinese have got it right compared to us.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

          It only takes a single Act Of Parliament to turn the UK into any kind of dictatorship that you like, Nick. That’s what not having a proper, detailed Constitution means.

          You actually seem to hope that the Chinese fail to excuse your useless government here, I think

          • Edward2
            Posted March 19, 2020 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

            They could do that with or without a Constitution.
            Most evil communist dictatorships had a constitution before their violent revolutions.

      • forthurst
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

        Somebody in government really does need to read the article on wikipedia entitled “2020 coronavirus pandemic in South Korea”. Perhaps a Spad with an Arts degree could try to understand it on behalf of someone with a PPE degree, for instance. There is no mention of herd immunity or police; perhaps the Koreans are acting rationally with their massive tracing and testing programme.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

          Exactly.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

        Your predictions of Italy getting control seem sadly to be wrong as usual.
        Italy hit its highest daily death toll yet, as 475 people have died in the last 24 hours.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

          Yes, but the rate of new infections has stopped growing.

          The next few weeks will give the true picture.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 19, 2020 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

            Well maybe you might stop giving daily duff predictions until then.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      NickC,

      1. As well as provision of tests for NHS staff there will need to be fast and regular tests for those in contact with the at risk groups. In one area of Italy local news is reporting that 50-70% of people were asymptomatic. I do not know if local Italian news is better than UK’s, nor do I know if people who aren’t coughing are less contagious, but I still feel tests focussed towards carers as well as NHS staff may be needed.
      2. On the drugs we have heard a lot about drugs with potential appropriate antiviral activity (based on AI metaanalyses, theoreticl modelling and other cononaviruses) inter alia baricitinib, remdesivir, several chloroquine compounds and even some azo dyes. It would be interesting if at one of the press conferences the CMO/CSA clarified which if any were being tested/evaluated in U.K. (or whether licensing for restricted use stops this).

    • Andy
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      The average age of people in intensive care with Covid-19
      is 47. So your entire premise is wrong.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 18, 2020 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

        That’s because some young people have serious underlying health problems.
        It affects the average age statistic.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

          Twenty million UK people have underlying conditions.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 19, 2020 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

            So what, that doesn’t alter my point about the average age.
            Many young people have poor health too.

          • Fred H
            Posted March 19, 2020 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

            and rather a lot not connected to health.

  60. alastair harris
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    It is difficult to see the government response to this virus as anything other than panic and don’t carry on, and the resulting financial commitments as a necessary response to bad policy decisions. Boris does not seem to know the first rule of holes!

  61. Iain Gill
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    to be honest I now agree with universal basic income for all

    i simply dont think there is any way to get money to all the people who need it otherwise

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      How much Iain? Someone used to living on minimum wage could cope on £1,000 pcm net for a couple of months BUT someone used to earnings £35k pa with the ensuing costs of mortgage and other car loans etc [unless their loan repayments are also suspended for the months of closedown?] would struggle and how are renters in London going to carry on paying their £1000+ per month rent?

      However, if the government really thinks everyone is going to calmly watch all public sector workers, MPs council employees etc. at home on full salaries whilst the rest are expected to cope trying to get their hands on Universal Credit there is going to be a riot.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      yep all the measures the chancellor is talking about so far are too complicated to mess around with, rely on the silly high levels of admin layers in the public sector who will take far too much of it out in admin costs, far too many of the public sector are going to be off work anyways

      bump up family allowance significantly, so all the children get money
      and straightforward universal basic income for all for all adults

      stop all this nonsense running around with a thousand and one complicated schemes, there is not the time, the admin capacity, and whatever they do they will miss too many people out who need money

    • Caterpillar
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

      Iain Gill,

      I think you are right for 3 months, not only can it can be taxed back out of the economy afterwards if necessary, it will be much less divisive and will still allow the market to direct resources. Does HMRC have the bank account of all 18 and overs?

    • margaret howard
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

      Iain Gill

      So do I. We are a rich country and nobody should be left out of society. A few will exploit it but most will not.

  62. Helen Smith
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Ok, can’t find article on smart motorways to comment but something needs to be done urgently about the M23, I can only count 2 lay-bys being installed on the 11 mile North bound side, lethal. I really hope this means another 15-20 will be added

  63. Elaine
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    I know this may seem a preposterous suggestion. Give every British national £ 1million. As that’s only a mere 75 million approx. Given the billions planned elsewhere it would certainly help the regular person. I know its a ridiculous suggestion but all this does boil down to what each individual person needs to live on and the quality of life and needs of the individual too. There’s so much money being made available, give it to the people! I’m not a socialist but the billions being spoken about seem obscene when most people get by on so little as it is.

    • matthu
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      £75 thousand billion?

      That’s a bit more than is currently on the table …

    • Ex-Tory
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      That’s not a preposterous suggestion, but to avoid hyper-inflation it would have to be in the form of non-marketable government stock with varying long-term maturity dates, and part of an internationally co-ordinated plan. The psychological effect would no doubt stimulate the world economy, but of course wouldn’t cure coronavirus.

    • NickC
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      Elaine, Giving £1 million to each of the 67 million population equals £67 million million, or £67 trillion.

  64. Anthony
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    My business sells travel insurance. We’re a small business and we are in trouble as no one is booking insurance and most are cancelling their existing policies.

    It’s not just the tourism and entertainment industry that’s in trouble. We’re adjacent to it and we’re canning 40 people on the assumption we can borrow a lot of money (privately – the government business interruption loans don’t apply to us). We’re going to go under if the private loans aren’t forthcoming.

    Please include travel insurers and similar businesses in the relief programme.

  65. MeSET
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    And you’ll say reading my idle notes after I’m dead and famous as hell “Well he thought writing a chapter title a great achievement as if he had written a book.
    The Gospel According to St Luke isn’t my chapter title , better is mine…

    • Fred H
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

      oh dear.

  66. Sue Doughty
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Many of the staff being laid off have skills now very much needed by supermarkets and the NHS. It will happen as if by magic. Restaurants can switch to doing take-aways and delivering them to where we are isolated. This is happening, it might need government support and new ways of doing things.

  67. glen cullen
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    A shame really that continued governments have sold off military establishments and massively downsized military medical personnel…. they could have been handy for control, management and treatment of this current pandemic

  68. Old person
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    There is still no clear statements coming from the government. Is the total number of tests, the total that has been tested (and results analysed) to show the true numbers of infected? Or is the total number of infected coming from tests 2 to 5 days previous.

    And another question to consider, are the number of deaths reported from coronavirus due to the virus or underlying causes made worse by the virus?

    And now to touch on the social and ethical issue. The policy over the years has been to protect the vulnerable public with an annual flu jab. These people have less chance of catching seasonal flu and continue to survive with all their other underlying health issues or extra years of old age. Is this, the main reason that the elderly are more at risk from this coronavirus?

    Some deep independent analysis is needed.

  69. Iain Gill
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    its a good time to do the housekeeping that is tough to schedule normally

    get the airport runways resurfaced etc

    keeps money flowing, gets something useful done, and takes advantage of the unusual circumstances

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. Paint the house, tidy the garden, fix the car, defrost the freezer, clear out the garage, unstick that door, tidy up your files …. I am sure my wife will have a list for me already.

  70. Faminsta
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Get our UK agriculture growing our own stuff. Things we can eat fresh from the fields and yes allotments.Bring them back!
    There are more reasons than we know. We must produce and have our food grown nearby. We should not have to have this lesson taught to us by the reversal of the smallest of things in a HG Wells novel. A nasty lesson with brutal teacher weapons

  71. APL
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    According to an article in Science:

    “Substantial undocumented infection facilitates the rapid dissemination of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV2)”. Substantial == 80 – 85%

    That is 85% of people may have contracted Covid-19, and not even know it.

    Now if the condition has, as I suspect, been in the country since at least December. Then according to the research.

    85% of those infected by a highly contagious condition, DON’T EVEN KNOW THEY HAVE BEEN INFECTED!

    Yet, our government intends to destroy the British economy trying to combat a condition that most of the population probably already has been exposed to.

    THAT IS INSANE!

  72. Egg first or chicken
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    JR You have granted requests. I request you write an article when you are not suffering crisis on the difference if any between the stock market representation of a company and the company itself.
    Reason The stock markets show say an egg company owning lots of chicken farms. The chicken farmers hens are laying eggs same one day as another. Yet the stock price can go up 15% in one day and down 20% literally the next day and 25% the following day up. But the conclusion by pundits is that we are doomed or their stocks are. But the chickens have not had their heads cut off as far as I am aware.Nor the farmers. They may be gnashing their teeth but not the chickens, impossible.

  73. Stephen Reay
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    It would be wise for the government to support all businessess just to avoid them going bust and leaving the Government having to pick up the occupational pensions bill through the pension protection funds. Ultimately the tax payer would have to support.

    Nissan Motor occupational pension scheme was in debit by 508million only last month , it’ll be much worse since the market has fell due to coronavirus. They and the trustees have put a catchback plan together to bring the pension back into credit which will take many years to do. This situation may be the final straw for Nissan, and they might just jump ship. The goverment must not let Nissan take ths opportunity to take flight and leave the tax payers and Nissan pensioners worse off due to no fault of there own.

  74. acorn
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    I see Rishi Sunak has invented yet another “supply side” cheap lending scheme for entities that don’t want to borrow, the Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF). The Treasury has hired the BoE to operate this new scheme to “repo” corporate debt issuance for Treasury cash. There is already a corporate debt buy up facility within the APF which has to be funded by Treasury cash, unlike the swap (QE) of Treasury debt to cash which doesn’t.

    What Rishi needs is a fleet of Treasury Helicopters to drop cash into household current accounts. Enough to cover households’ desire to pay down some debt and a lot more to actually spend consuming goods and services. That just might encourage the corporates to borrow to fill the increased consuming desires of households. The Winter Fuel Payment system could be easily adapted for Helicopter drops.

    BTW. The Treasury Helicopters will never run out of Pounds Sterling to drop on households. Its only constraint will be inflation occurring in sectors of the economy that lack capacity to produce and need a good seeing to.

  75. Iain Gill
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    on the vouchers for free school meals…

    lots of infant kids parents never bother to apply because they get free meals anyways, really just give all the infants who were getting free meals vouchers too

    and er vast numbers of people would be entitled to free school meals if they were to apply today, as their income or chance of next freelance gig has disappeared. pointless to have the admin burden of making them all apply.

    just give all school kids a meal voucher since we are trying to help people out

  76. Freeborn John
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    There are numerous reports in the Irish media, the daily mail, and Mirror that Boris is going to use the virus as an excuse for asking for an extension to the standstill transition with the EU. This will be catastrophic for our negotiation position with the EU regarding Boris as a serial blinker who collapsed as soon as they published their draft treaty. Please
    Impress upon the government the insanity of the U.K. repeatedly caving at the earliest opportunity and that he will follow Theresa May out of office if he shows himself to be to an incompetent negotiator.

  77. DOMINIC
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    The hysteria we are seeing has been deliberately and maliciously stoked. Moreover, this crisis is being exploited for political purposes by both the left to promote their vile expansion of the authoritarian State in all areas of our life. This PM doesn’t help matters with his Churchillian rhetoric and war analogy.

    If the aim is to limit our freedoms and our liberties then have the decency to do it now and tell us about it so we can then adjust our voting decisions at the next GE to punish those parties that are now treating the British people like animals and cattle

    • zorro
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      Next General Election? If we get one – look how far the crackdown has gone in a few days. This is only going in one direction and once they taste it they won’t turn back…..

      zorro

  78. Mark
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    It seems the foreign exchange markets fear that we will not be able to pay our international bills through a combination of exports and selling and mortgaging our assets, and that injections of cash with no real economic backing run the risk of igniting inflation and reducing the real value of the pound. Some of the decline is caused by a flight to the dollar, which is still seen as a reserve currency. But the other perception is the dangerous one, and should give rise to careful thought about the balance between preserving the economy and locking it down into self-destruction. With the exception of commodities whose prices are battered such as oil, we will find that imports are more expensive – the more so as the global shutdown restricts supply.

    The only way to counter this will be to plan to stop making our industries uncompetitive in obeisance to some green God, and use our Brexit freedom dividend to re-establish the UK as somewhere to invest. The alternative threatens to be not merely sharply reduced standards of living but also severe social unrest.

  79. mancunius
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    The chairman-owner of a well-known restaurant company was stridently telling Radio 4’s PM programme at some length a couple of days ago that his and other restaurant businesses need cash injections from the government. Yet it is no secret to anyone who keeps up with the city news that his company is actually (troubled ed) and merely limping on.
    This is just one of many large zombie companies the banks have been keeping afloat since they were helped out of failure by the taxpayer after the 2008 crash.
    The problem with ‘government support’ is that the government has no money. Any money it borrows must be repaid by taxpayers – many of whom are not as well off as the shareholders and bondholders they will be bailing out.
    I’m not saying I know how to square this circle. But we need to be aware that we shall all be paying for ‘government support’. Whatever help we give should be sensibly targeted at the needy and deserving.
    And BBC producers need a lesson in street-wisdom: allowing those with financial and political self-interests to hog the mic is downright dangerous.

  80. NeverCrushedBrexit
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    It is not difficult for the IT people looking after Food stores, to change their systems to reject multiple purchases.

    COMPUTER SAY NO!

    Even if the checkout staff will not tackle the hoarders, the computers can.

    The Policy must be is clearly displayed in the store…including at the Checkouts..

    Also, the Checkout Managers and floor staff should be telling people the system won’t allow what they have in their trollies, so please don’t bother trying.

    Where there is a will there is a way.

    Unfortunately, the hoarding suits the profit pushers running the Supermarkets. They are unlikely to stop this lucrative surge in demand.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted March 18, 2020 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

      there is a supply problem. large numbers of workers have been told to stay at home, including in the food factories. we need to urgently move people who have lost jobs in other parts of the economy into those food factories. we need to really meet the supply challenge. the public are being rational in the circumstances. fixing the supply side issues is far better than restricting the purchasing.

      needs a radical command & control style move to for instance move restaurant workers into food factories.

      but its now a war time economy, these things need to be done.

  81. Fred H
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    Welcome to lockdown from Sunday, maybe Monday.
    Troops arrive Tuesday….

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      Alas this will be too late the NHS, which will be overwhelmed in a few days time it is already baked into the cake. They talk about cancelling routine operations from Mid April – what on earth makes them think they will get to Mid April? I give it about seven days. Surely they can see this from the data?

  82. Iain Gill
    Posted March 18, 2020 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    was seriously disappointed to see the chief scientific advisor use some sentences that I recognise from one of the big consultancies, and some of their top BS merchants (people I know have messed up project after project but always moved onto another public sector project). one of the weaknesses of our system is a political and senior civil service class with little experience of real delivery, unable to spot BS from the consultancies from the real genuine know how to do stuff advice.
    I know its desperate times but really we need to cut through this nonsense and get people used to dealing with complex multi dimensional substance involved, and put a brake on the BS merchants.
    Also concerned to see civil servants who have failed in de&s in the mod given green light to spend masses of money as part of the troop deployment, really the hard tough decisions, and poor consultancy advice in that part of the public sector was long overdue some crunch days, and it looks like the worst of the public sector has once again been saved by events and been given floods of money.
    wish I could help, its so frustrating actually knowing what you are talking about listening to all this going on.

  83. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 12:32 am | Permalink

    Loans are one thing, grants are quite another. Grants will total £20 billion and loans £330 billion in the current year. It’s no use pretending that all of the loans will be repaid. Many businesses, faced with little or no revenue for several months, and the need to repay the loan at the end of that period, will opt for insolvency.

    It’s part of your job, Sir John, to make an estimate as to what % of the loans will be bad loans and to vote accordingly.

    Maybe I shouldn’t rub your nose in it, but part of the reason for maintaining State debt at 30% to 40% of GDP in normal times is that we can cope with emergencies like this one.

    As things stand, State debt could rise to more than 100% of GDP, and that is bankers’ ramp territory.

    Reply Opposition parties are not calling votes at the moment so all this goes through on the nod. I and like minded MPs were denied a vote on HS2 recently when we wanted one because the Speaker rightly say support was overwhelming with all party leaderships United for Yes.

  84. Dennis Zoff
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 12:36 am | Permalink

    Hi John

    Do you have any update regarding where we are with the Brexit negotiations?…lots of speculation running riot? The latest: “Government may seek an extension due to Covid-19?”

    Many thanks

    Reply I am urging we should keep to timetable, but Remain lobbying is strong to delay again

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      Thank you John, appreciated!

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      John, it isn’t “Remain lobbying” is it?

      It is all rational people, who realise that one very serious crisis will not be solved by perhaps precipitating another.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

        Over 150 nations trade succcessfully on WTO terms.

      • dixie
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        It is very much a remain/rejoin lobby.

        Perhaps you pro-EU people should have spent the 3 years establishing a fair rpost Brexit elationship with the EU instead of fighting against the democratic decision.

        Perhaps you pro-EU people should have spent the 40+ years ensuring the UK in EU relationship was fair and there wouldn’t have been a vote to leave in the first place.

  85. Ronald Olden
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 3:31 am | Permalink

    I was under the impression that the Government had announced that businesses which had suffered losses because of the advice not to attend pubs, clubs, hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions and events would be treated by the insurers as if their policies qualified.

    If a business doesn’t have insurance at all who’s fault is that? The actions the Government has taken so far have been exactly the right ones and have been timely. No country in the world has done more, and most haven’t done nearly as well.

    But the next step forward I suggest should be temporary direct payments to certain qualifying employers who have no work for the employee, so that they can keep their employees on the payroll at minimum wage. But on the CONDITION that the person concerned makes himself available to work in an appropriate capacity doing, whatever the local authority or NHS needs.

    But we need to cut down on all this HYSTERIA. The eventual effects of this epidemic will be FAR more damaging in economic terms than in deaths. I very much doubt if the number of deaths from this in the next six months will reach the level they did from flu in 1969, and they might not much exceed the deaths from flu in the winter of 2008/2009

    I’ve also been looking back on some old news reports from 2009 which said that up to 65,000 people would die from the (soon to arrive), swine flu epidemic. The rock bottom of of the forecast range (at 3,100), was dismissed as laughably complacent. In the end 457 people died.

    So in 2009/10 despite still being in the wake of the banking crash, we survived forecasts of 65,000 deaths on top of the previous winter high number, with no noticeable economic effects. Nowhere near 65,000 people will die of this in the next 6 months and those who are at risk are in VERY identifiable ‘at risk’ category, most of whom are economically inactive anyway.

    I don’t trivialise the difficulties, but this economic and social dislocation has arisen owing to self induced HYSTERIA. And it’s made much worse by the modern obsession that governments have duty to and can protect us from things that not long ago people saw as unfortunate, but were reconciled to.

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      No Ronald, the government has never said that the Insurance will cover losses and Insurance companies do not cover for pandemics.

      The Impacts of this are massive on business of ALL sizes. Insurance companies have washed their hands of cover and as of yet all the government has offered to the majority of businesses (other than the entertainment sector where he has mentioned rent-free periods) is two weeks SSP cover for self-isolation not the SSP holiday pay.oh and loans to get yourself into thousands of pounds worth of debt.

      I know businesses where staff are self-isolating on full sick pay clauses, they’ve all suddenly gone off today!

  86. Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    The charity sector receives billions of pounds in state aid.

    I believe that there should be an enquiry as to whether the charity sector should be permitted to compete on the high street unless state aid is withdrawn.

    https://wolverhamptonfinances.blogspot.com/2020/03/charities-and-charity-shops.html

  87. a-tracy
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    Good evening John,
    I may have to furlough staff if work dips too much, not all of the staff at the same time, I wanted to rota them days about or a week about to achieve fairness as we need to keep a core ready for emergencies at all times, but if they have to be off for three weeks in one go this won’t work, could you please ask for some leeway for sectors like ours, I don’t want the burden just to fall on half the workers and how do I choose which half I furlough and how will the half that have to work for just 20% more pay feel, then if we have a spike in demand and I have to call people back in do they lose their furlough pay?

    We have people over retirement age who provide relief holiday cover or work just one day each week, if they don’t pay employees ni are they eligible for furlough pay? I’m being asked the question because some are over 70 and have been asked to self-isolate.

  • 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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