The markets are badly rattled

The last couple of weeks have been the most extreme in post war advanced country Stock market history. Never before has there been such a plunge into recession so quickly, and never before has there been such a large and uninterrupted fall.

What are they telling us? Why have so many investors decided to sell out at ever lower prices?

The rational part of the story is the sudden coming of the virus and the combined decision of governments on World Health Organisation advice to close down big parts of their economies to slow the spread of the disease.

Normally in a bad recession the parts of the economy serving the discretionary purchases people make when they are feeling reasonably confident and well off like holidays, higher end retail, restaurant meals get hit more. The businesses involved may see a 20-25% fall in turnover, often taking them into loss and maybe threatening the dividend. In this recession, created to fight the virus, many of these businesses will lose most of their revenue for a time or may be forced to close.

Some running a hotel or B and B or pub or restaurant or travel business will be asking themselves today whether they should sack their staff now to cut their outgoings, and negotiate soon with landlords and suppliers to get their other bills down. As more do this so there will be a further contraction in demand as their staff lose their jobs and experience a sharp fall in income and consumer confidence. It is vital governments do more to avoid staff losses and to help companies through what should be a temporary problem. I have put my proposal again to government to offer substantial cash support for paybills for companies with a large virus created drop in turnover in return for those companies keeping the staff on for the recovery.

The happiest outcome we can now look forward to is an early decline in new cases of the disease in the major countries followed by an early removal of controls. Then the economies can bounce back. If this is prolonged more businesses will go bankrupt, more jobs will be lost and the misery compounds.

In the markets there has been a big shortage of dollars. 5 leading Central Banks were aware of this and made more dollars available, but it has not proved enough so far. There has been a rush into cash, especially dollar cash. Even so called safe haven assets like gold have sold off recently.

Nothing on this site is investment advice. This is commentary on what has happened.

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201 Comments

  1. Peter Wood
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    You fail to mention that this recession is made worse because there is no monetary easing capacity; interest rates cannot be reduced as they would in normal times. The mismanagement of monetary policy as we came out of recession in 2009/10, ie not normalising borrowing and savings rates, will make this time much worse. We will now see massive ‘creation’ of money, and that will only make the problems worse.

    • jerry
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 6:31 am | Permalink

      @Peter Wood; Interest rates are not the only tool, and perhaps not even the best in this situation, there are many who are not affected interest rates, what many will need is some other form of cash injection, and no that doesn’t mean ‘mailing out’ helicopter money.

      • Peter Wood
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

        Jerry, from my earlier, it is clear I am aware of more than just monetary policy; however, QE or creating money from nothing, will result in the lessening of value of total money. That means asset price inflation, as we have experienced in property prices. But the greater risk can be summed up with simple logic; if you give something away for free, then it has no value. We are taking the Zimbabwe risk.

        • jerry
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

          Peter Woods; “creating money from nothing, will result in the lessening of value of total money. [..//..] We are taking the Zimbabwe risk.”

          Nonsense.

          To cite Harold Wilson televised speech to the nation in 1967 regarding his devaluation of the GBP, he was wrong then because we had an active market economy, during this crisis it is true, just as it was between 1939-45. There is no comparison with Zimbabwe (nor Venezuela).

        • Hope
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

          This has been over dramatised. There cannot be an inderterminate lock down or govt bail out. Therefore govt have acted too quickly. Only the elederly and vulnerable should be quarantined.

          Kids should be at school. Only vulnerable with health reasons kept at home.

          Johnson two weeks ago let in thousand without quarantine one testing from hotspots! Now wants to lock us down i.e. House arrest. No I will not accept his stupidity. May on manoeuvres in commons yesterday. Get rid of he by having her investigated along with key civil servants.

          Brexit negotiations should be sped up and brought to a head not deferred. Ask for mini deals or go straight to no deal. The virus had a bigger impact than no deal ever would. Do not let Sir Humphrey Sedwill win again. Johnson already caved to Haewei, Hinckley and Scunthorpe steel to the Chinese. Reverse before it is too late.

        • Caterpillar
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

          Peter Wood,

          Yep the latest BoE actions indicates the greater risk is where it intends to head. Why would anyone buy the GBP? – a short while ago it was just that we couldn’t produce a trainline on schedule, now we can’t even produce a pint in a pub.

          {Random Aside – Frighteningly it looks like society may well go down as well as the currency. The actions of the bank and of the Chancellor are adding to divisions, obviously many people and businesses need to be supported over the next months but the doubling down on punishment of the individual and the elderly who have saved for ‘this’ very rainy day whilst rewarding bankers and debtors with inflated house prices is certainly not levelling up the country.
          If by some luck the economy survives, UK society will have been even more damaged and divided by the Tories/BoE continuing to attack the people who, paraphrasing Osborne’s old words -have tried to do the right thing. I doubt the BoE is going to up its rates in a few months, nor sell the additional bonds it is now buying. Saving and hence responsibility, trust and consideration have been finally killed. It is amazing that there is not a behavioural team that can see this.}

        • acorn
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

          “… however, QE or creating money from nothing,”

          QE does not create money from nothing. It simply swaps the security back into the government money (as cash or reserve) that someone in the non-government sector bought it with originally.

          There is no net increase in the net fiscal assets in the economy. That is the number of “units of account” (Pounds Sterling) issued by the Treasury, has not changed. They end up in other income bearing investments inflating prices and reducing yields.

          Helicopter money IS newly created (out of thin air) money by the Treasury (National Loans Fund), that does increase the net fiscal assets in the economy. Hopefully it will get spent and keep the shops and pubs open; even if you have to have your Burger served to you on the end of a six foot plank.

          Don’t save spend to keep the economy alive. A large wealth tax (6% per annum say) is needed to force the super rich to spend and stop hoarding billions of the government’s “units of account”, from circulating in the economy, promoting commerce and eventually getting back to the government in sales taxes.

          • Peter Wood
            Posted March 19, 2020 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

            Your first paragraph nearly gets it: the BoE buys the securities, QE, with its newly created money (it is the only institution in the UK allowed to do so). The BoE is not the treasury. QE is an increase in total money, thereby reducing the asset – money ratio, or asset price inflation.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 19, 2020 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

            It is odd how quickly you revert to promoting a wealth tax.
            Forgetting how fast a Lear Jet is.

    • oldtimer
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 6:52 am | Permalink

      Another reason stock markets have fallen so far so fast is the puncture of the bubble of overvalued shares. Some of this has been built on debt and some boosted by the rise of ETFs many invested in the same group of shares. Monetary easing, post 2008, contributed hugely to this bubble.

      • Sea Warrior
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 10:02 am | Permalink

        The UK stock-market, like some others, most certainly was NOT overvalued before the crisis. I was buying before the crisis and I’ll continue to buy through it, in the hope of retrieving my paper losses caused by the tardy response to an emerging crisis by the government. Thank God they now show some signs of acting with urgency.

        • Anonymous
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

          They should have closed arrivals from hotspots. They should have carried out checks like all intelligent nations have been doing.

          They were too scared to because they are still fearful of the Gods of Free Movement and Political Correctness.

          Even the EU has tightened its borders more than us and the Nation State has become popular again – because it works (unlike federalism.)

        • oldtimer
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

          If it was not overvalued why has it fallen so much?

    • outsider
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

      Dear Peter Wood, How right you are. Maintaining emergency negative real interest rates for a dozen years, for half of which growth has been normal and employment buoyant, has created many distortions. Look at housing.
      In effect, this and some other countries have run their economies on the policies of investment banks, which tend to put asset prices ahead of ordinary people’s living standards. Now, ours is being run according to the needs of the National Health Service . This may be right and necessary but will set up more ongoing distortion.
      As and when we emerge, many things need to be rethought, not least about the practices of these modern overmighty subjects.

  2. bill brown
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    Sir JR

    Please, keep pushing the government for much more support than has already been given as it is necessary for the survival of many busiensses

    • MeSET
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 6:57 am | Permalink

      I pray, in only a manner of speaking, the government has the strength to get everyone back to work immediately . I should give a real example. Reality often conflicts with paper assessments however well meant and honest. So,

      My tiny street yesterday. Old people puling up in cars visiting their sons and daughters as usual , looking very happy in truth, one laughing and joking with me over my garden wall. She must have been 15 years my senior and I am an OAP. In fact the general mood of people is happy. But not the fake happiness of crisis where anything goes for a laugh including dark humour. WE know this Virus, We have had fevers most severe no one has written about. It is a Paper Tiger to coin a Chinese phrase which has a new applicability.
      There will be no real isolationism. Government is bowling the wrong wicket.
      We are Yorkshire. We have been here before.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

        So you want someone to say “I’m from the government and I’m here to help” after all then?

        Why the change?

        • Edward2
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

          When did MeSet say that?

      • Cheshire Girl
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink

        The old (of which I am one) often have a lot of resilience. Many of them have experienced hardship in their lives, and know that it is always a possibility, even during the apparent good times.

        Stay strong up there in Yorkshire! We are trying to do that down here near London. We all need to try and draw strength from each other. Never more so than now.

      • jerry
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

        @MeSET; Yes, that was also happening in Italy three weeks ago… This is not ‘just the Flu’!

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        Then please. Don’t dial 111 or 999 if you are gasping for breath as though trying to breath through a straw.

        Are we talking stoicism or bravado ? We’re about to find out. You WILL be denied treatment by a young doctor who shouldn’t be put in that awful position in the first place.

        I’m utterly appalled at many Boomer’s attitudes at the moment.

  3. jerry
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    “Then the economies can bounce back. If this is prolonged more businesses will go bankrupt, more jobs will be lost and the misery compounds.”

    If the Govt and BoE take the correct measures there is no reason why previously viable businesses can not bounce back, there is no reason for any business to go bankrupt, but will the Govt choose to do enough or will it stick to its outdated fiscal/economic mantra.

    • jerry
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 6:11 am | Permalink

      PMQs yesterday, without all the distracting jeering and hoopla, goals scored;

      Mr Corbyn 6 : 0 Johnson

      Time for a GNU for the duration? This is bigger than politics,. bigger than one party, for example whilst big business, SMEs Limited by Guarantee, have been offered direct help neither the Sole Trader or those in the gig economy have had any scrap of comfort, not even on measures that the Govt could easily sign off on, such as a total UBR and CT holiday for everyone, or at least pushing back payment deadlines that are fast looming.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

        Perhaps this is the idea.
        Rule by the UN and WHO.
        There must be a hidden agenda.

        • jerry
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

          @Ian Wragg; That sort of conspiracy theory cr*p works both ways, power grabs work both ways…

          Just remember, one advantage of a GNU is, should the wrong decisions be made on single party can be held to blame.

        • Andy
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

          I thought the EU was behind the hidden agenda? Now you are telling us it the WHO and UN. Who next? NATO? The FBI? The CIA? M15? MFI? YMCA?

          Here’s a thought. Perhaps there is no hidden agenda?

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 20, 2020 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

            People who themselves have hidden agendas perhaps think that everyone else is like them.

            They aren’t, fortunately.

        • Oldsalt
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

          Ian-
          You must have been reading David Rockefeller’s Chilling 1991 Speech at a Bilderberg Meeting. Not so much hidden!

      • jerry
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

        One for the DoT to consider if they have not already; if the virus progresses as predicted many companies and individuals may well find that they will not get their annual MOT test done, yes some will consider getting them early, but can the system cope with extra demand. Whilst many might well be able to stop using their vehicles others will not.

        Measures might need to be put in place for the duration of the crisis, insurance cover should have to roll over even if renewals have not been paid, they should not become void for a lack of MOT, prosecution and seizures of vehicle should not couture for the lack of MOT, VED or were an immediately previous held insurance policy has lapsed.

      • BeebTax
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 6:58 am | Permalink

        I agree. Johnson was on the back foot. Though Corbin has the advantage of saying x or y needs to done, without figuring out how to deliver it.

        Nevertheless, the Government needs to work very fast, on a plan to support basic net incomes (by giving workers money, subsiding their employment, cutting their outgoings….whatever mix of measures works quickly and effectively).

        • jerry
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

          @Beebtax; “Corbin has the advantage of saying x or y needs to done, without figuring out how to deliver it.”

          Or no opportunity to say how/do so….

      • dixie
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 9:55 am | Permalink

        No thanks, I don’t trust the corbynistas.

        Besides, Labour offered no GNU during the financial crisis, why should the democratic choice be laid aside now.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

          There. Is. No. Comparison.

          • jerry
            Posted March 19, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

            @MiC; Indeed, a bit like trying to compare the Wall Street crash of 1929 with the outbreak WW2 ten years later.

          • Fred H
            Posted March 19, 2020 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

            wot! no caps?

          • Edward2
            Posted March 19, 2020 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

            Both crises badly affect the ability businesses to survive and affect the employment chances for millions of people.
            So there is a valid comparison.

    • outsider
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      Dear Jerry , “previously viable” is something that will be judged after the fact. Just as many worried people have “existing medical conditions” that are either curable or not necessarily fatal, so, metaphorically, do a very large number of businesses.

  4. DOMINIC
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Intelligent, intuitive investors responding to political ineptitude, political arrogance and sheer incompetence on a grand scale

    Politicians shouldn’t cross swords with traders. Lamont tried that with Soros.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      Major tried that with Soros; Lamont was actually against that fiasco. However – Soros saved the £ by forcing idiot Major out fo the game.

    • Mitchel
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      Indeed.Our main portfolio is up 8%+ ytd – we’ve had no long positions on either the FTSE-100 or S&P 500 (apart from a couple of gold miners,sold a few weeks ago) but shorts on both(sold our S&P short last Thursday and the last of our FTSE shorts within the past hour)together with very large cash position,a couple of AIM stocks we are stake building in and a small gold bullion holding.And we’ve been in and out of Russian equities three times-very profitably- over the past ten days!Certainly not calling the bottom but we’re content with what we’ve made on the shorts and don’t want to push our luck.

      Gold is interesting.I suspect the recent fall after strong outperformance is traders liquidating to cover losses elsewhere.The amount of debt now being racked up in the west can only be inflated away……

      • Polly
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        Shorting markets should be banned !

        Polly

    • Mark B
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      Good post

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    You say:- The happiest outcome we can now look forward to is an early decline in new cases of the disease in the major countries.

    Well unfortunately we are rather a long way from that position. In the UK the deaths are still going up at about at about 60% per day or by 27 times a week or 729 times in a 14 days. The Chief Medical Officer says the new moves are to enable the NHS/ICU and ventilators capacity to cope! It is not coping already and the deluge has not even hit them yet.

    Even now they are sending children to school for two more days and still under reacting. Why? They have failed to act sufficiently to delay and control the infection as far as was humanly possible (as they should have done many weeks ago). The fire is now well out of control thanks to their having totally under reacted early enough. It seems government experts cannot see the wood for the trees and cannot do simple maths. It was very clear what would happen their their foolish strategy. The “very well prepared HNS” will be overwhelmed and many will die for a huge lack of capacity.

    Gavin Williamson the infection “is growing at a faster pace than anticipated” it is growing exactly as I and very many others anticipated given the government in action. We have already seen what happened in Italy and elsewhere.

    Sadiq Kahn was even telling people the Tube was “very safe” just a few days back because they we cleaning it using hospital grade cleaners!

  6. DOMINIC
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    I note the parasitic left is using this event to promote a wider State capture of our lives by pushing the idea, once again, for a minimum and mandatory national income for each citizen. This sinister idea is designed to assert politicisation. Labour’s become a despicable, grubby, sewer like entity so far removed from its original incarnation.

    Weakening the work ethic, undermining ambition, destroying self-reliance and encouraging State dependence is the prime aim of the viral left.

    Their plan must be attacked, ridiculed and exposed. It is nothing less than political. It has nothing to do with compassion and welfare and everything to do with emotional and psychological warfare

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      Indeed, plus they want to requisition (rob) assets off people without proper compensation things like private hospitals, landlords rents and properties, land to build the absurd HS2 and the rest. Even if we gave 99% of our income to the state or the NHS they would still be fairly useless. A great shame the NHS pandemic preparations and back up store of equipment was so totally inadequate.

      There were plenty of earlier warnings with SARS and similar. Still I suppose the top management at the trusts thought that high wages and gold plated pensions were a far better way to spend the cash than wasting it on back up ICU equipment and protective clothing,

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

        What was the list of everything they had in this emergency store?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      Fine, well total economic collapse and having everyone with a mortgage lose their homes when their lender goes bust – read the small print – would be better, would it?

      • Edward2
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

        As usual you talk in extremes Martin.
        This is a medical crisis not a political one.
        Solutions will come from science not Marxism.

    • Peter Parsons
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      Universal Basic Income is not a sinister idea. One of the benefits of a UBI is removal of much of the complexity of the current social security system, and therefore the costs associated with administering it, thus saving millions in administrative costs.

      Any UBI system also adjusts things like income tax rates and bands to claw back the UBI from the highest earners, so the effect is to boost the incomes of those at the lower ends of the income scale without putting extra money into those at the top.

      A UBI doesn’t discourage someone from working because all income earned from working is kept over and above the UBI, unlike the current social security system where earning more often sees a cut in benefits received, thus disincentivising working more or longer.

      UBI would also allow someone with no savings to start up a business knowing that they have a bare minimum coming in, something which they couldn’t afford to do under the current system. If you want to encourage more entrepreneurs, UBI is a good way to do it.

      • Peter Parsons
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        I’d also point out that the UK has provided a UBI for decades for certain groups. The basic state pension is a UBI for all people of pension age. Child benefit prior to becoming means tested was another example of a UBI.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

          Effectively we already have it.
          Welfare payments to those in need.
          High starting points for income tax.
          Housing benefits and tax credits.

          Yet most on the left if politics are against Univeral Benefit which tries to join together all the current various benefits.

          Would Universal Benefit cost more or less?

          • Edward2
            Posted March 19, 2020 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

            Sorry
            I meant to say Universal Basic Income at the end.

          • Peter Parsons
            Posted March 19, 2020 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

            Given a Universal Basic Income is a simple flat rate paid to everyone, it’s way cheaper to administer than current systems such as Universal Credit and Tax Credits.

            Unlike Universal Credit, a UBI doesn’t come with the taper rates that Universal Credit imposes which sometimes make it pointless to work more because however much extra you earn, your benefits are reduced by a similar amount.

            The way that a UBI can be paid for is by adjusting other factors such as income tax rates and bands and done so in a way that it puts money into those at the lower end of the income scale.

            To give you an example, say the UBI was set at the level of the current basic state pension of £6,720 per year, along with abolityion of the tax free allowance and an increase of the basic rate of tax to 28.5%. What would that mean?

            For someone earning £12,500pa, they would now pay £3,562.50 in income tax, but with the UBI payment, they would be £3,157.50 better off overall.

            For someone earning the average wage of £28,000pa, they would pay an extra £4,880 in income tax, but with the UBI they would still be £1,840 better off per year.

            Someone earning £50,000pa would pay an extra £6,750 in come tax, thus effectively offsetting their UBI payment and leaving them £30pa worse off. Higher and top rate tax payers would be similarly worse off by the same trivial amount.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:00 am | Permalink

            It seems the UBI you outline just replaces current benefits for people with no income or very low incomes as it does now.

            The system of Universal Basic Income I have read about gives a higher level of income and costs hundreds of billions more per annum than existing welfare benefits.

            Paid generally by evennhigher top rates of income tax plus an additional nnual wealth tax on assets owned by the rich.

          • Peter Parsons
            Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:51 am | Permalink

            For a UBI to be implemented, there is a debate to be had about levels. The clue for me is the B – Basic, and what does that mean? We already have such an income for people of retirement age, which is why I used that as a starting point.

            UBI has the advantage of not needing the complex UC system (which will save billions in government admin expenditure, assuming it ever gets finished and rolled out) and UC implements a taper rate of 63%, meaning someone on UC only keeps 37p of every extra pound they earn. A UBI system such as the one I described about would mean that someone would keep nearly double (after tax) of every extra pound they earned compared to under UC, a far greater incentive to work more than under the current system.

      • anon
        Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

        Agreed-
        Now is the time to be bold.
        This would give people a level of basic confidence, be efficient, be self-enabling,encourage further earning. Without degrading holding people down means tests.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

      People are already getting hungry.

      Their work has been stopped as of the Boris speech.

      No money – no food. Except for what they can beg.

      I have bought one family I know their month’s shop already. Soon I will be unable to do this as my pay is likely to be cut to half – possibly zero.

      We will be forced to abandon isolationism and we will indeed be the sick man of Europe.

    • Al
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      “Weakening the work ethic, undermining ambition, destroying self-reliance and encouraging State dependence is the prime aim of the viral left. ” – DOMINIC

      As a counterpoint, look at the current (2017 figures) £185.2 billion annual budget of the Department of Work and Pensions, with its 84,000 employees. Switching to a UBI with no requirement for means testing, no need to assess repayments, no need to check national insurance contributions, means you could make most of those people redundant and pay a UBI of over £3,000 to every adult over working age in the UK just from that budget. A future saving would be not having to pay final salary pensions to another generation of civil servants.

      It also limits the amount of information the government needs to collect on each citizen, which would be a welcome move away from current trends.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        I doubt if those 84,000 civil servants would ever be sacked.
        My view is they would continue to find jobs somewhere else in the administration of national or local government.

  7. Dave Andrews
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    I say a programme on the BBC last night. The reporter was in a GP surgery (Bradford I think). She attempted to sterilise one hand with the sanitizer, whilst keeping her mobile phone in the other. The poorly sterilised hand then went to her face soon after, and then she touched the GP’s arm, put her hand on the GP counter. In short, a one woman contamination disaster area.
    There needs to be a clampdown of media travel for the sake of us all.

    • ukretired123
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Exactly especially as mobile phones tested recently have around 20 times germs than a toilet seat!

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      Our surgery has a “log-in” screen for patients to use on arrival. How many germs does that screen pass from one person to another? (it doesn’t work if you have gloves on).

    • Stred
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      A senior virologist just pointed out that Boris and his chiefs were breaking their own distancing rules when announcing them.

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      I agree. We don’t need a media person to stand outside Hospitals, in streets, Number Ten, to tell us what has just been reported.

      What a waste of money! It keeps them in highly paid employment, but most of us are quite capable of absorbing the news. We don’t need the Media to explain it to us.

  8. Lifelogic
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Boris says “the aim is to reduce the peak of the epidemic, that is the strategy and I am sure it will succeed”.

    Well the aim should have been to delay, delay and delay as much as possible AND to reduce the peak too, so as to give the NHS more time to prepare, to increase ICU capacity and to find out more about the best treatments for survival. Of course we will get through it (or most of us will), the question is will the death toll be less then 0.5% of those infected or nearer 10% of those infected due to the lack of ventilator and medical capacity at the NHS.

    • formula57
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Surely the means by which we “reduce the peak” is via “delay, delay, delay”: that is what reduce the peak (flatten the curve) means.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        But the government experts decided only to try to delay now rather than several weeks back! Not even now in fact as schools, pubs, tubes restaurants ………..are still open today and tomorrow and beyond.

        The result as we will see in just a few days is that many thousands will die (who did not need to die) just for lack or suitable medical care due to a chronic lack of capacity and government inaction. The Experts are desperate to talk about anything but this issue, the NHS capacity and this huge error made by the government and their experts.

        The experts were today telling up not to worry about “the high UK death rate” – as this is due to the UK testing regime. In plain English this mean due the fact they are basically not testing most people! Which is clearly very worrying indeed and that is how you delay and gain more time.

        The WHO is right test, test, test and then isolate, isolate, isolate to delay matters further and buy time. The government policy has fanned the flames. Too little for too late by miles Boris – the NHS will be totally overwhelmed in days they are failing to cope already.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      How come the toll in Germany is only about 0.1% of cases so far?

      Why is no one publicising what is being done there?

      • Edward2
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

        I see you have switched to Germany now your claims on Italy proved wrong.
        Germany are later into the epidemic.
        It takes weeks to develop and weeks for some individual cases to sadly prove fatal.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

          No, the general trend in Italy is as I said, although there is day-to-day variability, naturally.

          There were about 2,700 new cases there yesterday as against around 3,000 the day before.

          – Corriere Della Sera.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 19, 2020 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

            You said Italy was on top of its crisis and the next day very sadly deaths went up.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 20, 2020 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

            Yes, the improving trend has weakened, which is a pity.

            Let us hope that it is a short term fluctuation.

            However, the average day-to-day factor remains lower than in the UK at present.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

          Germany is later in the epidemic? Yet it only has 43 deaths (and with the larger population) yet the UK has 147 deaths?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

        They are testing more people (which make mortality rates look lower) and they have more hospital capacity.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

          Thank you, I’ll take that as a rational explanation rather than Edward’s make-it-up-as-suits-him nonsense yet again.

          I also think that Germany may have a different approach from the NHS, re preserving life in the elderly and in the weak.

          They perhaps have something to live down in their past?

          • Edward2
            Posted March 19, 2020 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

            I look at your predictions Martin and see a few days later you are wrong.
            Facts
            I don’t need to make it up.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted March 19, 2020 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

            They certainly seem to have more ICU capacity.

          • Fred H
            Posted March 20, 2020 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

            not bringing up WW2 again? I hoped we had put that behind us years ago…..

            I suppose you’ll be reminding us about Owain Glyndŵr before long?

        • rose
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

          They are not doing post mortem tests as we are. There are also opinions abroad that the test is not yet cleared clinically and can show up other corona viruses. This might mean our death rate from the Chinese virus is lower than it looks.

      • Mark
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

        It appears they are not reporting deaths as due to the virus when they can establish an alternative partial cause of death, and there is a similar effect for serious cases.

      • a-tracy
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

        More testing perhaps Martin so it appears they have a better rate than they do. Lots of our people have been told to be at home untested for 7 days they may all have the virus – who knows.

        A better measure would be how many people have been admitted into hospital intensive care with the virus and then recovered.

      • Jiminyjim
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        They are not post mortem testing and we are. Presto! Lower mortality rates! And there are some like M i C who are taken in!

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

    Good morning.

    I really cannot see why all the fuss over a germ is being made ? More people die from other diseases and accidents. Don’t see the markets going south over that !

    What we need is positive news. Yes this is a contagious virus but, statistically it is not a mass killer. This should have been made clear from the outset and the markets calmed.

    KEEP CALM & CARRY ON.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      See my comment below and do some sums.

    • jerry
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      @Mark B; Theirs non so blind as those who choose not to see I guess!… 😡 😡 😡

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      One percent of six million is six hundred thousand, and in perhaps just a few months.

      Then there are the others who would die through the NHS being unable to treat them for other things.

      Is that not mass enough for you?

      What is the matter with you?

      • Enrico
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        Check your maths.

      • Hope
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

        Check your maths.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

        synicism?

      • Michael McGrath
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        60,000

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

        *of sixty million.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

          Yet you have the cheek to contradict me on facts.

          • bill brown
            Posted March 21, 2020 at 3:29 am | Permalink

            Edward 2
            yes because sometimes you do make it very easy

    • LinJ
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      Yes, indeed, Mark B. It SHOULD have been made clear. But the Press was allowed to set its own agenda and throw out a firestorm of ”be afraid” articles, with no balancing facts from the government. They just let it go ahead with not even an attempt at balance, advice, facts and figures.
      The fact that you mention – thousands dying each year from ‘ordinary’ flu – is one that could have been used to still the panic. It wasn’t done. Why?

      • Al
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

        “The fact that you mention – thousands dying each year from ‘ordinary’ flu – is one that could have been used to still the panic. It wasn’t done. Why?” – LinJ

        Because it doesn’t draw views and it doesn’t sell papers…

  10. Dave
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Incredible that we have allowed an extremely mild strain of a flu like illness to paralyse the world. In the six months since this virus appeared about 9000 have allegedly died from it. In the same time a total of 1,437.300 people have died from all communicable diseases. So for every 160 deaths in that period only one was from this particular disease. 30 to 72 times as many die from flu every year. Are we really this stupid?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      The death rate in the UK is growing at about 60% per day, 27 times a week or 729 times in a 14 days. So that could be over 72,000 in 14 days time and perhaps 720,000 needing ICU beds. Indeed the death toll is likely to be much higher still due to lack of NHS capacity which could well raise the mortality rate to nearer 10% rather than 0.5%! Perhaps the very belated government clamp down and actions by the people might finally slow this rise a little in a few days. But much of it has been baked in by government dithering, incompetence and under action.

    • Andy
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      7 billion people on Earth. They reckon up to 80% could catch Coronavirus. So 5 billion or more. The fatality rate appears to be somewhere between 1% and 3%. Let’s take the lower figure. 1% of 5 billion is 50 million people. 50 million people. 50 million people.

      There is a reason why we should I listen to experts at the WHO and people like the Chief Medical Officer and not to online ‘Dave’ who thinks everyone else is stupid.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

        But the mortality rate will fall greatly as the most vulnerable victims sadly die in the early stages of the epidemic.
        So your figures which assume a fixed percentage are wrong.

    • Stred
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Suggest you read the Imperial College report which was on a link at the top of this blog yesterday. If we had continued on the do little and rely on herd immunity uniquely hopeful policy, the estimated deaths are 500k for the UK and over a million for the USA. By using suppression, like the Far East and latterly the West, it is hoped to reduce deaths tenfold. These are in addition to the usual death rates. It will still affect usual hospital treatment. The initial measures will last well into this year and then there will have to be close monitoring and clampdown locally if it flares up.
      I read it twice. It’s very clear and comprehensible.

      • Mark
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

        But it admits it makes pessimistic assumptions. It uses very high rates of serious cases and deaths for higher age cohorts compared with some of the more recent data. It assumes no improvement in treatments, despite several promising remedies that appear to offer faster recovery and reduced incidence of severe outcomes. I’ll forecast their advice will change.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      Some of you are, but not as you claim.

    • zorro
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      No – we are not – but we need to judge the intentions of people in power and the facts of what they do in practice. They say that they are bringing this chaos to save us from COVID 19. Shame that they haven’t been so diligent on the vast majority of other easily preventable communicable diseases…..

      zorro

    • LinJ
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      Dave – It feels like a ‘phoney war’. If it is truly believed that there is a plague of huge proportion to come, then that fact should be gradually made known to stop people becoming complacent. They’ve already been panicking anyway.

  11. Sakara Gold
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    In these extraordinary times the powers that be should close the markets for the duration.

  12. Peter
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    We are now moving towards a command economy for the duration of this pandemic -at least.

    I don’t know about investment advice – but it should be marvellous times for those with conspiracy theories they wish to establish.

    • zorro
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      Or conspiracy facts….

      zorro

  13. Kevin
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    This morning I have re-read a Daily Mail article on Dr. David Mackereth, which prompts me to ask the following question:
    Can the Government, with its current razor-sharp focus on evidence and science, and an urgent need for availability of medical personnel, afford to consider as “unfit to work” an NHS doctor of 26 years’ experience, mostly in A&E, because he holds the opinion that a person’s sex is defined by biology and genetics, and wishes to keep his thinking clear on that subject?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      Your post prompts me to ask the following question:

      Well, what do you think, Kevin?

      • Edward2
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

        Oh go on Martin what do you think.

        • Fred H
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

          we get told up to 14 times a day, have you not noticed?

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:25 am | Permalink

        Well I’m a Kevin and a man is born a man and a woman is born a woman but I’ve thus far been prepared to indulge different lifestyles and be careful about feelings. But there. I said it.

        The days of bullying political correctness are over. Clearly we should have spent a lot more NHS money on PPE equipment rather than indulging lifestyle problems and people are now angry about this – this will only intensify as loved ones are lost, many of them medical staff.

        If the days of pubs are over then political correctness is over. Such trivia will no longer be tolerated when everyone is starting to hurt this much – and it hasn’t even started yet.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      The government’s “razor-sharp focus on evidence and science“ very funny indeed. Religion, virtue signalling, identity politics, climate alarmism, the politics of envy and political correctness wins out over evidence & real science every time – in politics.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      Well perhaps one good thing to come out of this will be rolling back the “trailing leads” H & S culture as insignificant. Maybe listen to a few more people who can feel these things in their bones, like a certain W Gates. Worry less about political niceties and more about real potential threats.

    • agricola
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      Well said. PC is as bad as Covid-19.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      Keep up for goodness sake. The PC left command all areas of society. Experience and knowledge are for nothing if you don’t sign up to the latest hate crime.
      The police and military will be monitoring all our emails to weed out dissenters who refuse to be cowed by a flue virus.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

        No they won’t.

        PC is a luxury for soft times.

        We now face very hard times. Back to the twenties.

    • DOMINIC
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      The divine power of identity politics, victim culture and direct action is enough to drive sane politicians to pass laws they don’t agree with. Politicians have become hostages to a form of politics that has the ability to destroy all that we are and all that we have

      Contemporary political parties are a threat to our very being

      I know one thing for certain, if the BP had replace Labour at the last election identity politics fascism would now be consigned to history

    • Stred
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      I wonder whether the NHS will still be able to find the resources for all the sex change operations and children’s hormone alterations.

  14. Andy
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    The government needs to do what I said. Guarantee all businesses, all jobs, all homes until September 1st. It is a big step but will give confidence.

    Johnson has proven himself hopeless. A clown in clown’s clothing. We need a government of national unity and a sensible prime minister. It would help if America has a decent president too. As it is global leadership is coming from Merkel and Macron – the grown ups in the room of self proclaimed ‘populist’ children.

    Incidentally I recall that Brexit was supposed to liberate us and let the UK soar as the EU crumbled. This is the biggest storm since WW2 and investors are seeking a safe haven by selling Sterling by the bucket load and buying Euros and dollars. Most of my savings are in Euros. So, thanks Brexiteers. You’ve made me quite a lot of money.

    • Edward2
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

      “The government needs to do what I said”
      Classic Andy.
      You have the hint of dictator about you.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

        megalomania?

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      I expect Western governments are discovering that lock down is costing them their jobs and therefore their health services.

      The cure is far more lethal than the illness. The poverty, the suicides and if one thing will definitely see the end of the NHS it’s the loss of the jobs that pay for it.

      Boris was the only one with the balls to hold off but he’s been pressured by A) a lack of economic advantage because other economies are in lock down B) the risk that his policy will see hundreds of thousands dead while other countries may see thousands dead.

      It’s a difficult one to assess. The dead from the lethal cure: economic poverty, suicide and the collapse of the NHS should also be attributed to CV but won’t be. You will doubtless refuse to see the connection.

      Because you’re a baby.

      The sale of sterling is obviously down to our differing treatments of the CV crisis and not Brexit. Why hold it until thus far then ?

      PS, don’t you have a company to save ? We’d like to hear about what you’re up to – perhaps some lingua franca to embellish your posts with for a change (seeing as you’re supposed to own a translation business.)

  15. Richard1
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    It is an emergency so we need emergency measures. That doesn’t make them in principle desirable – it’s no more desirable to give bungs to companies than it is tell people they can’t leave their homes. But we need it because of the medical emergency.

    As far as possible these measures need to be temporary and not permanent, otherwise we will bake in socialism and statism to an even greater extent and cripple the economy for decades to come, long after Covid19 is forgotten. So grants, loans, tax rebates etc are much better than nationalisation or permanent new welfare measures. Allister Heath in the telegraph has a good piece on this today.

    And no dividends, distributions or high pay of any sort while any company is in receipt of these special measures.

  16. Polly
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Well done Gilead for fixing Chinese Flu with Remdesivir and for ramping up production.

    Looks like the US has saved the world…

    Again !

  17. Everhopeful
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    The markets are telling us that they want a vaccine!
    When will the “Hey Presto” moment come?

  18. agricola
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    It is because those who have shares in almost anything can see the short, medium, and long term effect of closing everything down without the normal safeguards of salaries and wages. Sending staff on a months unpaid holiday is a bet not a solution. Government must go much further than it has done to date, otherwise a return to normal will be fraught and as long lasting as the virus problem. When the virus has been dealt with , we the UK need to be in a go state like the switching of a light switch. Figuratively speaking we do not want to be staggering out of bed.

  19. Javelin
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    The Art of War –

    – Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.

    – Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win

    – The greatest victory is that which there is no battle

    – Whoever is first in the field and awaits the coming of the enemy, will be fresh for the fight; whoever is second in the field and has to hasten to battle will arrive exhausted.

    I’m not saying this is a conspiracy but

    – In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.

    – Opportunities multiply as they are

    And how will they do this

    – Begin by seizing something which your opponent holds dear; then he will be amenable to your will.

    • Javelin
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Voice of America from 2 days ago.

      Taiwan says it scrambled its air force to drive away Chinese military planes that had flown into its airspace late Monday.

      The island’s Defense Ministry said a group of Chinese fighter jets and surveillance planes flew into the waters off of Taiwan’s southwestern coast as part of nighttime exercises, coming close to its air defense identification zone.

      Beijing has been conducting numerous naval and aviation exercises in the Taiwan Strait since the election of Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016 as a means of pressuring Taipei from declaring its independence.

    • Matt
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:43 am | Permalink

      One region of Italy has been hit far worse than the whole of China.

      Or maybe a poor lab cleaner flogged a test chimp to the meat market.

  20. Ian @Barkham
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    In the world we live in now we should never give to much credence to what is termed markets, as in a finance center business.

    Previously stock markets were the avenue for investment buying and selling, to create long term portfolios.

    This is changed there is a new breed of ‘Market Makers’ making the running. Money is earnt by forcing a trade, on the way down these commissioned soles are earning in the same way as when the market raises. Hence they are called ‘Market Makers’ Their earnings only happen if there is movement.

    Then add in the computer trading by the big cooperates, were software and Ai also force the issue.

    In this context Share value for the most part has nothing to do with actual company value.

  21. Dunc.
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Those demanding more extensive home isolation seem to have forgotten that a society cannot consume if it does not produce.

  22. ianterry
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Sir John

    Investors are reviewing the situation, judging the risk and making changes to their portfolio accordingly.

    Government should be adopting the same process and no matter how unpalatable this will be some, they will have to take major decisions to redirect their funds to fight the battles facing them today not those perceived to be approaching over the next 20 years.
    It will help the population if on repealing the Climate Change Act to remove all green charges from their bills. Withdraw the Foreign Aid payments and re direct them into our fighting funds. Stop all subsidies and payments on renewable energy installation. There are other areas within in its portfolio that could be redirected if ministers applied themselves. This country could be considered to be on a war footing and everything that can be done must be done, no time for delay. The great WSC had an in box marked Action This Day. It is time to dust it off and put it back on the table for immediate use.

  23. Fred H
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Sir John I advise suspending this diary. It has become riddled with idiots and doom mongering. The reduced internet activity would help more meaningful use for workers and schoolkids accessing set work.

  24. Ian @Barkham
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    We are all in this together!

    EASYJET chief Johan Lundgren asked the Government for a commercial loan to save his airline while admitting a whopping £170 million in dividends will go out to his shareholders on Friday.

  25. Bob
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    It seems like the governments solution to economic problems is to print money like confetti. Slashing what was left of the base rate seems to have achieved the square root of nothing.

    The disease will no doubt work its way through the population and some people will require intensive care. The problem is that the NHS has the lowest level of intensive care provision in the developed world, hence the reason to close down society and the economy in an effort to buy time for the NHS to catch up.

    Instead of squandering tax revenues on HS2 and overseas aid the govt should be asking why our resources were not used to develop stronger national resilience to emergency situations such as we currently face.

    If you want to get to Birmingham 15 minutes earlier, then catch the earlier train!

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

      The new governor has cut the base rate to 0.10%
      That should unrattle the markets.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

        Is this so they can insist the banks go easy on defaulters ?

        The profit margins on mortgage loans are huge.

  26. Richard1
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Leftists are appearing at every turn wanting permanent measures to be sneakily rushed through as part of this govt support for the economy, presumably while such measures won’t get the sort of scrutiny they normally would. We have the resolution foundation wanting some massive new sort of permanent benefit. We have the ubiquitous and over-rated left wing economist Marianna Mazzucato wanting to put permanent conditions in any company support measures such as ‘green’ conditions – presumably whichever ones she thinks right. Even Gordon brown has come on with a few platitudes and a suggestion he handled things so much better in the financial crisis. (his disastrous bank bailout is still never challenged).

    Fortunately we have a Conservative govt in office, not a bunch of Marxists, socialists and climate hysterics. We do need massive and unprecedented emergency measures. But they must be temporary, and so must the conditions attaching to them. If leftists want leftist policies in the long term they will just have to get them in the normal way – by putting forward arguments and winning elections. No sneaky shortcuts to socialism please!

  27. Lifelogic
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Government experts yesterday- it is not that schools are dangerous places it is just about slowing the spread of the infection down – exactly and slowing the spread of infection down is what they should have been doing several weeks ago! Why on on earth did they not do so then.

    • Bash Street Kid
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      Kids run about a bit. Arguably only in school can you get them stop moving about for more than two minutes. Maybe someone has a computer model with a kind of web of interconnections from a child’s home ( and a curve of course). We know it will stop many adults going to work and reduce the money to enable them to stay at home with all that that means in more expenditure for one thing and another. Kids at home are more likely to spread any virus over miles as they go on “adventures”, treasure hunting for instance and ghost hunting or bird spotting…if at 9am you tell them not to play football with others then you get the score at 5.30pm and who kicked the goals. Do MPs have children?

    • Mark
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      From the much cited by little read Imperial model report:

      Introducing such interventions too early risks allowing transmission to return once they are lifted (if insufficient herd immunity has developed); it is therefore necessary to balance the timing of introduction with the scale of disruption imposed and the likely period over which the interventions can be maintained. In this scenario, interventions can limit transmission to the extent that little herd immunity is acquired – leading to the possibility that a second wave of infection is seen once interventions are lifted.

  28. formula57
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Badly rattled indeed but many markets were of course powered by irrational exuberance, itself sustained by maladroit central bank policies of the like of the Bernanke put.

  29. Prigger etc
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    CNBC now says via its China reporter “China is back at work” No further outbreaks”
    Let me correct that. China never stopped working.

    The city of Wuhan in a China which is not tiny was in “lockdown” which actually meant many people still working. Eventually factory workers after a while got back to work but not all sectors. China has had plagues before ..in places..

    China will rule the world eventually unless the panic virus , mass hysteria, is not brought under control in the West, Kipling style “If”

  30. formula57
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    That “I have put my proposal again to government…” is most disturbing. The May government perished after it did not listen to you: will this one suffer the same fate?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      It didn’t listen to the Opposition either.

      I think that rather, that was the fatal factor.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

        Which led to the Conservatives getting a huge majority at the very next election.

  31. Lear’s Fool
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    But nuncle you’ve always argued that it doesn’t matter how much public debt there is as the Bank of England can buy it up? So why not offer UBI of £10,000 for every person per month and let the Bank buy up £7 trillion of newly issued gilts using newly printed money.

    Reply Not so. There is an inflation constraint on the printing of money

    • bill brown
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Sir JR

      There is much more the value of the pounds could also collapse as is gradually happening for the moment

      • Mark
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        I have some good news. Spent the morning shopping, in part on behalf of elderly relatives. Managed to obtain just about everything on our lists, including toilet paper. Stock levels were slightly strained for some items (and the toilet paper was only acquired because of passing shelves that were just being restocked), but the stores were busy. There is some evidence that store rationing is beginning to work. Perhaps less good news for those who have been hoarding and profiteering – friends have passed on a number of anecdotes of that. Perhaps the newspapers and broadcasters could report on the better situation in stores in ways to help encourage continuing reductions in panic buying and hoarding.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

        It isn’t collapsing bill
        It has just fallen a bit versus the dollar and euro.

        • bill brown
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:17 am | Permalink

          Edward 2

          it hit a 35 year ow on average yesterday , so yes a collapse or nearly collapse, take you pick

          • Edward2
            Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

            Whilst we were in the EU the pound went from parity against the dollar and euro to about 1.70 against both.
            It moved greatly up and down.
            I dont remember you calling those movements a collapse.

    • Richard1
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      its funny how people really have a difficulty with these concepts. if public debt is held by the BoE that clearly should be netted off for the purposes of looking at the debt capacity of UK taxpayers. Also of course the more money printing there is the more inflation there will be unless the money printing is at some point reversed, eg by sale of the BoE’s glits held.

  32. Andrew S
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    It is perhaps too soon to know if there will be some fundamental restructuring of food and essential supply chains, move to local shopping, greater local or remote working.
    In my locality we are seeing some extremes :- community help groups established on social media to assist elderly and less able people with food shopping and essentials supplies; versus greed and panic buying with people openly posting how they are travelling for 50 miles to buy up basis foods from stores well outside their own areas.
    Hopefully this experience will move society more towards benevolence.
    It is good that the UK is a sovereign country that can take its own decisions. On health, food, borders, economy, travel, support measures.
    Also fortuitous that we have a strong and wise government with an unassailable commons majority. Capable of making key decisions, for the good of the country without political opportunism.

  33. Sea Warrior
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    The best support that the government can give for business – and through that, the people – is a mass get-back-to-work drive. That will only be possible if there is a massive capability to test the population for CV anti-bodies. Once the test is available, it needs rolling out as quickly as possible. I suspect that that is something best done by the Army.

  34. graham1946
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    It’s the madness of crowds, it has happened many times before, like the dutch tulip bulb hysteria. The market decides it wants a profit and a shakeout of small investors so they can make a killing buying back de-valued stock which happens every time the market is over priced which is has been for some time. The writing has been on the wall for a long time, now the virus provides the excuse. No bull market continues for ever. Trouble is, like the virus, contagion spreads and sensible people lose their heads and the thing becomes uncontrollable, especially in these days of algorithms doing a lot of trade rather than cool experienced heads.

  35. Sakara Gold
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    How unfortunate to read in The Independent just now, that Michel Barnier – the EU chief Brexit troublemaker – has caught the Chinese plague virus.

    I do hope that he doesn’t die and makes a full recovery and is able to return to work in a few months, say November

    • margaret howard
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      And no doubt we all hope you don’t catch it.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      He seems to be far more effective, and making greatly more sense, than any euro-hostile dissembler on this side of the Channel, even with this cursed virus.

      The very best to him for a speedy recovery.

    • Richard1
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      I wish him a speedy recovery.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

        Me too.

  36. zorro
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Are the political authorities using the cover of COVID 19 to distract from a US$5 trillion dollar bailout over the last weekend?

    Is the reaction to the latest COVID 19 outbreak disproportionate to previous reactions to outbreaks? In 2009-10, the medical ‘experts’ stated that we could lose up to 65,000 people to swine flu with a lower case estimate of 3,100. We lost in fact, 457 people.

    Italy has 16,000 flu deaths annually in the seven month flu season, and in the last two months has had allegedly 2,158 deaths from COVID 19, less than half the monthly flu deaths.

    Italy is the worst-case scenario and Germany’s mortality rate is far less….

    Is the response of governments reasonable given the actual threat?

    In 2009, Swine Flu hit America’s shores. The spread and mortality figures of the Swine Flu outbreak went almost unnoticed by the public and media. In March 2010, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that about 59 million Americans contracted the H1N1 virus, 265,000 were hospitalized as a result (0.4% of the estimated total number of people who contracted it), and 12,000 died (0.02%) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_flu_pandemic_in_the_United_States

    Today, we have COVID 19, and in 2 months it has infected 4,600 Americans and 85 have succumbed to the virus.

    Based on those figures, what would an alien say if asked which scenario should result in a lockdown of society? What do you reckon?

    Why is it that the western governments picked COVID 19? And more importantly, why?

    What’s the craic JR?

    zorro

    • forthurst
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

      The USA has only been able to test for a week. Before that they were using defective kits. Consequently it is doubtful that the existing statistics are correct. If someone dies of pulmonary disease and without a post mortem and analysis of a lung tissue sample, the death is likely to be ascribed to pneumonia following flu. Do all sick people even get medical treatment in the USA? Protection from flu is provided by vaccination not by limiting its spread; however, Covid-19 undoubtedly has a much higher mortality rate than flu therefore limiting its spread is essential. Swine flu was certainly overhyped but then there was some vaccine to sell which as yet does not apply to Covid-19.

  37. Roger Phillips
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Sir John
    Why has the government not made any provision for zero hours workers? There are now hundreds of thousands on these contracts and they can’t get any financial support.

    • Hancock is a toad
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      Why has the government not made any provision for zero hours workers? There are now hundreds of thousands on these contracts and they can’t get any financial support.

      >
      The people will rise up

  38. Mark
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    A large part of the falls for stocks, commodities and forex is the consequence of derivatives trading and the need to provide cash collateral against losing positions, which entails cashing out profitable positions or selling assets, which results in more sell off as prices fall further. That gold futures have been subject to the same effect instead of being a flight to quality asset is revealing. Only when this liquidation is largely complete will markets start to look more at where fundamental value may lie, and some markets will rebound quite sharply, particularly where there are prospects of shortages because of knock on effects of shutdowns in industry and agriculture.

    More widely, markets will start to judge the actions of governments and the response of their peoples. Those countries where too much economic activity is suspended are not likely to be looked on favourably, especially if it also provokes social unrest and the need for sterner measures. Likewise, countries that insist on luxuries like biofuels in place of food, and spending on projects with negative returns (think HS2) as their economic programme may find that markets treat them harshly. They are going to need to pay for their imports.

    The fall of asset values more widely, and particularly property values will put severe stress on banks. We failed for a dozen years to take measures to de-risk bank balance sheets by running down mortgages outstanding and allowing real . The temporary flight into government bonds could unwind with real viciousness, forcing interest rates sharply higher, and making further borrowing increasingly prohibitive.

    It is highly doubtful that large doses of QE and helicopter money will work the same way this time as in 2009. It is much more likely they will lead to high rates of inflation as the way to reduce the real value of debt outstanding. In badly managed countries hyperinflation is very possible.

    It does look as though the EU as an institution and as a collection of countries will face big tests ahead. EU revenues will crater, making the budget wrangle so far seem mild. Economic and banking crises will loom. It will be very important that we exit our period of joint and several liability for the EU as soon as possible. The amount of debt that we could be saddled with would utterly dwarf any marginal gains or losses from one kind of trade deal against another. Indeed, provided we don’t mess up our own economy, once we are free of that risk we will be in a much better negotiating position. I’m sure that’s why there are no plans to extend the transition period.

  39. glen cullen
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Markets are rattled because of uncertainty

    Unless we test the people we don’t know the scope of the problem and at the moment fear of the unknown is the problem. As a matter of urgency the government should be testing people and communicating the facts when clear eg almost no schoolteachers have the virus yet we are closing ALL schools?

    Systematically test a school then report if its clear and get it back up and running

    Are we shutting schools down completely or just not excepting school children to attend, are teachers being sent home or are they still reporting for work?

    The way the media are reporting this virus you would think every second person in the UK has it….the government should every day report the map and highlight the clear regions

  40. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    It is clear enough what the Government should do. It should rapidly build up the number of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds and ventilators. The word ‘bed’ is a bit misleading. It’s not just the physical beds but the doctors and nurses needed to provide the care, together with the necessary protective clothing for them. This investment should be the Government’s top priority, with infrastructure projects postponed to make way for it.

    I checked on the web. Germany has 29.2 critical care beds per 100,000 of
    population. It has more Coronavirus cases than UK but virtually no deaths. Italy has 12.5 critical care beds per 100,000 population and deaths are 8% of Coronavirus cases. The French figures are 11.6 and 2%. UK figures are 6.6 and 4%. To save lives, we need to build up to the German figure PDQ.

    The news from China is good – the first day with no home grown Coronavirus cases, only imported cases amongst returnees. That means that in China, the bulk of the problem has been overcome within 3 months. Deaths have been 3000+ out of 80,000+ cases in a population of 1,400 million.

    If the UK does similarly, then with a population of 65 million we are looking at less than 200 deaths. I don’t believe that we will fare anything like that well but at least our problems, however great, will with luck be over by the end of May. Provided that the necessary ICU capacity is in place by then, we can remove most of the restrictions on the economy.

  41. Iain Gill
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    press is reporting that the government is going to close Poole A&E despite the pandemic

    you might want to tell ministers closing any capacity we have is a pretty bad idea at the moment…

    thanks

  42. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    The markets are behaving perfectly rationally. Profits are going to crash because loans have to be repaid. Share prices drop so that price/earnings ratios are maintained if possible. Expect a gradual recovery this year and next, and a raging bull market in 2022.

    • outsider
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      Dear Lindsay McDougall, I would not care to predict because all stock market crashes are different. I cut my teeth on the 1972-75 bear market in which UK shares fell an average 70 per cent over 2 1/2 years, ended only by an organised bear aqueeze. The 1987 “blue sky” crash, the dot-com crash and the financial crash all followed different couses, the dot-com crash being closest to your expected pattern. One of the obvious special factors this time is that large numbers of businesses will effectively have ceased trading for a period, either going bust or building up huge loan gearing. Once the dust has settled many companies big and small will need to recapitalise. The same for millions of people.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      And in many areas travel, cruises, hotels, restaurants, bars, some retail, dentists, hairdressers ….. demand has largely disappeared and will take some time to recover.

  43. zorro
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Big queues at (empty) supermarkets now – I had to turn back from Lower Earley – every action the government takes is exacerbating the issue and forcing people to mill around feeding centres (supermarkets). Closing the schools will have more people milling there too.

    What we are seeing is the wholesale destruction of SMEs to concentrate the power in the hands of the big conglomerates. This government which supposedly cares so much for the elderly that they are destroying the country’s economy are in effect creating the conditions for a worse cull of older people from other illnesses and poverty.

    It is ludicrous that people who are perfectly well are trendily ‘self-isolating’ on Facebook/Instagram and not working when they are clearly fit for work. Let’s lock away health people and screw the world’s economy rather than protecting the elderly…. that’s a good idea.

    zorro

  44. ITALY FLU DATA
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    HM Government IS aware of ITALY normal flu deaths?
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1201971219303285

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

      interesting paper, explains some of the high numbers out of Italy are infact the norm

      Unlike the strange numbers coming from Turkey 192 cases with 189 recovered?

  45. a-tracy
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Some of the things government have done recently are flabbergasting.

    Why was Nicola Sturgeon allowed to reveal London was about to be closed down in 3 days?
    Why was this allowed to go reported without rebuke?
    So Londoners who are more highly infected than the rest of the Country have given potentially infected people to go out to their Country homes to spread the virus far and wide – well done!

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      Free speech?

      • a-tracy
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

        Martin, all she did was cause people to panic more and buy even more, leave the City where they could to second homes and families. When you say it was her freedom of speech, she should no longer be part of Cobra meetings, how can we be sure it wasn’t an hateful act of a person who is hell bent on breaking up our United Kingdom.

        If a regional leader like Andy Burnham was reported to have said Edinburgh was planning on closing down in three days she’d have been in an uproar.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

      Indeed.

  46. Martyn G
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Never mind the markets – here in my village in Oxfordshire we are without bread, flour, toilet rolls, tissues – you name it, its all gone. The main store was resupplied and once again emptied. Until the government puts in place measure to limit the number of items a person can buy the supply side is never going to catch and shortages will continue. The village butcher is almost in tears – his main provider has suddenly declared bankruptcy and he has to seek another, which will take weeks of negotiation to arrange, what with credit checks etc etc. What we are seeing is all of the worst of peoples’ nature in panic or now more likely opportunistic shelve-stripping, yet on the other hand, all of the very best in people offering help to those like me probably soon to become house and garden bound. I wonder if we are seeing the breakdown of society in all this?

    • steve
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

      Martyn G

      “What we are seeing is all of the worst of peoples’ nature in panic”

      …..Martyn, it isn’t panic, it’s pure unmitigated selfishness. And exploited to great effect by the supermarkets themselves.

      They said; “there is no supply problem” …..yet the shelves are empty.

      The oldest trick in the book – create a shortage.

    • CvM
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

      Yes, and much because of selfish greed. Risks to put more liberal and rightwing economic models back by decades

  47. John E
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    My grandchildren go to a (very expensive) private nursery in Reading. They have been told that the nursery is shutting down for an unknowable length of time and per their T’s and C’s parents have to pay full fees as usual to preserve their child’s space, or give four weeks paid notice.
    It’s fairly obvious that the Government have given no thought to the provision of nursery care, they have just said “Oh yeah, nurseries too” when discussing schools.
    I would like to see what if any modelling shows that closing baby and toddler nursery facilities will help anything. No parent can afford to pay that money out and not have child care or the ability to work themselves. They can’t risk having the nursery take their money, go bankrupt, and re-emerge under a new company whenever they re-open. Meantime the Government will be paying the nursery to look after the children of key workers and providing loans which will doubtless not have to be repaid when the business declares bankruptcy.
    What is going to happen is that parents band together to pay the nursery staff that will be being laid off to care for children in their private homes. I know this is potentially against lots of regulations but when Government acts stupidly and gives parents no other choice that will happen. How anyone will be better off as a result I can’t imagine. You will be hearing from many enraged parents!

    • rose
      Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      It is such a pity so many women fell for the feminist creed that it then became compulsory for all. With both parents out to work and no-one at home, what happens when the children are ill in normal times? Little children are always getting ill, especially when they go to nurseries. It is a cruel creed which tells women that house, husbands, and children must be fitted in willy nilly with a career, quite apart from house prices soaring as a consequence of two incomes chasing each house rather than one.

      • Ian@Barkham
        Posted March 19, 2020 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

        It’s the new ‘WOK’ children are for the State/other taxpayers to pick up the tab. They are a look at me aren’t I clever badge, not a responsibility

        • John E
          Posted March 19, 2020 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

          What bit of very expensive private nursery did you not understand? How is the taxpayer picking up that bill?

      • Fred H
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

        very true. Mothers expected to have it all / do it all. Children make do, lack guidance and security of a homelife where the support and welfare of all the family is put first. Yes- double incomes fuel the ever rising mortgages, deposits and new car expectations. What a society ! Far too many jobs are barely minimum wage, and do we care? I don’t see it in modern UK.

  48. forthurst
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Comparing the wikipedia pages for the 2020 corona virus pandemic between South Korea and the UK, we are two days on current projections from matching South Korea’s peak new known daily cases and that is on the basis that South Korea has a massive testing program and we have not so our epidemic could already have surpassed theirs whilst they peaked on March 1st, so far.

  49. Yossarion
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    During the Banking Crises We bailed out some Banks in exchange for shares, looks like a good time to buy back British Airways and any other bargain going for the Tax Payer.

    • outsider
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:43 am | Permalink

      Re-nationalisation no thanks Yossarian. It would, however, make good sense for taxpayers to own minority stakes in such “public interest” companies, especially if they were used as a base for properly funded central government pension schemes. Unfortunately, the Treasury has a short-termist record, under Chancellors of both persuasions, of selling assets and retaining liabiities (eg British Energy and Royal Mail) so as to shift tax burdens to future generations.

  50. Richard
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    Delingpole points out the medical establishment has known about the effectiveness of Chloroquine against coronaviruses since 2005.
    “In 2005, Martin J Vincent et al published a study in Virology Journal titled ‘Chloroquine is a potent inhibitor of SARS coronavirus infection and spread.’ “

  51. glen cullen
    Posted March 19, 2020 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Markets are rattled because of uncertainty
    Unless we test the people we don’t know the scope of the problem and at the moment fear of the unknown is the problem. As a matter of urgency the government should be testing people and communicating the facts
    The way the media are reporting this virus you would think every second person in the UK has it….the government should every day report the map and highlight the clear regions

  52. Will in Hampshire
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    So I watched Bill Gates TED talk from 2015, which is at https://www.ted.com/talks/bill_gates_the_next_outbreak_we_re_not_ready. He very clearly made the point that something like Covid-19 could happen and we’re collectively not ready. He did this in 2015.

    You, John Redwood, and your fellow members of the Conservative Party, have been in government throughout the entire period 2015-2020. You and your colleagues could have taken steps in this time to prepare for such a risk, but you collectively chose not to. I think you are collectively culpable for the disaster hitting Great Britain. You and all your fellow Party members should be ashamed of yourselves.

    • Richard1
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      What a helpful comment. Were any politicians making such calls? Were you writing letters to your local newspaper on it?

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      Will, I read Taiwan warned the WHO in December about this virus outbreak but they were ignored by the WHO the rumours say because of pressure by China not to recognise them as an autonomous Country?

      Italy knew this blew up in February yet didn’t warn people in the UK not to go on their half term breaks thus putting so many of us at risk, same with Spanish outbreak, they were where we are now before half term.

      Our government seems to be on its front foot I’m pleased to hear they’re utilising our factories in the UK to speedily make ventilators – I hope they also training 1st, 2nd and 3rd year student nurses of all disciplines specifically how to use these machines and how to specifically treat this virus, especially as the Univerisites have closed down now.

      I was pleased to hear bed blocking elderly patients are going to be cared for in our hotels and suitable personnel to look after them should be redeployed and trained quickly by the government from, the group of people that have been laid off from the hospitality sector and if they refuse to work then their 80% pay cover ends, this includes the cooks, waiters etc. Freeing up time for the carers to do the medical needs.

      I want to know how many Covid 19 patients are in every hospital?
      I want to know how many are on ventilators right now.

      Is it that only a few hospitals are busy but you want to stop people going into A&E and sounding like ALL hospitals are in emergency panic situations stops the worried well?

  53. a-tracy
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    What exactly is the deal C4 news seem to have just misrepresented the 80% of pay guarantee deal.

    My understanding is that this is only for workers who are out of work with zero income due to their business having no choice but to otherwise lay them off through £0 turnover. Ie bar, cafe, restaurant businesses under forced closure, and the business has to keep them on the payroll and pay the residual 20% of pay.

    What’s going to encourage employees to redeploy and take booming sector supermarket jobs etc?

    My worry is human nature, people won’t like working while others are paid 80% for doing nothing.

    If the staff go off sick then is it sick pay they claim? Or topped up wages and who pays the 20% and who decides they’re genuine, surely people are only sick for around 2/3 weeks or they’d be in hospital? It’s very confusing

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      If hairdressers for example are forced to close because customers aren’t going in, because frankly we’re not sure whether we are allowed to go in or not, are the government covering their 80% pay? Aren’t most of them self-employed hiring seats?

      • a-tracy
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

        Look I’m getting concerned now.
        Come Monday if people who are currently working declare they’re self-isolating to looked after sick ones, or they think they’ve suddenly got symptoms and we can’t challenge it because they can self-certificate, or they’ve got Diabetes type 2 and they’re worried and want to stop work because you’re going to cover 80% of their pay we might as well shut up shop and close down and you;ll be covering 100% of our costs because we’re going lose all the work we have and if we lose it we’re not going to keep it afloat. What on Earth are you doing!

        • a-tracy
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

          ‘Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced more measures to protect businesses and jobs, saying the government would pay the wages of employees kept out of work because of the coronavirus pandemic.’

          So does this mean ‘kept out of work’ because their employer has to close through no turnover…and/or ‘kept out of work’ because they’ve decided to self-isolate? Or is self-isolated sick leave just ssp?

        • a-tracy
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

          Supermarket workers were all huddled in groups this morning wondering if they all go sick/self-isolating will they get 80% of their pay covered, clarify this weekend to them please, there’s only public service workers on guaranteed sick pay (and to be frank they should take the hit too and have it capped) having read the gov website for ourselves about furloughed staff it is the employer that makes the decision to furlough because they have no turnover and would otherwise have to throw the employee onto Universal credit and that’s if the company can keep their other costs covered through their own resources and maybe a loan or in some cases a grant (but that won’t last long).

          You should put up job centre jobs online for all to see so all the self-employer can be redeployed and all others should pull together to find alternative paid work where possible in care homes, home food deliveries, online orders companies rather than sitting on their backsides expecting a few to work for the many.

  • 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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