Getting out of the furlough

The government yesterday confirmed there would be no abrupt end to the furlough scheme to help pay to keep workforces together and ready to return to work. The Chancellor also accepted the advice of many of us that it needs to be more flexible, allowing part time work for the employer by some of those in furlough with appropriate reductions in financial support.

We await the details of the extended scheme, which could last until October. It is important to help businesses keep a workforce together who are banned from working by law. Such a business needs a grant,  not a loan, as it cannot help itself by earning revenue. This money can be borrowed  by the state, with the burden spread over many years ahead. Clearly there are  limits to how long this can go on, as the state cannot borrow for a long period  to keep a workforce together that is  not allowed to earn its own income. It is now equally important that there is a path back to work for these enterprises.

There will be hard cases. Where businesses that were viable in areas like hospitality face delay before they can resume working, the risks of eventual redundancies are higher. Where this is compounded by those businesses expecting to have to operate at much reduced levels of sales owing to the social distancing rules, they may end up with a business which cannot pay its way let alone make a profit. It is difficult to know how many cafes, restaurants, hotels, pubs and clubs will re open with a way of doing business that can pay all the bills. Clearly keeping a 2 metre distance between customers and staff is going to prove very difficult in many of the properties and locations previously used for such activities.

I am glad that some of these businesses have already shown great enterprise and flexibility turning to take away meals, looking  at  how they can use gardens and other under used spaces to spread customers out and introducing screens or other barriers to allow closer spacing.

None of this is good for the recovery of the High Street. Rents and business rates remain high, when we need adjustments to the new reality of reduced earning power in many places.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. Brit
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    The Tory Party extends its Fantasy Land measures ruining our country for generations to come with some Tory MPs as of old joining Labour in racist comments on American and Jewish food.This time chicken.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 14, 2020 at 5:47 am | Permalink

      It is as if New Labour never left. 😉

  2. Mark B
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    The pub industry was already in decline due to government legislation and a change in social behaviour. Now this will all but put paid to the industry. As some of these people use these as their homes as well, where are they going to live ?

    The travel and tourism industry will recover, but when ? And in what shape will it be ?

    The cost to those business and individuals who have been prudent will be high inorder to pay for those who have not and have been caught short by events. The government tax take is already too high and any more taxes is likely to throttle any recovery. All because people in the public sector failed to plan and then act. All the while other countries are now conning out.

  3. formula57
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    The sad truth is that for many the furlough settlements will turn out to be just unemployment benefit started early at elevated rates.

    When will we see furloughs in the public sector?

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      Not so if the furloughed worker has a family and is prepared to stack shelves or drive a delivery van for Sainsburys (or even pick fruit) instead. With three children someone on Universal credit earning minimum wage can take home £36K per annum or the equivalent of £50K per year.

      Opportunities abound at this time.

    • Hope
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      Business rates, community charge, MPs pensions based on the higher RPI everyone else on the lower CPI!

      Nannies and cleaners from separate homes and visiting other households okay, two family members having self isolated not allowed to visit to help with child care for the ordinary person! Tories lie to say this is following the science!

      QE will punish savers, prudent and strivers.

      MPs gave themselves 3.1% pay rise to £82,000 plus £10,000 advance in March taking them to the highest earners!

      Under Major thousands lost their jobs, home and businesses while the Tory party looked after their own. It led to the landslide of Blaire at the following election.

      There will be a wealth of evidence for Starmer to pursue all he has to to do is sit back and wait.

      • Mark B
        Posted May 14, 2020 at 5:52 am | Permalink

        It is staggering to see the Tories busily build their own funeral pyre. They really do believe that people will forget this.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      How will private sector employers ever compete with the public sector when potential employees are treated so differently? Private sector employment is sadly becoming more and more risky compared with the public sector.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      No the people, many of whom are to a large degree employed taxing or inconveniencing the productive must obviously be given full pay and gold plated pensions as they “work” from home.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 2:37 pm | Permalink


    • Richard1
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      is it really the case no public sector employees have been furloughed?!

  4. GilesB
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    Double-shift schooling is used in many countries. For example, Hong Kong.

    Separate teachers for the morning and afternoon shifts. Teachers not allowed to teach both shifts.

    Of course it would need more teachers, and it won’t work everywhere. But in many schools the total capacity can be doubled enabling social distancing in the classrooms. Corridors and stairways need imaginative timetabling to avoid crushes

    • Caterpillar
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

      Yes, among the furloughed, self-employed and others there are bound to be plenty of people with sufficient subject knowledge to switch to teaching and support the two shifts model. How many of these skilled people would want to put up with the irrelevant training, presumed guilt around wild children, futile lesson plans, service based pay and all the other oddities might be another question. There are plenty (including contributors here, and I am guilty of it myself) that criticise teachers but probably couldn’t hack it in UK schools themselves.

  5. oldtimer
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    Business cash flow depends on generating sales revenues. Equity finance, debt and grants can pump prime a business but they cannot sustain a fundamentally insolvent business. The Chancellor’s measures will only work if there is a return to work. The outlook for many businesses is now extremely bleak. For many it will make no sense hanging on in the hope that something might turn up. A return to “business as usual” is a pipe dream. I hope that there is someone at or near the top of government who is thinking the unthinkable about the reform of taxation, regulation and abolition of shibboleths that will be required to return the UK economy to some semblance of growth and prosperity. But I am not holding my breath. Public attitudes remain hostile to business and that will colour the Johnson government response.

  6. Dave Andrews
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    Rents are a case in point. What of the business owner, whose business the government has shut, is on the hook for the rent with personal security? We at least need a statute to make void all rental clauses of a personal guarantee nature.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      Quite – I paid £25K last month for an office we will not use during the rental period. A very expensive mailbox.

      The commercial rental sector will suffer greatly later when those like us with offices who have discovered that staff no longer think they have to come to as they have proved they can be “efficient” at home no longer need so much space.

      We will just rent 10 desks from Regus instead of a whole office for 25

      Still should make for more domestic space available for homes to accommodate the continued flood of immigrants to work in public sector jobs while our output falls.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      No not at all, the tenanted entered into the contract freely and it should be honoured if they can afford it and if not laws are in place to deal with this situation and the landlord will have to accept a loss.

      Contracts should be honoured otherwise the whole system is hugely damaged. It is perfectly possible that the landlord might be poorer than the tenant, might have borrowed a lot to buy the property and might indeed be bankrupted by the failure of the tenant to honour the contract.

      Forcing landlord to give their money to tenant is not right at all and will damage tenants too. If the contracts cannot be relied on it damages all business going forwards. Governments have already done huge harm in this area with foolish employment, tenancy and other laws.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 14, 2020 at 4:22 am | Permalink

        The TENANTS.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      And all mortgage clauses too – because the landlord is on the hook for his business expenses and has received no grant whatsoever, self-employment or furlough subsidies.

    • Peter Cousins
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      So the landlord goes bust instead?

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      I disagree. Contracts should stand. Your plan ‘stiffs’ the landlord, who has his own commitments. It’s more appropriate for the state to offer temporary assistance in meeting the rent.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted May 14, 2020 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      Quite – I paid £25K last month for an office we will not use during the rental period. A very expensive mailbox.
      The commercial rental sector will suffer greatly later when those like us with offices who have discovered that staff no longer think they have to come to as they have proved they can be “efficient” at home no longer need so much space.
      We will just rent 10 desks from Regus instead of a whole office for 25

  7. percy openshaw
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    Sir John, whilst it is true that business will need support until the current “state of emergency” is ended, I have to ask: why is the government maintaining that “state of emergency” it in the first place? It is clear that the Ferguson figures by which the PM set such store are dubious; it is evident that the peak of infection was reached before “lockdown” and it is widely accepted that the continuing death toll arises from NHS incompetence with regard to care homes. One can only conclude, in the light of such considerations, that reluctance to ease the lockdown more quickly arises from political rather than from medical concern.

    As a postscript: according to reports in the Telegraph, there is a plan to cover the costs of this significant over-reaction with tax rises. You will see, if you read the comments below the line, that these proposals are the reverse of popular, with many readers objecting to continued government expenditure on HS2 and foreign “aid” at a time of sudden economic stringency. I hope that all Conservative members will do their utmost to insist on scrapping wasteful expenditure before any further tax burdens are imposed.

  8. Roy Grainger
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    What do you recommend should be done about businesses who take furlough money up until October and then immediately make those staff redundant when it stops ?

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      No one will make mass staff redundancies for the fun of it. Some may take the opportunity to shed difficult staff but if the business needs workers they will keep them. If not then the circumstances have made those workers redundant and the retention scheme is designed to give as many a chance of keeping their job as possible.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      Well the furloughed money has gone to the workers not the businesses. If there is no demand and thus no job to be done and they cannot redesign the business in some way what is their alternative?

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      A very pertinent question.

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      How has the closed business benefited from this Roy? This meant staff got their out of work benefits faster than they would have done if laid off, put on short hours or made redundant- or going on Universal Credit because their employer paid up front the money out of their resources and then claimed it back? The SMEs were specifically told if there was no work at the end of the furlough they didn’t have to keep these employees on they would then be able to make them redundant, if there is to be a reversal of this Companies need to be told now.

  9. Ann
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    The Telegraph says the epidemiology c is already over with only 0.24% of the population infected, there fore there is no serious an imminent threat to public health other than the detrimental effects on health by the shutdown. The Swedish epidemiologist says the mortality rate is 0.1% which is the same as ordinary flu.
    As the chief scientific officer said the other day the numbers of deaths include those who have not tested positive for covid. This makes the numbers meaningless and the basis for lockdown bogus. The bill infringes our civil liberties and rights.

  10. Ann
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 6:00 am | Permalink


  11. Sakara Gold
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    The extension of the Chancellor’s earnings-related income support scheme for those furloughed is most welcome. In the old days, if you lost your job and claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance or Income Support you got about £79 a week. This was to encourage the unemployed to live in cardboard boxes on the streets, eating a bowl of rice a day while they actively sought work.

    Now the government will pay you £2500 a month to sit at home while avoiding the Chinese plague virus and amusing yourself on YouTube or Netflix, or going for walks with the kids. And no getting sanctioned if you missed a benefit office interview!

    People are enjoying the extra leisure time, getting enough sleep and getting to know their kids again. No wonder IDS and the Tory grandocracy are demanding it ends!

  12. Gordon
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    Here’s a plan. Provide clear guidance. Guidance that is not inconsistent. Don’t brief the media with one thing on Wednesday, another on Friday, and then have the PM say something different again on Sunday. Most of all, accept that using feints, deceptions, unattributed briefings and irresponsible exaggerations is a brilliant way to wrongfoot your critics and achieve Brexit, but that it is utterly useless against a virus. Behave like a grown up, behave like Merkel or Macron. Stop treating this like a public school debating society.

    Posted May 13, 2020 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    The United Kingdom is effectively in economic though not necessarily in political terms socialistic. In a sense the topsy-turvy China model but with the added meaning of confusion and lacking China’s economy of scale.

    Where China can make errors in certain regions and still win, the UK must have each of its economic units on cruise speed.Not possible. Each part even up to the size of what it terms its nation states would need to perform excellently. Just one malfunction would domino and will domino in the fall of the rest with increasing state aid and expensive promises, written guarantees to would-be international investors.

    It is self-inflicted. Slashing its wrists. Reason? No objective reason in normal economic explanation, a general will to fail. An economy not for widows and orphans, literally too.

  14. agricola
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    All you say is true. The one you fail to mention is airlines, particularly the short haul , low cost holiday airlines. Aircraft are a liability on the ground. The aircrew and maintenance staff are highly skilled and cannot be plucked from trees if let go, so they specifically need financial support.

    One good sign is that Greece is opening for holidays very soon. What this will do to the airspace over Greece I can only guess at. The next in line is Spain. can I suggest that the two governments talk to get this operational asap. Just make sure any holiday makers know the rules of behaviour before they get airborne.

    • jerry
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      @agricola; I expect movement in the price of aircraft grade scrap metal, as is normal when ever their is a glut….

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      Well given that aircraft brought in the damn virus, and weren’t exactly falling over themselves to check and quarantine their customers, this industry has a price to pay. Like the banks before, they didn’t make any checks on the suitability of their customers to use their product.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      It’s alright going on holiday but it’s the quarantining when you get back that’s the difficulty especially if you are employed and expected to go back to work afterwards.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted May 13, 2020 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        And which countries do you think will accept people from this, one of the most infected countries in the world, without quarantine too?

        • Anonymous
          Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

          Doubtless many will still want to come here though !

    • Len Peel
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      The opening up is for holidaymakers from the EU. Not Brits. It’s what you voted for!

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted May 13, 2020 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

        Yes, from countries which have effectively suppressed the contagion.

        • Fred H
          Posted May 13, 2020 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

          but it seems to have hidden and reappeared from nowhere!

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted May 13, 2020 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

            Yes, it will, since there are some asymptomatic infected people.

            But as S. Korea etc. have shown, the contacts of a few people can easily be accommodated in isolation units, and the numbers ever dwindle on average.

            You seem to want them to fail.


          • Fred H
            Posted May 14, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink

            You bristle when anyone suggests and shows EVIDENCE that perhaps these wonderful examples are not quite what they seem. In fact it is you who delights in painting a terrifying pictute of mass contagion deaths reaching hundreds of thousands.
            The BBC needs you!

        • NickC
          Posted May 13, 2020 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

          Martin, You mean like Germany?

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted May 14, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

            Everyone is learning.

            But some are acting properly on those lessons while this country ignores them.

  15. jerry
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    Please, when cafes and bars etc are allowed to reopening for on-site consumption, if they can maintain correct social distancing inside fine, if they have a garden or their own forecourt and can do the same fine, but there should be no return to ‘pavement culture’, this space will be needed for all those walking and cyclists (in some locations) to maintain correct distancing when passing.

    • jerry
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      The fact is some sectors can’t simply bounce back and might never recover, people need to start looking looking forward and embrace the new-order rather than harking back to what has gone (certainly until this virus can be effectively treated or by some miracle simply dies its own death), and it’s not as if we haven’t been here before both socially and economically; businesses, whole industries, even communities have failed or become outdated in the past but for every door that shuts another opens, it was true then and it is true today.

      The govt should identify industries and their products where it is either essential or ideal that their design & manufacture should located here in the UK (certain PPE is an obvious example, as is the support industries for building and maintaining our defence equipment), grants should be available for setting up, expanding or retraining, along with changes to planning and UBR, to encourage such enterprise, rather than the govt simply borrowing to prop up untenable, at least for now, businesses and their employees via job retention schemes.

      Then of course there is agriculture … with migrant labour either stuck in their own country or scared off by silly rhetoric, and perhaps unreliable perishable deliveries from abroad, there is going to be plenty of work, both permanent and seasonal, available for our youth and young adults, growing and then bringing in the harvests, some will no doubt find an unexpected high-tech career either directly on the farm or in the many support industries!

    • Andy
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      Exactly the opposite. Let’s bring our cafes out on to the pavements this summer.

      Posted May 13, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      Look, let’s just demolish everything. Some clot is in power. Let’s go to somewhere else in the world and rebuild it again. We could call it New England?

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:25 pm | Permalink


    • Roy Grainger
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      Cyclists aren’t supposed to cycle on the pavements though you would never know it.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 13, 2020 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

        we got shouted at by a lycra stretched male when we hadn’t leapt out of his way on a narrow pavement. After a short exchange becoming a little blue, I told him to get on the bloody road, to which he replied its too bloody dangerous!

        • Ian@Barkham
          Posted May 13, 2020 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

          You must live in Wokingham. I have met that cyclist, I was shouted at to get off the efin footpath. Wokingham Council hates the pedestrians

          • Fred H
            Posted May 14, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

            Ian – -not Wokingham itself but west and north. Being a lycra wearing would be ‘ green jersey’ type, he must get about a bit.

      • jerry
        Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

        @Roy Grainger; “Cyclists aren’t supposed to cycle on the pavements”

        That depends on the by-laws, you would be amazed just were my useless, and sorry to say, at the time, Tory council decided to allow cyclists free reign.

        My local pedestrianised zone allows cyclists (it used to allow deliveries and cars with ‘Blue Badge permits’ before some council council committee wasted our taxes laying a new off-white coloured stone surface that no one wanted, including the majority of councillors…), the cyclists are not been the problem but the badly positioned street furniture and the ever encroaching ‘pavement culture’ from the coffee shops etc. is, and with the 2m rule it will get worse is table and chairs are allowed.

  16. Mike Wroe
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    Why can’t the pubs bars and restaurants open at different times for different age groups? As a retired 70 year old I would like to be able to take my wife for a pub lunch Monday to Friday. Young adults will be working and unlikely to want to do the same. Saturday and Sunday lunchtimes can be for families who sit together. Younger adults would like to socialise with their age groups later in the evening. They should be able to mix without social distancing as they are low risk. This could work until we can return to normality.

    • jerry
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      @Mike Wroe; “Younger adults would like to socialise with their age groups later in the evening. They should be able to mix without social distancing as they are low risk.”

      Oh for pithy sake! No one is low risk, especially in an enclosed space, anyone can catch CV19, anyone can be asymptomatic, in fact the young someone is the far more likely they are to be just that – and what of your 18-25 year old youth, out on a Friday night, still living within their family household group.

      • NickC
        Posted May 13, 2020 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

        Jerry, You have assumed Mike Wroe meant “low risk” of infection. In the context I believe he meant low risk of serious illness or death.

        • jerry
          Posted May 14, 2020 at 11:16 am | Permalink

          @NickC; No, you are the one making assumptions. There is no “low” risk of CV19 infection because until infected there is no way of knowing if someone will suffer complications that will put them on a ventilator in ICU, and the idea of shielding all those with underlying issues is a non-starter, many people walk the street for years without knowing they have underlying health issues.

          The WHO is correct (today), until treatment or a vaccine is found, CV19 is likely to be akin to how HIV changed how society functioned, except in the case of CV19 it will also changed how we work and do business too.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      Mike I think that is a good idea and therefore won’t happen.

    • Christine
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      The only thing that has kept many town centres viable over the last few years has been the pub and café culture. To allow this to reopen we should look to provide more outdoor seating by making areas pedestrian only. Chairs and tables can spread into the street to allow the required social distancing.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

        We can do that as soon as Boris changes the climate completely and we have little rain or wind and a lot more sun! Couple of weeks do you think?

      • jerry
        Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

        @Christine; The only thing that has kept many town centres viable over the last few years has been decent vehicle access and free parking scheme. Even in my Town Centre, with such a scheme and all its tourist visitors and attractions the large multinational fast food and coffee shop chains have shut-up shop on the “High Street” to move to the edge of town retail parks. Most of the privately owned cafes that are left seem to be owned by businesses that also have some other commercial outlet, such as off-site event catering. Most of the pubs were surviving by offering big screen Sky and BT Sports events…

    • Capt Hook
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      I know, let’s turn England into a pantomime

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Mike, I was having this conversation with my parents, younger people are often asymptomatic carrying the virus but not ill, anyone serving you in that restaurant, the cooks, pot washers, glass handlers could pass the virus on, when you go the the toilet in the restaurant just opening the door handles or pulling out a chair if it’s true it lives on surfaces for up to three days is a risk. Living with this virus risk is going to have to just be something we have to learn how to do without a vaccine.

      What we need is more information the people catching this virus now this last week, how did they catch it? Especially if they’ve been at home isolated.

  17. 1944 soon
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Our country will not get out of furlough, an odd expression for State-led national strike against itself. Not this year, in real terms. Winter viruses could well unite with coronavirus in October making it Red October politically just as furlough is hoped to end. Even the young will have time off work. A most bleak Christmas. It would be hyperbole to suggest the worst and unhappiest Christmas since 1944. But for most who cannot remember 1944 it will be their 1944.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      You would assume all the social distancing measures will supress flu too.

    • Ed M
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      Let’s do the best we can to get the economy back up and running. Can’t do more. Just have to be philosophical about it that no matter how well we do, our economy will still take a hit one degree to another.
      But there are positives to this virus as well. People spending more better time with each other. Being generally nicer. Pollution levels disappearing. Appreciating things more. Etc.

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      I read a report that lock-down is the worst thing you can do with this virus. It ensures that only the nastiest strain survives and emerges once we come out.

      CV-19 could be with us for years.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted May 13, 2020 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

        “Us” being the British. And the US.

        But probably not necessarily many other nations.

        • Fred H
          Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

          King Canute rules, eh?

        • Anonymous
          Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

          You’re mistaken if you think it is going to disappear elsewhere.

          Until there is a vaccine (which may be some time never) all nations will be operating duck-and-cover and sealed borders (which we have still not done !)

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted May 14, 2020 at 7:23 am | Permalink

            No, but absolutes are not necessary.

            What is needed is to suppress it to such a low level, and coupled with rigorous vigilance, that the few cases which spring up can be prevented from starting a new major outbreak.

            That is what sensible countries are doing, and it enables normal life to resume.

            For EVERYONE.

        • NickC
          Posted May 13, 2020 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

          This is not a pissing contest, Martin, and you are seriously wrong to try and make it one. Yet even your claims are incorrect: the USA is better than many countries in the EU.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted May 14, 2020 at 7:24 am | Permalink

            No, it is about creating the safe conditions so that EVERYONE, the elderly included, can live a normal life.

            Your lot simply don’t care.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      Yes – the obesity epidemic will soon be just a memory too.

  18. NickC
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    We have neither a cure nor a vaccine. So lifting the lockdown, however tentatively, will result in an increase in the rate of infections. As Germany is so graphically demonstrating.

    That means there will have to be a balance. And that balance will have to be adjusted carefully to keep the infections and deaths at a level that enables the best care possible. And that of course means herd immunity is the goal.

    If we have a c50% infection rate already, as some outliers claim, then herd immunity will come quite quickly. However if infection levels are around 15% of the UK population, then it will take months to develop significant herd immunity.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      It’s tiny. A few percent at most, according to most studies. NYC may be higher.

      You’re implying hundreds of thousands of dead.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted May 13, 2020 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

        Martin in Cardiff,

        How many lives saved do you think justifies the future health effects of the socio-economic damage of the lockdown policy followed?

      • zorro
        Posted May 13, 2020 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

        Really? Quote the ‘most studies’ please. This disease has been around longer than January for sure. I had it in October having come back from Vietnam/China. If you are saying only a few percents have had it, it’s hardly virulent, is it?


      • NickC
        Posted May 13, 2020 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

        Martin, Covid19 is a killer, or didn’t you know? Without a cure, or a vaccine, or “herd immunity”, the deaths will occur anyway. No lockdown, or testing, regime short of a totalitarian society will make those deaths go away. As Germany demonstrates.

        I think there is a way out – herd immunity – you don’t. Herd immunity saves lives. But you think the epidemiologists are making it up. So you’re the one implying hundreds of thousands of dead, not me.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted May 14, 2020 at 7:25 am | Permalink

          We’re not cattle, not a “herd”.

          It is telling that your government refers to us in that way.

          We are being farmed.

          • M Brandreth- Jones
            Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

            This terminology has been used for decades and applies to all notifiable and non notifiable diseases , for example , diptheria, tetanus, polio, meningitis B&C,( AWY), haemophilus influenza, hepatitis ABC , Measles, Mumps, rubella ,Varicella, Variola pneumococcal pneumonia ad infinitum .. and is nothing to do with being framed .

    • Caterpillar
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      The balance is clear. The economic effect of the lockdown will cost more life years than the virus. Solving inequality/poverty would gain as many life years as the worst case predictions from coronovirus in under two years. Once the Govt became ‘interested’ in lives it could have directed efforts differently and enabled resources to redirect.

  19. Stred
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    A Dutch restaurant has overcome the problem by putting tables in a little greenhouse and serving hot food on an oar. The alcohol content in beer and wine is not concentrated enough to kill the virus but drinks could be served in washed bottles and cans. Whether customers would want to have a meal or drink in a separate greenhouse is another problem. Personally, I would prefer it rather than be sat next to some trendy mothers with screaming children.

    • jerry
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      @Stred; Eating in a green house, try doing that at lunchtime, even during the winter, might as well serve the meal in a sauna…

      Publicity stunts for the MSM are no solution!

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      In Amsterdam, greenhouses are ideal for optimising consumption of a customary local product.

  20. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Well, John, it’s pretty basic.

    Stamp out the contagion, as have done a growing list of countries such as New Zealand, and then there’s no problem in ending any of the measures is there? There will have to remain in place facilities for very close vigilance, testing, tracing, and isolation of the sporadic cases which arise, but that is not economically devastating.

    Your government have dragged their feet from the start over everything, and here we are.

    However big the task, as warned by Italy and other countries, it now has to play catch up.

    But catch up it must.

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      Here we go again. New Zealand.

      Tiny population – size of England. Not much in they way of multiculturalism and a closed border. Easy peasy !

      We averted the collapse of the health system that happened in Italy. We do not have those scenes here.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted May 14, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

        How about China, with 1.4 billion then?

        Or Greece, or Germany, or S. Korea?

        They have only a tiny fraction of the UK’s appalling tally.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 14, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink

        Population of NZ – approx 5m – spread out thinly. No mass transport, few hospitals/care homes. Little close proximity manufacturing. Few tourists – and they are mostly ‘self isolating’ anyway using rented campervans.

        And Martin tries to compare ‘success’ to the UK.

        • Fred H
          Posted May 14, 2020 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

          I forgot to add: One in Ten of the population is considered to live in poverty. However, (and unfortunately) theft from tourists is a relatively common occurrence. Most theft happens from break-ins of parked vehicles.

    • NickC
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

      Martin, If the government had locked down our borders when New Zealand did on 19 March, our infection rate would have been very much lower too. Did you call for that back then, or did you sneer at “xenophobes” instead, like others in the establishment and MSM?

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted May 14, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

        Since when did a government with a Commons majority of eighty care what I thought? And I did think that strict controls on those entering was necessary anyway.

        They ignored the pleadings from Italy not to make the same mistakes.

        They own that decision 100%.

        • Fred H
          Posted May 14, 2020 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

          I know it will be tough to take Martin, but I suspect most of the country don’t give a fig about what you or I think and write here. It is what it is – a normal Government under-equipped to manage anything even slightly testing. So given the inaction, followed by the ‘science-led’ claptrap, they now rotate fall-persons to try to convey certainty over wild guesswork covering up weeks of incompetence. The leaders of industry, or what gets left of it, will be expected to lead us to the promised land.

  21. Roy Grainger
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    I see as expected some teachers don’t want to go back to work at all. They should be furloughed on reduced pay to bring them into line with private sector workers. Actually most schools have remained open for keyworker and at-risk children and many teachers and support staff have been working throughout the lockdown, the very limited school opening that is proposed before the summer holidays is little different.

    • Christine
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Summer holidays should be cancelled. Our children need to catch up with their education.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 14, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

        what holidays? – – most kids are having them early – – NOW.

        – AGREED – why pretend.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      In Australia a relative is paid good money to sit alone in a classroom all day “marking” and writing “reports”. He is bored out of his mind!
      Meanwhile keyworkers’ children are being educated by supply teachers! (Saves them going on the dole.)

  22. Stred
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    This new Chancellor of the Exchequer seems to enjoy spending vast amounts of other people’s money and enjoy the popularity. He has made sitting at home doing nothing, going for long walks and bike rides, sitting in the sun with a drink, playing with a computer, avoiding having to go shopping with the wife, avoiding seeing relatives that you don’t like, taking a part time job or quietly working for your old boss- profitable and charged to the taxpayer.

    Not surprisingly, Posh Alok didn’t bother to answer the question yesterday when asked how businesses were going to pay for it. Watching him avoiding any awkward questions while paying tribute and repeating government health warnings is very entertaining. We were rolling around laughing .

  23. Adam
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Consumer demand dictates what buys and sells. Even the most technical industrial business-to-business equipment exists only if end-using consumers want or need what it produces.

    Whereas pent-up demand from the lockdown may pull a rush of sales & increased prices needed by cash-poor businesses to help them survive, cash-poor consumers will similarly be limited in ability to pay. Values vary. Consumers doing without shrivels many businesses.

    Govt borrowing to furlough employees helps postpone loss of jobs. Requiring businesses to share the longer-term cost of furlough to avoid accelerating Govt debt might be only cosmetic. Borrowing has to be repaid by someone. Govt, business and consumers are all increasing their costs of existence. Increasing tax on shrunken remains repays near nothing.

  24. Alec
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    And like all government schemes it actually picks winners and losers. Those that don’t fit the criteria lose out as usual. A Conservative government has succeeded in creating a command economy with less freedom that Soviet Bloc states in the 1950s. What an achievement. I wonder what will come next? RFID chips? Compulsory vaccinations enforced by removal of benefits for non compliance as is happening in America right now? Roadblocks to check your papers when you drive out of town?

    • IanT
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      If you have any better solutions Alec – let’s hear them.
      It’s easy to criticise – much harder to come up with workable solutions that suit every situation…

      • Mark B
        Posted May 14, 2020 at 6:11 am | Permalink

        Alternatively, why don’t you follow your own advice !

    • Everhopeful
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      I reckon you are right on the vacs! Of course! Untried,untested,unlikely to work but you’ll get it!
      And that just might be the time in my life when any dr has taken the slightest bit of interest in me and mine! ( oh ..there was a letter once when they wanted to strike me off the list because I had not been to surgery for three years! I’d been well…and was “saving” the NHS ( clap, clap).
      As I said in my post…they are already planning how to tax the pants off us.
      Biggest heist in history…and we always believe them!

    • Man of Kent
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      Agreed Alec .

      Everything is now done through government or quangos leaving all of us to make the most that we can of government regulations.

      Why does Public Health England still have so much clout having failed so miserably to achieve an adequate contingency plan ?
      There is no science to follow as Matt Ridley points out in the Spectator ,we do not know how Covid 19 is transmitted, mainly breath or touch ? Do children pass it on without getting sick ? Why are obese people at high risk ? Why is it not exploding in India and Africa ? Will there be a second wave ?
      Yet we are supposed to be following their Science

      In the last week two American relatives have each received a cheque for $1200.00 as a stimulus payment to help get the economy going . These payments went to all Americans who filed a tax return in 2018/19.
      How refreshing to give people back their own money to spend as they wish on their own priorities rather than have government choose their priorities with inevitable ‘winners and losers ‘

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      They tend mainly (almost exclusively) to pick losers. They tend to pick them for political reasons rather than rational reasons. HS2 and the insane net carbon neutral lunacy as clear examples.

      Boris still supporting this insane job destroying and job exporting agenda. Just exporting the CO2 emissions too even if you are a “believer”.

      Boris was asked about the 10,000 unexplained extra deaths in April by Starmer. Reply came their none. Boris they were almost certainly all Covid caused or accelerated by covid what else. Would he rather say they were caused by lack of other NHS care that has failed the public. They clearly were not in fact, so why not just admit the truth.

      • NickC
        Posted May 13, 2020 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic, Some of the “extra” deaths have probably been caused by vulnerable patients prematurely dying as a consequence of: not receiving adequate medical attention due to the lockdown itself; and, by the diversion of doctors to cope with the covid19 caseload.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 14, 2020 at 4:27 am | Permalink


    • Roy Grainger
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Well it is hard, “Why won’t the government speak to us like adults ?” demand the media and then when they do with a very slight suggestion people should use common sense they wail “Waaaah ! It’s confusing ! We don’t understand !”. The fact that the centralised command economy way of organising has quite obviously failed dismally in the NHS doesn’t seem to have occurred to them – they want to be spoon fed.

  25. Ian Wragg
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Many people will be happy to stay furloughed. 80% of wages no child care or transport costs, whats not to like.
    The 2 metre rule must go, it has negligible impact according to many scientists and will prevent many small businesses from operating.
    Let’s get back to normal asap. Oh, and the 2 week quarantine after a flight is nonsense and will be impossible to police.

  26. Kevin
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    “a workforce…who are banned from working by law”

    Owing to the new pubic health situation or policies, some individuals may be at risk of losing the means by which they have been accustomed to making a living. I would like to see the Government adopt policies designed to protect such people as they attempt to transfer to one of the surviving industries, with the latter offering them retraining in exchange for obtaining the benefit of their valuable experience, discipline and general work ethic.

    What I would not like to see is for the surviving industries to be free to scour the globe for people who already have specific training and experience, taking those people away from their domestic economies to work in ours, while Britain’s COVID-19 economic “losers” are left to languish.

    • Kevin
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      Erratum: “public” health, obviously. What a typo!

      • Fred H
        Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

        thanks for the laugh.

    • NickC
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

      Kevin, You are spot on here. The claim that a nation of 66 million (probably c75 million) hasn’t got enough, or the right, indigenous labour is preposterous.

  27. George Brooks.
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    From a standing start the government has done a brilliant job and the road map out of the pandemic will unfold slowly as we test the effect of each move towards restoring a normal life.

    One of the most trying aspects of this next phase will be having to put up with, what Guido Faulks describes as ”Gotcha journalism” and a host of bloody silly ‘what if’ questions dreamed up by the editors and fuelled by 20:20 hind sight. If only the media could stick to reporting news instead of concocting far fetched fairy stories.

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:44 pm | Permalink


      I just wished they’d closed the airports and turned back the boats. Note the BBC aren’t complaining about that.

    Posted May 13, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    In typical Treasury fashion, the Chancellor has been presented with options for raising taxes; with the leaked paper advising reliance on increasing income tax, National Insurance, VAT or corporation tax, or reform of pensions tax. Will Rishi want to go down in history as the top Tory tax-hiker?..Guido

    This is what decent, independent, not-State people get when they vote for Tory Socialism. Protect the political State and their privileged, unionised public sector while smashing into oblivion the non-dependent private sector and the wealth creating, tax generating sector of this nation’s economy

    The above is a visible admission that the Tory party is without principle. They will pander to the unions and State bureaucracy and betray those who pay the bills. They behave like this because they can. The private sector has zero political influence

    Johnson. Who is he? He is the architect of a future that will be bleak and dystopian. This project started in 1997 and both parties are complicit in its roll out

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

      The teachers next door should be snowed under with on-line lessons but seem to be out in the garden with their kids all day long.

      No wonder the teaching Union feels confident it can get support for not going back.

    • NickC
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

      Dominic, Correct. The Johnson government can get us out of this mess only by trusting the people. Get off our backs. Simplify. Stop “picking winners”. Don’t bother with “trade” deals – the benefits are tiny but the (hidden) costs are high. What Johnson must ask is “does the government really need to do this?”. And the answer is usually – No.

  29. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Indeed, if business is not permitted to open then grants are the only reasonable way.

    But we also need to encourage ingenuity – pubs to take aways etc. Necessity is the Mother of invention, and at some stage time has to be called on these schemes for jobs which aren’t coming back. There’s no point in supporting jobs through the summer only for the employee to be made redundant at the end of the scheme. Better that they spend time now finding another job than are suspended in aspic until October, only to be let go then.

  30. Everhopeful
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    I see that the dear govt is discussing how to tax the shirts off our backs to pay for their terrible virus. So they know it is over then? So why isn’t everything open ….today?
    Why discuss how to pay for their crisis when they are not sure whether they have defeated the enemy? Surely all efforts should go towards ending the war?

  31. Sea Warrior
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Well, the Kent golf course I sometimes refer to here is re-opening today. (It should never have closed.) That will get some staff off furlough. But the spacious club-house remains closed. So I guess that the spacious outdoors patio, with socially-distanced tables big enough to allow patrons to socially-distance, won’t see anyone drinking a pint and having a bar-snack anytime soon. So the opportunity to bring more people off the state’s payroll and onto the business’s has been missed. To repeat a line from yesterday: the government is attempting brain-surgery with a chainsaw.

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 14, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      To be honest that golf courses are re-open and other leisure pursuits and furloughed workers are now free to ‘risk their lives’ going out each day amongst each other but couldn’t possibly work because of the risk will start to really grate on those stuck inside their homes working and going into dangerous situations every day working.

      The more the government opens to people being paid to ‘stay at home’ the fewer people will want to work. I’ve already had people ask ‘how is this fair’ I’m working full time for just 20% more pay it’s not worth it. I just explain well you don’t work for the public sector that doesn’t have to worry about where the money and turnover is coming from for their lack of service to their customers.

  32. John E
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    The proposals on quarantining those arriving by air are problematic when it comes to restarting the economy. Airlines and companies like Rolls-Royce are in deep trouble if no-one flies. Because as Michael O’Leary (of whom I am no fan) says, people will either not fly or ignore the self quaranting when they arrive.

    Also industry needs expert technical support when things go wrong. You will be surprised how much we rely on engineers who fly in for the day to fix problems and then fly out. It’s not one way traffic either, I know companies that deliberately base themselves close to Gatwick and Heathrow so that their engineers can provide same-day support customers in Western Europe.

    Then M. Macron says he will make the arrangements reciprocal so if French people can’t fly here then we can’t fly there. And as we have one of the worst outbreaks anywhere in the world we hardly occupy the high moral or viral ground.

    So I suggest we must abandon our island model and think in terms of bubbles of allowed travel. In the way that New Zealand and Australia are opening themselves to travel between their countries we need to define our allowed bubble, perhaps allowing European travel between ourselves and the Schengen area countries, initially for business purposes only, and gradually for leisure reasons.

  33. alastair harris
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    I’m not furloughed but I am on half hours. I have made use of the mortgage payment holiday offer which lasts for 3 months. Given that I am likely to be on half pay for longer than 3 months it would be good to see an extension to this scheme. But nothing mentioned yet!

  34. Christine
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Those on furlough should not be allowed to accrue annual leave otherwise it will put a huge burden on companies if they have to pay a further six weeks’ pay once an employee returns to work.

  35. Alan Jutson
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Pleased that there is now going to be some flexibility, and that the employers are going to have to accept some responsibility.

    Seems sensible to start with some part time work, as business will take some time to get moving again after a full stop.

    Will never suit every situation but then nothing ever does, or will, no matter how flexible the rules.

  36. Mike Stallard
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    I am bothered about this.
    The corona is still around lurking in some people’s homes, Care Homes and in the red areas of hospitals. It will remain there, of course, until it is got rid of.
    But how can this happen? Why should it disappear?
    So when any lock down is lifted, it will burst forth like sparks in the stubble causing local blazes which, as people socialise together in schools, restaurants, transport and in parliament, is just what corona wants.
    Until we get a cure or a vaccine, this is what the future looks like.

    • NickC
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

      Mike S, Yes, that’s just what I’ve been saying too.

  37. Caterpillar
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    The Govt is doing too much for too long, it has stopped the pre-CV economy functioning, but then keeps resources tied to it to stop adjustment to a post-CV economy. The only way for the wishful thinking of a V shaped recovery would have been to completely exit lockdown now. The Govt has now confirmed that it will not allow the environment for the hoped for V- shaped recovery. What does this mean? The first thing that needs to be restated and the Govt needs to learn and understand is that the economic effect on lives (hence quality of life and life expectancy) will be significant. I will state again what I stated months ago, it took a decade to recover GDP per capita after the GFC, this came at a cost of 1 or 2 years of expected increase in life expectancy, such a cost is far bigger than even the worst forecasts for covid19 and was the obvious balance at the beginning. The escalation of commitment by the Govt to the wrong path can only make this worse – the UK is in real danger of a Venezuela like collapse or worse (except with fewer physical resources, higher population density, older population).

    I am sure many contributors will feel like banging their heads against the wall for different reasons, I do. For the sake of cathartic release I’ll repeat earlier random rants:

    1) Publish the current real risks of dying if infected by age group with and without pre-existing condition.
    2) Immediately dump furlough, grants etc. and switch to UBI – this gives similar safety net to all (reducing risk to life expectancy) and supports economic adjustment – resource mobility and innovation are not blocked.
    3) Use testing and indications of illness strategically to maximize economic return per increase in R (slow and false negative test affect R, false positives affect economy).
    4) Give real and urgent consideration to intentionally intradermally (to reduce pulmonary risk) infecting the healthy and use plasma from the vast majority who will recover to treat those who struggle. (Get an appraisal done now and rapidly; vaccination may not work and virus will evolve – think carefully how flattening the curve can bias the virus evolution).
    5) Just open the economy and save other lives instead (ban smoking 100k to 150k lives per year, build the muscle mass of the over 50s for physical mobility …)
    6) Become useful employer of last resort – pick the crops, clean the country, build and drive more buses with fewer seats, implement health screening at airports, teach etc.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      Typo –

      Natural and agricultural resources nkt ‘physical’

    • Caterpillar
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      As I am in a repeating mood, three parts to funding UBI

      1) money creation (national dividend) – part of mometary policy
      2) progressive consumption tax (increase VAT and give back equally i.e. redistribution based on consumption)
      3) carbon tax with dividend and border adjustment (keep the green brigade happy, international level playing field)

      Tying the two tax elements to a UBI for all which allows economic readjustment and reduces the inevitable loss in gain of life expectancy is far, far more sensible than a future of taxes to cover furlough, grants and the economic destruction currently tsking place at the hands of Sunak, Hancock and Johnson.

      Aside:- if state pensions are further randomly attacked then replace triple lock with tie to nominal GDP per capita.

  38. Polly
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Why isn’t the NHS allowing the use of potentially life saving drugs on all coronavirus patients ?

    Maybe you saw the BBC documentary about Stanley who was being treated in the Royal Free Hospital, London for coronavirus ?

    Stanley very sadly and tragically died after a long and brave fight against the virus.

    The awful story appears here in the Daily Mail….

    Nowhere in the story is any treatment mentioned other than oxygen.

    So my question is…

    Why wasn’t Stanley apparently being treated with a re-purposed anti viral drug such as Remdesivir or Bemcentinib ?

    Bemcentinib is being trialed in the UK as explained here…..

    The point is that as Bemcentinib is available, why isn’t it being used in emergency life or death situations such as that of Stanley outside the official trials ?

    Why was Stanley, and no doubt thousands of other patients, apparently excluded from receiving potentially life saving drugs by the NHS ?


    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      They need to get the CV19 death rate up to justify trashing the future for everybody. State employees don’t realise this yet. They think their jobs and income and pensions are secure! Geez – there’s going to be some squealing.

      • M Brandreth- Jones
        Posted May 17, 2020 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        I this is so ,how do they deliberately get the death rate up?

        • M Brandreth- Jones
          Posted May 17, 2020 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

          sorry.. the hypothetical imperative should have read “If this is so , then……”

    • Christine
      Posted May 14, 2020 at 12:05 am | Permalink

      The Eastern Virginia Medical School has published a good COVID-19 MANAGEMENT PROTOCOL paper. It explains the best treatment for each stage of the virus.

    • NickC
      Posted May 14, 2020 at 12:07 am | Permalink

      Polly, You ask a very important question. NHS management seem determined to withhold possible treatments such as hydroxychloroquine and remdesivir, on the basis that they have not been proved in double blind trials. They seem to have no appreciation of the urgency. Dying people should be given the choice.

      JR, Please could you ask a question about this?

      • VCR1
        Posted May 14, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

        hydroxychloroquine cures this in 24 hours according to whistleblowing doctors. The NHS seems to take delight in withholding life-saving treatment especially cancer treatment for children who have to go to some third world country like Turkey to be saved.

    • Stred
      Posted May 14, 2020 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      They practice defensive medicine. If they try a drug which is not approved through the slow system and the patient dies or injured, then the army of ambulance chaser law firms will sue. If the patient dies with conventional treatment the NHS is in the clear.

      • ed2
        Posted May 14, 2020 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        I am told doctors in the USA are diagnosing ‘Covid 19’ patients as having high blood pressure so they can get around the ban on hydroxychloroquine.

  39. ian
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Gov sitting on the fence hoping for a miracle, CATCH 22.

  40. zorro
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    The social distancing rules are there to make sure that SMEs fail in massive numbers, surely that must be obvious by now, there is no real science behind the 2metre rule as non-government owned scientists have said…. The ‘rules’ make the SMEs inoperable and unprofitable and particularly on the small margins within which they operate. Only the big boys get special treatment. These ‘rules’ will stay under any pretext until these parts of the economy are thoroughly trashed.

    Your government lies. This current police state was supposed to have ‘protected the NHS'”. The truth is that it has never been in any danger, as potently expressed by the dancing videos to rub it in. The goalposts are now moving and social distancing will be enforced under penal economic servitude until they make you take the vaccine so that you can re-enter society.

    JR, do you love your Dear Leader, Kim Jong Al? It must warm the cockles of your heart that you support an extreme, authoritarian socialist government which has deliberately trashed the economy and laden us with horrific debt to comply with the Agenda 21/2030 grand plan.

    Well done!


  41. MWB
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Are we still paying £billions out in foreign aid, and are there any plans to reduce/stop this ?

    I already know the answers, and they are Yes and No.

    Thanks a lot Cameron.

    • glen cullen
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      Official Development Assistance Target Act 2015 (0.7% gross national income) is still in force…..This govt, with its majority, could repeal the Act at any time

  42. JoolsB
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    John, whilst England bore the brunt of the virus the English are being encouraged by the UK Government to go back to work which I think is the right approach despite their handling of the virus so far being a complete shambles. However those parts of the UK allowed their own parliaments to make their own decisions, have all decided to carry on with the lockdown. Could you please confirm who is going to pay for this? A non-answer from you will confirm it will be us mugs the English taxpayer picking up the tab as usual.

    • NickC
      Posted May 14, 2020 at 12:09 am | Permalink

      JoolsB, Yes it is unfair. But my direct information from the Scottish countryside is that the residents ignore Sturgeon.

      • Stred
        Posted May 14, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

        The Sturgeon show is at 12.30 every day for half an hour over the whole UK. My tele is switched off immediately before she starts telling us what her 5% is going to be ordered to do. The nation grid may notice that there is a dip in demand at 12.30.

  43. beresford
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    The biggest problem facing many hospitality businesses is toilet facilities. Usually there is a single entrance and no space to socially distance. Typically the lazy authority response would just be to shut all the toilets. We need an enterprising manufacturer to produce traditional Victorian hexagonal urinals (six stalls each separated by a wall) with a tank and a pump to periodically empty the contents into the sewer. Your local pub could put one of these outside and reserve the interior toilet for single occupancy ‘heavier’ use.

  44. Time Lord
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    “…no abrupt end to the furlough…”
    Oh there’s plenty of time. Being abrupt is rude

  45. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Your government is now suffering on the back of these misleading figures which are put out and Starmer is seen as a clinical clean operator.

    Why not be honest when mistakes are made and the figures aren’t worth the paper they’re written on?

    The three clear and leading errors were hesitating over lockdown while the chaps were enjoying themselves at Cheltenham, letting the NHS keep control of PPE supplies, and then not isolating care homes, their workers and visitors by law and quickly. Now the matter is being fudged with misleading figures.

    • NickC
      Posted May 14, 2020 at 12:16 am | Permalink

      Sir Joe, NHS management has been the stumbling block all the way through. The NHS management were useless at sourcing PPE; they refused to use outside testing labs – even universities where doctors are trained; they fuelled the initial panic (the “save the NHS” claptrap); they were instrumental in clearing patients back to care homes; they refuse to use outlier drugs even when people are dying; etc.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 14, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink


      • Stred
        Posted May 14, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

        Now they are being slow to separate the normal disease treatment from covid areas and infected staff, resulting in additional deaths in the pipeline because of delayed tests and operations. They built the Nightingale without sufficient staff and closed it instead of using it to separate covid from the other hospitals. In Spain, they have found that half their hospital staff have been infected. In UK they don’t even have regular tests for all hospital staff including cleaners, porters and cooks. The rates of infection are now caused by the NHS.

  46. Everhopeful
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    In this emergency crisis event…who sat around thinking up a whole new vocabulary to describe things?
    Who decided that military was the way to go?
    Virtue signalling rubbish …like those NHS/charity ads “battling” a disease “fighting” a disease, “beating” a disease etc.
    Utter nonsense.
    It is an unfortunate truth that disease and death are the price we pay for living.

    • Stred
      Posted May 14, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      The Nudge Unit. The Cabinet Office is crawling with them.

  47. Iain Gill
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    you could always sack the entire financial ombudsman service and electoral commission, the public need the money far more than spending it on those corrupt organisations.

  48. Ian
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Well there is something that might be even more important that this virus, which some say will burn its self out with more time, by us all being sensitive enough to use our common sense, take the precautions that we all know are working.

    More important than the above, our Democracy, countless millions gave there all, they had to, it was that or be enslaved by the Germans and Japanese, it was this sacrifice that we have just celibates .

    We must not put Our Democracy on the back shelf, just because we have voted for it and do not need to do anymore.
    Democricy must never be forgotten just because we have just voted to keep it.
    Those in power and those now out of power are still about there wicked ways, these are the Remainers, yes we have to face it, simply because they will not stop. The likes of T Blair’s
    T.May, just back from another chat with the anti Democratic EU, worse than that is our new PM.
    He is behaving also like a Remainer.
    He is not getting on with other 4 Eyes, the Canadians the Astrailians the US. And New Zealand .
    They are all aghast at what they see happening here again, after Our Election we all thought we had our precious Democricy back for good. It is not looking that way now.
    To start with the US is looking to take out all of there sensitive material, no doubt this will make the others do the same. This will reflect on our new free trade deals , our life long real friendships with these special people is in jeperdy.
    I know this is difficult to swallow, but look what Boris is doing against some of his best MPs.they can not help but be worried about the Chinese doing our 5 G, this is surely going to happen. Why would he do that ,why would he chose them and not other Western firms?
    HS2 he will not budge on that either ?
    It is a waste of money, we probably should go with the much faster 800 mph, frictionless tubes ? Stop listening to Brussels Broadcasts Mack up your own minds

  49. Bryan Harris
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    It’s been anounced in the Telegraph – So it must be true, that the Chancellor is planning huge tax increases to pay for the effects of this virus.

    Too many people are already taxed to the hilt, and we have a Tory government about to cripple us further.

    We all know the current tax system is a bag of unconnected bones and needs to be replaced, mainly because it has so many loop holes that allow the rich to escape being taxed.

    When are we going to get a tax system fit for purpose that doesn’t penalize hard work?

    It won’t just be the hard left rioting about having no life because they cannot afford to do anything but stay in door – BUT PERHAPS THIS IS THE INTENTION..!

    It really is time to cancel that vanity project HS2, and do what any normal organisation does at times of economic restrain – Lose some personal.


    • Ian@Barkham
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

      If all those that profit and share in the wealth of this Country contributed equally we would ALL be paying less.

      As you suggest the tax system is broken, and not fit for purpose . Unless it is addressed in quick time we will continue in purgatory

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 14, 2020 at 4:36 am | Permalink

      Increasing tax rates, from the current hugely over taxed position, will not raise more tax for the state to waste. Even if it did in the short term if just diminishes the tax base for next year and years after. Plus these businesses nearly all have their CV loans to repay too. The only solution less government, less red tape, easy hire and fire and cheap reliable energy. Landlords are, thanks to Hammond, even taxed on profits they are not making, how are they to sustain that for long?

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted May 14, 2020 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      Mr. Redwood, if I remember correctly, admitted when interviewed by Andrew Neill a few years ago that, since Cameron and Osborne took power in 2010 promising (as all politicians do) to simplify the tax system, the Tax Code had increased from a nominal 13000 pages to 18000 pages! I recall a promise that for every one new law, two laws would be repealed. Oh, and a bonfire of the QUANGOs! Was there ever a less effective PM? Yes, there was. Theresa May and her record on immigration and her ‘handling’ of Brexit.

      Now we have the terrible handling of this virus.

      And the reason you on here vote Tory is ……. ?

  50. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    There are a lot of influential people resisting the return to work. The Governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and the leaders of trade unions are among them. Len McClusky is more interested in ‘representing’ workers than doing any work himself.

    It’s high time that taxpayers’ interests were considered and that a cap was placed on Government borrowing. The Chancellor has made an error judgement in being so glib about extending furloughing to October. The State’s percentage contribution to furloughed workers’ wages should be steadily reduced in a tapered manner that is not dependent on the co-operation of businesses. And the Celtic devolved administrations should be told that the Barnett formula percentages on public expenditure differentials will not be exceeded, no matter what.

    Driving this morning from Hook to Basingstoke between 7.30 and 8.00, there was little traffic and not a single cyclist. Apparently, individual businesses have get a permit before resuming activity. Why? There are laws in place and fines available for punishing transgressors. It doesn’t need an employment scheme for bureaucrats.

  51. DrPeterVC
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Ironically it is local shops and high streets we need. The problem we have with out of town shopping complexes and mega stores is that it mixes people from far and wide. The pandemic may not have spread so quickly and widely if people had not got used to the idea of having to travel great distances to shop and to socialise.

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted May 14, 2020 at 5:56 am | Permalink


      Nice point – Open up more local stores – stop the spread of viruses and diseases… Great idea

  52. Piggy bank operative
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    “The chancellor has said it is “very likely” the UK is in a “significant recession”, as figures show the economy contracting at the fastest pace since the financial crisis.”

    I wonder if has anything to do somehow with not getting any work done.

    • NickC
      Posted May 14, 2020 at 12:20 am | Permalink

      Surely it can’t be as simple as that?

  53. Wide boy
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    The most concentrated place where one is not social distancing is in hospital.
    Getting out of furlough depends on the government being made aware of this fact then other facts, wider ones, of greater breadth, in all places of work will very slowly sink in.
    We shall await the government passing their exams usually meant for 5 year olds

  54. David Brown
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Right now the biggest critism of the government is focused on the message that has changed from a very simple on “Stay at Home” to a more vague one. There needs to be very urgent clarity focused on exactly what the new message is with some detail behind the head line.
    Away from the media there appears to be general approval of the government. However the early lack of action to this crisis will come back to haunt. There is also the thorny issue of paying for all this expenditure, clearly future tax cuts are out. The big question is traditional Conservative values that favour tax cuts v the blue collar areas that voted Conservative who dont want Public Sector austerity again especially any suggestion of it that could hit front line services. So the options are very limited, my guess is the PM is more leaning towards tax rises and this will not go down well with traditional MPs. If its a wealth tax it will be popular with orginary voters. A cut to the triple pension lock will alienate all pensioners and others. Very challenging balancing act especially as the Labour leader appears to be hitting the right target with his questions and approach. Interesting complex times that are not easily resolved by bullish actions because voters opinions have changed, and Brexit is a distant memory.

  55. Anonymous
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    The problem with restaurants doing take-aways is that the real take-aways are now struggling too. That market was already cornered. And they are all doing take-away style food. The Italian has become a Dominoes in effect. The French Bistro has become a coffee, cake and muffin take-away. The pub has become a bakery, to compete with the bakery… and on.

  56. a-tracy
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Business owners are now being told this is probably going to be going on until the end of October 2020, on 23/10/2020 that will possibly be seven months with no turnover for too many businesses. They have equipment loans and maintenance that still need repaying; rent or commercial mortgages to pay plus the management charges for the building; rates (not every business is on rates free); insurance for contents, employees liability, public liability, possibly commercial vehicles they can’t use plus those vehicles hire purchase/lease/contract hire/fixed term rental agreements; telephone and internet agreements, for Furloughed staff they have to accrue for holidays that are still adding up whilst people aren’t working – 1 day every 9 days off so 17 days at full wage rate in this 7 month period. Every month that goes by probable redundancy length increases redundancy costs and notice length goes up.

    Now there is talk businesses shouldn’t be able to make people redundant after furlough ends even though government and the MSExpert Martin Lewis were telling business this wasn’t the case and encouraging them to re-hire people that had resigned so they could still get furlough. If this is going to be the case government needs to make this clear now so businesses make the right decisions about protecting their business for those workers they will be able to employ and keep on.

    The longer this goes on the less chance closed down SMEs can recover, for every month that goes by add 10%.

  57. forthurst
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    The only way out of this mess is for the government to prioritise the elimination of COVID-19 from our country as soon as possible and prevent its re-introduction by land, sea or air. Reliance on an app which people have to download or an army of home-based tracers, even if they can be recruited, will not achieve the results that have been achieved in countries where the task has been carried through with single-mindedness, intelligence and zeal.

    There is nothing published which even suggests the government understands the problem, namely, that the country is beset by individual outbreaks within clusters, not an amorphous spread across the country. Some of these clusters are growing rapidly because of a failure of some people to address their own and other people’s safety. Only a hands on approach will achieve the results which are desperately needed by people and businesses such that some semblance of normal life, economic and social, can be enjoyed once again.

    It is now time for politicians to stop bloviating and get working in a coherent manner.

  58. MG
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    It does rather appear that we have now shifted to the European model, where nothing is allowed unless it is stated that it is, unlike the historic UK model where everything is allowed unless it is specifically stated that it isn’t. What a shame ?

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:48 pm | Permalink


    • Ian@Barkham
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

      That is subtle difference between a free people and controlled population . Or the ego and demonstration of power in the hands of a few that fear the people

    • Mark B
      Posted May 14, 2020 at 6:29 am | Permalink

      Agreed. But we need to start to push back.

  59. Nearside Forehand
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    Sir John,

    Could you kindly, for our benefit, address the manifestly clear disconnect between the data on Covid and the government’s narrative:
    1. R0 in the general population is now nearly zero, and had in fact begun to drop drastically before the lockdown, as the general population began to take its own common sense protective measures.
    2. The disease has been circulating for far longer than originally thought and has therefore spread far more than previously thought. Accordingly, fatality rates are much lower than official figures suggest and we are probably closer to immunity than we thought.
    3. The average age of death is about 80 and the disease presents little risk to the general population, or not sufficient risk as to warrant ANY further lockdown.
    4. There has been a catastrophic mismanagement of care homes which has exacerbated the death toll. The elevated death toll has nothing to do with the general population and the government should come clean on this matter, which is in fact sign of a different societal sickness (how we treat the elderly).
    5. The government and media are locked in a negative feedback loop of doom and gloom and we need an external hand to break this.
    6. The government is afraid to admit that it has severely damaged the economy through a drastic over-reaction. This is at some level understandable, but the sooner the government admits this, the more rapid the recovery, and the greater the potential to surpass earlier GDP (which was anyhow growing anaemically) due to positive momentum.

    I appreciate that as part of the governing party this is a little difficult. However, you are a patriot, and Boris is a good man who seems to have lost his nerve a little. He (and the country) just need a little prod in the right direction and this country can lead the world out of this wild over-reaction. There is a lot still to do and we need to get on with it.

    Many Thanks,
    Nearside Forehand

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      Boris is a good man …. ??? He trashed all our futures in a matter of months. Kept our borders open to illegals, trashed business contracts upon which gearing was carefully built, protects the state employees at any price – they may have their salaries frozen! Shock horror! While the private wealth creating sector lose their income and capital. Like the superrich who donate to charities in their control so that they spend their own tax on their preferred projects, I will ensure that I am never legally liable for tax again. The CEO of UK plc has to accept he is bust and he has to make his employees redundant – nurses, doctors, teachers, electoral commissioners, BBC etc etc etc.

      • APL
        Posted May 14, 2020 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        Lynn Atkinson: “The CEO of UK plc has to accept he is bust and he has to make his employees redundant – nurses, doctors, teachers, electoral commissioners, BBC etc etc etc.”

        Guess what Lynn. Since the NHS has cut back on all services in order to provide crisis care to COVID-19 victims ( actually, discharging them into care homes, thus killing hundreds unnecessarily ) – we appear to be able to muddle by without the NHS.

        Parents are homeschooling their children.

        And it’s better for your own mental health that you don’t listen to the BBC.

        It looks like we can do with out an awful lot of the State sector.

        • Fred H
          Posted May 14, 2020 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

          the thread started with Nearside making rather challenging points, then Lynn pointed out the horrors presided over by the all-promise-but-no-delivery Boris, and then APL correctly chimed in with valid suggestions to prune the State waste of space being met by the people.
          Others wish to close the Electoral Commission, sack the PHE, gradually nationalise the railways, close the H of L, decimate the H of C after relocating it to a small building in Birminham or similar. The Supreme Court ( I need a moment to stop laughing) should be disbanded, in fact the High Court members ought to be pruned to rather fewer than the 100 currently.

        • Started
          Posted May 14, 2020 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

          Parents are homeschooling their children.

          I was told by someone who won the contract to home school the entire French population that this was their plan. Why do they want the children at home?

          • APL
            Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

            “home school the entire French population that this was their plan.”

            Started: “These are two different things.”

            1) Parents spontaneously teaching their own children.

            2) The State ordering inspectors into citizens homes to ‘ensure’ parents are teaching their children.

            The latter is an obvious ploy to get state ‘inspectors’ into people’s homes.

    • Zorro
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      Good shot!


    • Anonymous
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

      And for goodness sakes, the Government needs to stand up for itself.

      It’s important to note:

      – no frontline NHS staff dealing with COVID-19 have died of COVID-19

      – the NHS staff who have, tragically, died of COVID-19 were not on COVID wards

      – the NHS staff fatalities owing to COVID-19 are in proportion with the wider population and there is no certainty where they contracted the disease, in hospital or outside.

      PPE may have been a problem (as it has been in all countries including Germany) but there was clearly enough to protect NHS staff.

      The health service has not collapsed as it has in Italy or Spain. The big failures are the mishandling of the economy and the trust put in an untrustworthy and unreliable epidemiologist.

    • NickC
      Posted May 14, 2020 at 12:32 am | Permalink

      Nearside, That is a remarkably fine analysis. Well done. You need to have a word with Martin in Cardiff, amongst others on here.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted May 14, 2020 at 6:04 am | Permalink

      To sensible and logical. Shows the gulf between being academically well educated in the arts and just being bright.

    • villaking
      Posted May 14, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      100% concur. Thank you

  60. Mike Wilson
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    Are the public sector helping by going on to 80% wages? Are MPs helping out by doing the same and forgoing pension contributions while the economy is in crisis?

    Thought not. Suffering is for the private sector.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted May 14, 2020 at 6:01 am | Permalink

      Aaah.. But you get to contribute to their wellbeing and ensure that their gold plated pensions, salary etc. stays ahead of the median in the private sector. Not forgetting their new demands as being essential means they want even more money.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 14, 2020 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      They could help to be inconveniencing the productive less and by doing something more or even slightly productive themselves perhaps?

  61. Ian
    Posted May 14, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Well done Lynn well said now talk about this PM deliberately going against the 5 Eyes,this will manifest its self in our lack of Free Trade with them, so why is he so positive with Chinese ?

  62. ed2
    Posted May 14, 2020 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    This novel coronavirus would have gone totally unnoticed they had not tested for an RNA sequence.

  63. ed2
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    yes I know I must be asymptomatic, which started of as 40% of people don’t show symptoms and now it’s up to about 95 percent in some quarters (as I predicted), because the emperor has no clothes.

  64. ed2
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    I think it important every single MP read this……

  • 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.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page