A world slump

The IMF forecasts for world output and incomes this year makes predictably poor reading. They foresee a fall of 4.9% in the world economy. It is only that modest because they think the world’s second largest economy, China, will perform much better than most , reporting growth of 1% despite its lock down and pandemic damage.

The US with a fall of 8% does considerably better than most of the European countries. Spain and Italy with bad outbreaks suffer the worst, losing a massive 12.8 % of their incomes. France does badly too, at 12.5%. The UK manages minus 10.2%, considerably better than the other large Europeans despite also having a bad attack. Only Germany does better, at minus 7.8%, thanks to a much less severe case of Covid 19  and the high capacity of its mixed public and private heath system.

The forecasts for the following year show a struggle to get back to where we started. The IMF expects the world to lose 6% of GDP over the two years, representing two years of  missing growth allied to a slow recovery to get us back to where we started.

These figures seem to show that Brexit is not a negative, with the Uk better placed than most of the continent. The US usually outperforms, partly because of the excellence of its digital companies and their ambitious growth plans.  All now hinges on governments managing the two big problems together. They have to relax enough to restore most economic activity, without allowing a major flare up in the disease. I will return to that difficult balance in a future post.

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  1. Leslie Singleton
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Dear Sir John–Wildly off topic, but reference the illegal, brainless and dangerous street parties, looks like Boris was absolutely right about the water canon and the vapid Mrs May as useless as ever.

    Posted June 26, 2020 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    I welcome a depression as it will force the authoritarian British political class to impose reform on the London-centric, parasitic, leeching, woke activist client state itself or collapse as indigenous working people wake up electorally and realise they have and or now been targeted as part of an appalling social experiment. Tyranny of minority rights activism is crushing our world in which freedom once reigned.

    Margaret Thatcher warned of the dangers of an all-powerful State and that fear is now becoming a reality as all private sector activity (both personal, sport, business and social) comes under the control of the woke State

    The contempt shown by Tory-Labour political construct for our being defies belief.

    So, an implosion of economic growth will help in some small way to force change on the the threat that is the British State. Less tax revenues means less State spending means less room for State vested interests to poison our world

    • a-tracy
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

      I used to think this sort of talk was hyperbolic you must be happy that our generous host allows you to share what are effectively attacks on the system so all is not lost for you, you still have your free speech. There is a silent majority but it is held back by politeness of not wanting to be seen saying The Emperor has no clothes, or stop this more divisive and is causing bigger rifts and creating fear.

      How can turning people against the police-force be sensible?
      How can a Head Teacher calling out lazy teachers be a suspend-able offence?
      How can big name performers and sports people saying buy goods from one skin type company only be sensible? They are creating discrimination!

  3. Nigl
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Good news. In view of the success of the German health system I look forward to your confirmation that is the direction ‘you’ will be taking the NHS. The current set up with the nonsensical approach to track and trace has caused people to die unnecessarily.

    I trust you will not be putting difficult politics ahead of people’s lives.

  4. Andy
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Brexit is a huge negative. This has been clear for at least four years and you have all chosen not to listen because you all know best.

    As the people who know best you showed the world your excellence with your Covid response which truly has been world beating on so many levels. All of them bad.

    • beresford
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

      If we ever actually leave the EU we will be able to test your theory. Yes, I know we’ve already left in name only…

    • Richard1
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

      The actual data do not of course support your claim on Brexit.

      You are repeating the projections of project fear rather than looking at what’s actually happened. Rather like the discredited professor who keeps assuring us that there would have been X million deaths from the Wuhan virus.

  5. Roy Grainger
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    And the accuracy of IMF forecasts ?

    “Only Germany does better, at minus 7.8%, thanks to a much less severe case of Covid 19 and the high capacity of its mixed public and private heath system.”

    We don’t know if either of those things is true – in particular the high “capacity” of their health system is surely an irrelevance given that the “capacity” of the NHS was never reached. Likewise their lockdown was only shortly before UK and the virus had been circulating there before UK. They gave up on mass testing early on too. I doubt anyone in the government, opposition, civil service, or NHS will be keen to investigate the real reasons Germany’s outcome was so much better.

  6. James Bertram
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    ‘They have to relax enough to restore most economic activity, without allowing a major flare up in the disease. I will return to that difficult balance in a future post.’

    It is not a difficult balance, Sir John. The Government’s response to Covid-19 has been stupidly unbalanced and totally out of proportion to the threat of this disease. An example: There are around 367,000 new cancer cases in the UK every year, that’s around 1,000 every day. Cancer diagnosis and treatment has largely been put on hold during this panic. Cutbacks to cancer treatment amid the coronavirus pandemic could cause 60,000 premature deaths warns Professor Karol Sikora.
    There will be no ‘second wave’. Just stop this nonsense now.

  7. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    China’s lock down was combined with very effective testing, tracing, and isolation in accordance with WHO guidance, and they have virtually eradicated the epidemic there. They are highly vigilant and responsive to the inevitable flare-ups too.

    The US and UK, along with Brazil etc. have completely failed on the other hand, and other European countries are playing catch-up.

    The real successes are in the developing world, e.g. in Africa, where the response has often been magnificent and highly effective, putting us to shame.

  8. margaret howard
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 7:45 am | Permalink


    “The UK manages minus 10.2%, considerably better than the other large Europeans.”

    Is that how you interpret the IMF’s forecast that:

    “The eurozone will probably shrink 10.2% in 2020 and expand 6% in 2021, the fund said”

    Doesn’t sound ‘considerably better’ to me.

  9. ukretired123
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Balancing sense and nonsense on these critical aims is difficult for western democracies but not for totalitarian countries like China who have crackdown not lockdown.

  10. Javelin
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Saw a commuter in a suit walking to the station for the first time today


    Having said that I expect the trains will only be able to take half the passengers. They are normally packed and one cancelled train makes the next two trains packed. You won’t be able to stagger journeys because they are packed from 6-10 already. If there is a winter return of covid it will be a year of working from home. At that point I don’t ever see London commuting returning to normal.

  11. Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    That 1% growth for China looks rather optimistic, considering all reports we hear about Western nations switching away from Chinese products to home grown ones.
    There is still the uproar over China’s involvement in 5G to be settled, and what will happen to the claims for compensation against China for unleashing CV?
    China will be the bull in the China-shop for the time being – They seem to have opened up fronts of conflict in too many different places: Taiwan, Hong Kong, India, Australia, the EU, the USA, for example, and they are determined to ‘protect’ their African interests.
    When you look at the vast resources of people in China, who would make up several massive armies, you have to wonder if China having achieved so much from internal growth, is now looking to consolidate it’s position by expanding it’s authority into more and more territory.

    The sleeping dragon has surely awoken. It clearly has it’s hands in many pies, but appears well capable of exerting pressure as required to increase it’s influence and gain what it wants.
    So, YES, China is a major political concern, and should we enter another lock-down, (Excluding terrorist rioters of course), the real threat from China will certainly become more apparent.

    • Fred H
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      Chinese walls now seems a rather inaccurate term!

  12. Everhopeful
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    The coming ( or here!) world slump was known about well before the virus.
    Imprisoning billions of people really didn’t help.
    China…has got off the most lightly ( but lost many of its markets).
    21st century belongs to China…the rest of the advanced and “WOKE”economies are going to Hell in a handcart.
    Well done!

    (Just to reiterate from yesterday….living in a Conservation Area is NO protection from inappropriate development! Personal experience).

  13. Peter van LEEUWEN
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    “These figures seem to show that Brexit is not a negative, with the Uk better placed than most of the continent”

    * The IMF puts the UK roughly in line with the earozone as a whole (including France Spain and Italy)
    * the economical effects of Brexit have not materialised yet (transition period) and are expected to be negative both for the Uk and the continent (in the short term).

    • APL
      Posted June 27, 2020 at 6:31 am | Permalink

      Peter van LEEUWEN: ” * the economical effects of Brexit have not materialised yet (transition period) and are expected to be negative both for the Uk and the continent (in the short term).”

      I think we can discount the effects of BREXIT entirely, now. As the three or five percent worst case impact on UK GDP pales into insignificance beside the negative 20% impact of our governments response to the COVID-19 fraud.

  14. Anonymous
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    China plus 1%

    The irony !

  15. bill brown
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Sir JR

    Interesting forecast and also so some interesting conclusions.
    There is no way either you , I or any forecasters at this stage how much of the negative growth or lack of positive growth is Covid and how much is Brexit.
    You are simple guessing at this stage

    • Edward2
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

      I reckon very soon you will be blaming Brexit for every negative outcome.
      Good to see you revealing you will be guessing very soon too.

      • bill brown
        Posted June 27, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

        Edward 2
        Silly remark.

        I am trying to say that guessing brings us nowhere. Maybe, you should read it again

        • Edward2
          Posted June 27, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

          Yet when forecasts suit your personal political beliefs you present them as gospel.

          • bill brown
            Posted June 27, 2020 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

            Edward 2

            thank you for a valuable contribution Constable, like the OECD report on Covid, yes I agree with you

          • Edward2
            Posted June 27, 2020 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

            You resort to abuse when confronted as expected.

  16. Adam
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    The IMF competes with Mystic Meg. Forecasters paid by results show more accuracy, but any well-reasoned estimate guides helpfully.

    Brexit empowers us with choice. It is the sense and ability of self-control that enable us to restore ourselves promptly and safely. We can and shall.

    • Posted June 26, 2020 at 9:37 pm | Permalink


    • bill brown
      Posted June 27, 2020 at 12:24 am | Permalink


      “to restore ourselves promptly and safely.” “We can and shall”

      Adam, what a load of non factual exclamations. Are you running for political office?

      • Adam
        Posted June 27, 2020 at 6:11 am | Permalink

        Each controls their own behaviour, starting with intent. Most seek better irrespective of politics.

  17. acorn
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    According to the European Social Survey (ESS), a pan-European poll carried out every two years, 56.8% of respondents in the UK indicated that they would vote to remain inside the bloc, an increase from 49.9% the last time the survey was published in 2018. The most recent survey shows that of those questioned in the UK, 34.9% said they would vote to leave and 8.3% said they would not vote at all.

    The latest survey of 26 countries, four of which are not member states, reveals an increase in support for EU membership, suggesting that speculation that other countries would quickly follow the UK to exit the union is possibly unfounded. Luke McGee, CNN.

    “Brexit had an early uptick in support among member states, but for most EU citizens, Brexit hasn’t been on their radar for a long time,” says Georgina Wright, an EU expert at the Institute for Government.

    • Fred H
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

      and did the ESS poll invite over 18s, UK citizen, living in the UK permanently to answer? Or was it available for all-comers?

    • Posted June 26, 2020 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

      This is the old Remainer argument, but we have voted to leave 6 times. Accept it!

  18. George Brooks.
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Ingenuity, flexibility and creativity will all come into play as we rebuild our economy and re-establish our position in the world. We will be free of the ”one size fits all” bureaucracy of the lumbering EU administration and able to trade throughout the world and create partnerships and trade deals of our choice.

    We have a government with a very reasonable spread of business experience and a decent majority who will be able to take full advantage of the opportunities that will arise. CV19 will have got the EU off our backs and not distract us from rebuilding the UK.

    We have huge opportunity right in front of us

    • bill brown
      Posted June 27, 2020 at 12:28 am | Permalink

      George Brooks

      Two observations

      1) We will have gottne Eu off our backs also without Covid
      2) We have been able to trade with all of the world all the time.
      3) Whatever experience the government has got, it did not help us during Covid, where their performance was one of the worst in Europe (OECD)

  19. Alan Jutson
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    I often wonder what the point is of all of these so called detailed forecasts and predictions.

    The fact is any government has to manage the economy as best it can, based on the facts at the time.

    It does not require an expert to predict that if the economy is shut down, then business will suffer a huge hit to their finances, and as a consequence, Government will suffer a huge hit to its tax take.

    Whilst measures are still changing, it is almost pointless to second guess anything.

  20. Richard1
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Clearly it would help the world economy all round to get more trade liberalisation. A good start would be a comprehensive FTA between the UK and the EU. Let’s hope the EU have the sense to see that with all the other problems it has, starting a trade war with the UK isn’t a good idea, and isn’t worth the political messaging.

  21. villaking
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Sir John, you have normally poured scorn on the predictions of such bodies as the IMF. As soon as they predict something like the UK doing slightly better than some (but notall) EU27 countries, you seize upon it as if it were fact and find some tenuous way to somehow claim it as a benefit of Brexit. This is about as absurd as stating that the UK is economy is forecast to fall by 10.2% as a consequence of Brexit. I think trying to link the relative (and speculative) economic impacts of Coronavirus and Brexit is laughable.

    Reply I remain sceptical of their forecasts, it it is very interesting given their usual bias

    • bill brown
      Posted June 27, 2020 at 12:30 am | Permalink

      Sir JR

      You still used the forecasters to substantiate your argument, so that reply is not worth the paper it is written on to villaking

      Reply I thought my critics believed these international bodies. They are not always wrong. If you so scorn my thoughts and views I suggest you move to other websites.

      • bill brown
        Posted June 27, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

        Sir JR

        I do not scorn your views and ideas, only some of the conclusions you draw on a meagre foundation

        • Edward2
          Posted June 27, 2020 at 10:51 am | Permalink

          Keep digging bill.

          • bill brown
            Posted June 27, 2020 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

            Edward 2
            thank you constable

          • Edward2
            Posted June 27, 2020 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

            You resort to abuse when confronted as expected.

  22. Ian Wragg
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Now is exactly the right time to be leaving the EU. We do not need any level playing field or regulatory alignment.
    We certainly don’t want to be tied to the cumbersome data protection rules.
    I see the great and good want to extend the transition period so as not to have a double shock but that is exactly what delaying will cause. We’ve taken the hit so the only way is up.

  23. MPC
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    I thought you were sceptical of IMF forecasts? It’s difficult to see how they can be valid in the absence of knowing how governments aim to address the slump, which may vary considerably from country to country.

  24. MultiID
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    If brexit is not a negative then it must be a positive- can hardly be both

    • Hope
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      JR, UN Secretary stated yesterday he wants a single global governance! He clearly wants to rid nations of authority to govern.

      Your fake Tory govt has made a basket case of our economy, complete mess of Brexit for four long years; currently in vassalage, mass immigration wrecked culture and society, double standards applied to law and order depending on ethnicity and indigenous people are no longer safe in this country- either stabbed or blown to pieces. Speak out and get arrested for hate speech!

      Mayhab implemented Milibands energy policies, Corbyn wanted to borrow five hundred billion, Johnson out borrowing him, Corbyn wanted to nationalize railways now Shapps is ready to follow! Identity politics, virtue signaling weaponising free speech, national house arrest scheme to suppress people- rules allowed to be broken depending on ethnicity, Johnson creates policy on his own chaotic disfunctional personal life allowing nannies, cleaners and single parents visits but not nuclear traditional families.

      All of you in your party have lost the plot.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

        Well, when the choice is civilisation or the abyss, it’s remarkable how much in common erstwhile opponents sometimes find they might have.

        • beresford
          Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

          ….and this is the policy of the globalists. Destroy homogenous Western democracies with mass immigration of incompatible peoples and then offer the choice between the ‘abyss’ and one-world government by billionaires and big corporations.

        • Posted June 26, 2020 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

          One World Government is the abyss.

        • Fred H
          Posted June 27, 2020 at 3:40 am | Permalink

          ‘abyss’ – – just a bit melodramatic Martin?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      Well it certainly can be a huge positive. All we need is a proper Conservative low government that believes in freedom and choice, far smaller government, low simple taxes, cheap, reliable on demand energy, no green crap and a bonfire of red tape.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 27, 2020 at 3:58 am | Permalink

        delete “low” above

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

      Well, it depends on whom you are – there are winners and losers.

      If you play the keyboards at a family hotel in Blackpool for people to sing along, then you’re probably one of the winners, once the covid19 problem is solved.

      If you organise European Union tours for a world class orchestra on the other hand, then you’ll probably find life more complex and difficult. Mind you, being paid in euros could well compensate handsomely for that.

      • Edward2
        Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

        The same restrictions apply to both of your fantasies.

  25. a-tracy
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    How accurate were IMF forecasts for the UK in previous years?

    “A Bloomberg analysis of more than 3,200 same-year country forecasts published each spring since 1999 found a wide variation in the direction and magnitude of errors.
    In 6.1 percent of cases, the IMF was within a 0.1 percentage-point margin of error.
    The rest of the time, its forecasts underestimated GDP growth in 56 percent of cases and overestimated it in 44 percent.
    The average forecast miss, regardless of direction, was 2.0 percentage points, but obscures a notable difference between the average 1.3 percentage-point error for advanced economies compared with 2.1 percentage points for more volatile and harder-to-model developing economies. Since the financial crisis, however, the IMF’s forecast accuracy seems to have improved, as growth numbers have generally fallen.”

    If you think about a 2% error that is the total UK’s contribution to NATO.

    Posted June 26, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    “The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants”___Albert Camus

    This is what Margaret Thatcher, our finest PM was referencing when she warned against the rise of Socialism. Unfortunately, both malignant main parties (bar the odd MP) that now dominate the Commons amd our world have embraced it with gusto and added a massive dose of identity politics fascism for good measure

    The UK desperately needs a true Conservative party with a leader as strong as MT

    The voter needs to understand that Tory and Labour are no longer the antithesis of one another. They are both fully signed up members of a most divisive and oppressive form of politics

  27. NigelE
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    “The US with a fall of 8% does considerably better than most of the European countries. Spain and Italy with bad outbreaks suffer the worst, losing a massive 12.8 % of their incomes. France does badly too, at 12.5%. The UK manages minus 10.2%”

    I know you make clear in the article that these are forecasts but this is sloppy language that is much used (and loved) by the MSM – in fact, they usually barely mention the word ‘forecast’ but plough into the numbers as if are facts.

    So: “The US is predicted to have a fall 0f … ” etc.

  28. oldtimer
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    The extent, if any, of tax and regulatory reform will also have an impact on the pace of recovery.

  29. Peter
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    I don’t know much about IMF forecasts or place much reliance on them.

    It is clear that there will be huge structural changes post Covid. So annual projections are only part of the story. The cruise ship industry will have a hard product to sell. Major retail landlords will struggle, the airline and hotel business, the hospitality trade etc, etc.

    I would also leave Brexit out of this issue.

    If you want to bring it in, then any possible downsides to Brexit can safely be attributed to Covid. It then leaves us with just the recovery on which to concentrate and no bureaucratic interference from the EU to continue to fret over.

    Therefore it is best to get out quickly on WTO terms. The worry is that Boris will go for a fudge.

    • a-tracy
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

      Peter, if I ran a cruise ship company and my regular customers were reluctant due to age group and risk factors I’d look at packages for younger holiday makers that have been told repeatedly that their type from the U.K. are no longer welcome in their usual haunts in Spain, Ibiza etc. The younger age group have shown repeatedly that lots of them have no fear, protests; raves; beach parties; constant meeting up in parks;music events etc. I just hope they keep away from vulnerable members of their families.

  30. Jacey
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Sir John rightly refers to a “difficult balance ” in his last sentence. Indeed it is. I wish the government well in this extraordinary crisis but really packing the beaches of Brighton and Bournemouth and having mass gatherings in Brixton and Notting Hill is the height of foolishness.

  31. Bob Dixon
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Those people who cannot find re employment can be offered incentives to become self employed or trade via a limited company.
    Gordon Brown had a nil corporation tax for the the first £10,000.00.
    The dividend taxes introduced by Osborn and worsend by Hammond should be repealed.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      Indeed almost everything introduced by the dire Osborne or Hammond should be reversed.

      • steve
        Posted June 26, 2020 at 9:06 pm | Permalink


        No government ever reverses the crap & folly of it’s predecessor.

      • Posted June 26, 2020 at 9:49 pm | Permalink


  32. Mark B
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Good afternoon

    With the postponement of many operations and diagnosis, will the government be balancing between the deaths from these and that of CV19?

    People are already beginning to panic. With major job loses now feeding through and social disorder on the horizon, has the government factored in the costs ?

    Government can’t keep hiding behind the science, they need to take a more balanced and broader view.

  33. John E
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    So the government told retailers the usual rules were suspended and they couldn’t be evicted for failing to pay rent. So only 14% of the rent due this month was paid.
    And now the landlord Intu has gone into administration and the administrators say that all 17 of their shopping centres will close affecting tens of thousands of jobs unless bondholders stump up £12m upfront.

    Bravo government, bravo.

    • steve
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      John E.

      I heard on the news INTU claimed 2bn loss due to covid, but that they say they’re in the red by 4bn.

      Inquiry is needed surely.

    • Posted June 26, 2020 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

      There needs to be emergency help for landlords who have not received rent because of Govt intervention. We cannot be worse off than we would have been without the intervention –

      • Fred H
        Posted June 27, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

        why not ? Millions of other citizens are! I weep for you – and you can afford it.

  34. Ian Wilson
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Any chance of a UK recovery will be wrecked if the government persists in its absurd zero carbon objective. Rupert Darwall says Boris and his government will be toast if they keep on that path (though he might have said ‘would be if Labour didn’t follow the same infantile policy’)

  35. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    mmm predictions based on even less knowledge than usual.

    Pinch of salt and largely irrelevant I should think

  36. DavidJ
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    One has to wonder what value the IMF brings. Time to review contributions to all such global(ist) entities and only fund them if they act in the interest of the British people.

  37. agricola
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Properly managed, the UK is in a good position because come January 2021 we have a much greater array of potential customers, plus the freedom and flexibility to respond.

    As I said two days ago, under failed moderation, we also need an attractive tax regime to encourage businesses worldwide to set up their activities within the UK. You really must start reacting more favourably to well considered contributions to your own lengthy and complex questions.

    I note that too many people are behaving irresponsibly in the UK, in the transit from Covid-19 to a more normal mode of behaviour. If any of these mindless individuals decide to come on holiday here in Spain bringing their idiocy with them , they will find that the forces of law and order will not sit back on supine bended knee and indulge them. Expect a much more robust and expensive experience.

    • agricola
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      More failed moderation.

    • Andy
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      Which new potential customers do we have? You do realise we already sell to everyone already.

    • James Bertram
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      Being a mindless individual I was quite looking forward to a holiday in Spain bringing my idiocy with me.

  38. glen cullen
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    This Government is not keeping us safe & secure

    • Caterpillar
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      Yep UK’s self inflicted damage (both in total due to the Hancock knee jerk and in the inequality of Sunak’s judgemental policies). The PM needs to rapidly build a competent Cabinet (Hancock, Sunak, Williamson, Patel – all looking bad) with policies that give confidence – effective and sensibly targeted testing (plus a clear statement of estimated infected fatality rates and their improvement), and law and order protecting people and property. And my go-to comment – UBI. Testing, law and order, UBI will give safety and therefore hopefully confidence. The PM’s investment plans can then give hope and crowding in. The BoE needs to buy back bonds and increase interest rates – as Lord King pointed out this doesn’t solve fundamentals (it is probably distorting).

      Ps look at the obvious place for ‘best practice’ to sort out school education.

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      It could well be the case that lockdown (in all nations) has been utterly futile.

      • James Bertram
        Posted June 26, 2020 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

        Yes, highly likely. Not only utterly futile, but deadly – killing many more people than the policy of lockdown ever intended to save, particularly the millions who will die in the Third World from increased poverty.

    • steve
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      glen cullen

      They do their best, which is not easy considering a left wing police, left wing school teachers, left wing councils etc, and then there’s pro – EU anti British traitors within the party.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      Where does it say in the British Constitution that it must do that? Or anything else for that matter?

      • steve
        Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:59 pm | Permalink


        It doesn’t say anything in the British constitution. Go figure.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted June 27, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

          It does.

          It says “Parliament alone is the law”

      • Posted June 26, 2020 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

        In multiple documents that constitute our Glorious Constitution – all written but not ‘codified’.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted June 27, 2020 at 7:17 am | Permalink

          None of them protected by the need for supermajorities nor the calling of a convention to change, and vulnerable to a simple Act of Parliament.

    • Posted June 26, 2020 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

      Northumberland Police are ‘facilitating’ and BLM demonstration in Sunderland and invoking legislation to prevent any counter or other demonstration.
      They will find that when BLM chase the police down the streets, as we have seen recently, the population will not come to their aid.

  39. hefner
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    A reassuring list on thelondoneconomic.com of the 331 ‘MPs who voted against weekly testing of NHS and care staff’. Not!
    What could be the reasons these intelligent people give for opposing such a testing?

    Reply No need to test all NHS office staff who are not close to the infection for example. The motion was a loose Opposition one. The NHS are testing all at risk who need testing

    • Fred H
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      reply to reply …There are lots and lots of Care Home workers that have never got to a test centre. Others are agency workers and flit from need to need. Determine risk! Staff in contact with forms completed by a) patients and b) NHS staff will be at risk.
      It is well known but not good press that NHS testing is surprisingly inaccurate. Other Labs do follow up testing when requested and find positives, that had been returned negative (but with fairly obvious symptoms).
      Complacency rules Sir John!

      • a-tracy
        Posted June 26, 2020 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

        Why haven’t care home workers you know not got tested Alan? Everyone I know that requested a test got one quickly and efficiently, one had to drive 30 miles to a test centre but that was her choice for speed.

        • Fred H
          Posted June 27, 2020 at 8:41 am | Permalink

          I would guess that less than 50% of care home staff have a car… well travel by public transport to a test centre (if thats possible) you might say. All that takes time and adds to risk – even the return journey! Then there is the matter of inaccurate NHS testing – not raised in the media, but then retesters don’t want to get into that battle publicly.

          • a-tracy
            Posted June 28, 2020 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

            Two people I know were sent home tests for them and their families, they told me it was fast, efficient, next day texts? They were very pleased with the service.

    • hefner
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      Having read the actual motion and the whole debate on the Hansard website, it looks to me it had never been a proposal to test all NHS staff including office staff. The debate was reasonable and rather informative. It was also difficult at least for me to see what could have been contentious.
      My conclusion is that it might have been a loose Opposition motion but more likely and as is so often the case the Conservative MPs have voted against it as a block following whatever orders they had been given. A sad state of affairs.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      “Who need testing”

      That looks like it will be a political stage management, rather than public health analysis to me, like everything else that has happened.

  40. Newmania
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    The IMF have consistently predicted a loss of growth to the UK due to Brexit , which bit did you not understand ? Admittedly that IMF was so ideologically swivel eyed that, like any expert or indeed anyone who knows anything at all , it could be ignored . Why then are you quoting it with such solemn respect
    Was it that with all the emotion and confusion of the day you for got you had gone to your second argument ?

  41. Posted June 26, 2020 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    The claim that the negative growth is caused by the virus is false. The responses are the cause of the decimation of the economy. The government introduced these policies without any assessment of the effects. Those policies have caused more harm than the virus ever would; and they will cause harms long into the future. The approach the government has adopted to policy-making on this issue has been irrational, irresponsible and incompetent – and that is when it is judged using the stated motivation: to save lives.

  42. Posted June 26, 2020 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    We might ask When was The I MF last right?

    It will depend the amount of Remainers in this Government, and in the Civil Service.

    Does this Government really have any guts at all.
    Time to stop threatening the EU and just say enough is enough, we are leaving now o n WTO.
    Call out the Remainers and be done with them now

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Enough of what, exactly is enough?

      The UK has left the European Union.

      The referendum result is fully implemented.

      • Edward2
        Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

        We do not fully leave until 31st December.

      • Fred H
        Posted June 26, 2020 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

        FULLY? – – -really Martin do keep up …

      • Posted June 26, 2020 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

        The referendum result has NOT been implemented at all, as you know. But it will be. Accept it!

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted June 27, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

        Really Martin, and there was me thinking you understood what was going on.

    • Lorna
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      We have left the EU. You Brexiters have won. If it’s going badly – and it is – you can only blame yourselves. Behave like grown ups, stop whining “its not fair” like a toddler. THIS IS ALL ON YOU , BREXITERS

      • Martyn G
        Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

        What an extraordinary position you take. The EU, in the form of Barnier and the others, have their claws firmly into the UK and are determined to neither recognise the reality of Brexit, giving way on as little as possible to ensure that the outcome results in the UK, thereby sustaining the unelected dictatorship of Europe. Well, we have done it before, at horrendous blood and cost to bring down European dictatorships and, because of the current EU take on the matter, may well be doing so again, whether we know it or not.

        • hefner
          Posted June 27, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

          Have you read Angela Merkel’s 22/06 interview with the Europa network of newspapers as Germany takes the presidency of the EU Council for the coming six months?
          As far as I understand, she/Germany/the EU27 will let the UK go its own way after 31 December 2020. And from reactions in some French newspapers (in particular Le Monde, Liberation, 26 and 27/06), most EU27 countries will be relieved to be rid of the UK. Obviously this is not the prevalent information being circulated here.

          • hefner
            Posted June 27, 2020 at 10:42 am | Permalink

            I now see that the full interview is available on the Guardian website ‘For Europe to survive, Its economy needs to survive’.

      • Posted June 26, 2020 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

        We Remain in the WA. That’s why it’s going badly. But when we escape as we will, you Rejoiners can shut up because there will be nothing but good news from the U.K. and hell-on-stilts from the EU.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted June 27, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

          We’ll see, won’t we?

          And we’ll comment exactly as we see fit.

        • bill brown
          Posted June 27, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

          Lynn Atkinson,

          I just wish I could believe a bit of what you write?

          • Edward2
            Posted June 27, 2020 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

            Well try harder bill
            Eventually you will see the light.

      • Robert McDonald
        Posted June 27, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

        Not sure how you can come to the conclusion that you do in your tirade. “It” is going badly throughout the world, thanks entirely to covid, and europe is not doing any better than the UK. At least after December we will be able to take the action necessary out with the bureaucratic constraints of the failing eu and trade with the world out there on our terms — and not pay out £20 billion a year to the eurocracy, likely to rise exponentially — thanks Germany.

    • steve
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 6:43 pm | Permalink


      “Time to stop threatening the EU and just say enough is enough, we are leaving now o n WTO.
      Call out the Remainers and be done with them now”

      hear hear +1

  43. Mark
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Latest virus map for England:


    No big beach surges No protest surges. We should be worrying much more about the economy, and rising anarchy and violence.

  44. David Brown
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    I believe the GOV is sticking to no austerity for the public sector to begin the process of repaying the national debt, that I assume will be profiled out over many years like most countries. I watched a report from a French Economist who suggested national debt due to Covid should all be written off, now that’s an interesting comment.
    Normally I don’t favour tax rises, however due to the national emergency I am of the opinion an asset wealth tax should be introduced because it will not affect ordinary tax payers or corporations, only individuals.
    Not convinced the IMF can realistically predict any thing about China’s economy because the Gov is all smoke and mirrors. There is a lot of hidden or inaccurate information that comes out of China.
    Despite my previous comments high lighting my total love of the EU I genuinely hope there is no direct economic damage by leaving the EU. Enough damage has been done and now the shift in focus must be to get it working and fast.
    I think we can all agree that if the Gov can get Britain’s economy growing faster than other European economies by the end of this year that will be some thing the celebrate at the end of 2020.

  45. James Bertram
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    ‘Only Germany does better, at minus 7.8%, thanks to a much less severe case of Covid 19 ‘

    Do you mean the strain of Covid-19 in Germany was less severe than that in the UK? And what evidence do you have for that?
    Or do you mean that they had less deaths ascribed to Covid-19 than we did?
    Clarity, please.

    • hefner
      Posted June 27, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      James, it is to despair if after more than three months you still don’t know how the decentralised German health system acted quicker and better than the UK one. Look at wikipedia ‘Covid-19 pandemic in Germany’ and you might realise how more open to scrutiny and how much more efficient the German system has been.

  46. steve
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    As long as the slump destroys the French economy and the Euro, it’s ok by me.

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

      Well, nothing that this country does now can do much real damage. The UK has left. There has been no “domino effect”. It can’t leave again. Support for the European Union has been increased rather among its people, by the preposterous spectacle that this country has made of itself, not least over covid19.

      Not many folk there are listening to the UK any more, so they won’t care about strands of public opinion such as yours.

      Trump can’t try to hector the European Union for his right-wing sycophants here either because of the powerful Irish lobby in the US.

  47. Everhopeful
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    WHO is ramping up a “second wave”.
    If Boris falls for it this time…well…we’ll be toast!

  48. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    The cost of the UK’s relatively less severe economic damage as compared with France, with Spain, and with Italy has been paid in thousands of lives, and will likely cost scores of thousands more yet.

    Those countries have, for the time being at least, arrested their respective hecatombs, on the other hand.

    It depends on what matters the most to you.

    • Robert McDonald
      Posted June 27, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      It also depends upon like for like comparisons of causes for death, accuracy in other words. It also depends upon the healthy habits of each nation citizens, the respect each nation has for those who were living in effected countries and wished to return to their home. It also depends on populations density. The UK is not the worst affected in the world when the full picture is looked at. One thing is obvious, covid MAY kill, economic collapse and nationwide starvation WILL kill.

  49. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted June 27, 2020 at 12:52 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure that I believe any IMF forecasts. Roughly, each nation has had a 3 month lockdown during which GDP has been hit by about 20%, i.e by 5% over a full year. Production can be caught up by people working overtime. The difficulty is that sooner of later governments will have to set about reducing the accumulated State borrowing, which will hit demand. Even then, it is feasible to reduce State debt gradually.

    All in all, I think that the IMF is being too pessimistic.

  50. a-tracy
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    What did Theresa May sign the UK up to with the UN exactly in regard to economic migrants/asylum seekers/refugees – what are our obligations. It seems to me that we are signed up to provide free accommodation, food, daily pocket money spends, lawyers, interpreters? I think it’s time we were told exactly what we are funding at the moment now that we know every room we are paying for during lockdown and what is agreed moving forward. Does the cost of lawyers get paid by International Development Funds or current taxpayers funds?

  • 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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