Handling the economic damage

The epidemiologists advising the government have succeeded in  persuading them to lock down as much of the country as possible. The aim is to stop the spread, and so reduce the numbers needing hospital treatment. The earlier policy of trace and isolate did not prevent escalation, though it may have slowed the progress of the disease as the advisers hoped.

Given this, the best outcome now must be a severe but short lived clampdown with a resulting drop in numbers getting the disease, followed by some relaxations to get more people back into work.  The worst outcome would be little progress with getting numbers down and a decision to carry on with many closures in the hope that the policy will sometime start to work as planned. A middle course is likely with a longer period of clampdown and some success with braking the rate of increase.

What does this do to the economy? More than 40% of it, the private sector not involved in food and food retail , pharmaceuticals, utilities and other basics will take a big hit. The obvious sectors that have been closed down will lose all their revenue, but it is likely new cars, new homes, discretionary purchases will all be cut back, some severely. We will see falls in output and incomes of a magnitude we have never seen before in a recession. They have come on us suddenly.

If the government aid for companies is administered well and promptly, and extended to the self employed, then many businesses will survive and be available to supply and serve us again as soon as restrictions are lifted. If the banks use the government guarantees well and make some of the ample liquidity to them available as affordable loans, that too will help see many more companies through the low or no turnover phase.

It is going to  be much easier for companies to revive and bounce back if the gap is not too long. More visibility on timetables would be helpful to those deciding whether their business can battle on and on how much they need to borrow to bridge the gap.

The government should give us scenarios based on better control of the virus to give some hope that these restrictions are temporary.  They can say that the short term closure model is more likely if we all co-operate and observe as much social distancing and isolation as our roles allow.

As of today we face the loss of a large number of self employed businesses without more financial support, and even  the loss of businesses  covered by the financial support scheme announced who nonetheless are losing so much  business from virus related effects and have large non employee costs..

It is nonetheless the case that the UK economy will lose a lot of  output from March onwards and that cannot return until the bans are lifted. Jobs will also be lost if the government financial support is not readily available at scale. The longer the closures and bans continue, the more businesses will give up and make their staff redundant to stop the losses.

Commercial rents will fall, dividends will be cut, pension funds will have much bigger deficits and businesses in trouble will have problems raising capital. There will be large falls in investment.

This is now happening all over the advanced world where similar policies are  being followed. I wish the experts and governments every success in limiting this disease . They also need to  recognise that the serious economic damage being done to try to arrest the progress of the disease is going to get very severe unless there is a relatively short time limit on the shut downs and financial help for all in the meantime.


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  1. agricola
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    For businesses large and small what is the point in incurring debt by borrowing money from commercial banks whose record on financial behaviour has been very poor. Government support for all levels of industry from the self employed to large corporations should be in the form of government grants. That is if you want anything left to regenerate as coronavirus ebbs.

    The next area government needs to address is profiteering by those elements of commerce that are allowed to continue trading. I have food in mind in particular. The only negative reports we have heard of concern Harley Street and the cost of testing for the virus. Figures quoted are about the same as I paid around 18 months ago for an hour of a consultants time. I think this was a bit of a media generated red herring. The media should concentrate on supermarket and supplier prices because these affect everyone. Government has a role to react and control it, just as they have done with free movement of the people. I suspect that the corner shop where there is one will come back into its own.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      “I suspect that the corner shop where there is one will come back into its own.”

      One near me which has had milk at “2 for £2” ( not really an offer), for year, has now gone to “one only per person”. – and gone up to £1.30 each. Other things there have increased similarly. I’m not surprised the owner has a very expensive personalised plate on his new large motor.

      • jerry
        Posted March 24, 2020 at 11:03 am | Permalink

        @bigneil; “[a shop] near me which has had milk at “2 for £2” ( not really an offer), for year, has now gone to “one only per person”. – and gone up to £1.30 each.”

        Of course at one time many food prices were regulated, but regulated prices started to be swept away starting 15th May 1979, & on the 20th May the retail price of milk increased by 10%…

      • hefner
        Posted March 24, 2020 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        What are you complaining about? Is this shop owner not the perfect example of a successful individual entrepreneur in a ‘free market’ environment?

        • Edward2
          Posted March 24, 2020 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

          Yes he is hef.
          And due to competition from other shops this shop owner may well find cheaper milk will be available to his customers just a short distance away.

          • jerry
            Posted March 24, 2020 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; Or the shop at the other end of the village might also be owned by the same person, as if the case in a village near me.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 24, 2020 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

            It might be.
            Well go to the next nearest one if it is cheaper.
            There are no shortages of choice if you think your milk is expensive.

          • jerry
            Posted March 24, 2020 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; “Well go to the next nearest one if it is cheaper.”

            Tell that the elderly using their strollers, that’s a walking aid in case you are unaware, to get about….

            Oh the other hand a regulated price (on essentials) costs no one any money, the farmers get a fair price, all retailers can make a little and the public are not gouged.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 25, 2020 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

            I was replying to you Jerry.
            Not the whole population of the UK.

          • jerry
            Posted March 26, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; Well yes, but by doing so you were also replying to members of my family too…

            But thanks for exposing once again all that went wrong with the 1980s, the Me! Me! Me! society, unable or unwilling to think about the plight of others just so long as you’re al’right.

    • graham1946
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      Hear, hear to your first paragraph Last week I asked on here why the banks were involved at all. This should be done by HMRC who have the open channels to all companies and taxpayers and they know more about us than anyone else. They should be loaded up with the money and paying it to registered traders. Any not registered with HMRC should get nothing. Getting firms into yet more debt at a critical time is bound to end in failure and we know the banks have not a shred of decency in them.

    • Otto
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      What about the French way – essential shopping only.

      In a small village in the South West of France there they have a proper lockdown. If you want to go out you have to get permission beforehand and then print off your permission. You are only allowed out for essential reasons. Getting essential food is permitted. A friend of mine went to the shop. Police and Military check on your permits but also check on what you are buying. In front of my friend a woman came out of the food store and was checked by the Police to see that she was buying essentials. She had only a Coca cola. 650 EURO fine on the spot!!!!!

      • Mark B
        Posted March 25, 2020 at 6:50 am | Permalink

        This is what makes the EU so attractive to bureaucrats. It is based on the French model and they love these indirect forms of taxes.

      • hefner
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        I very much doubt your story, Otto. Give the exact reference of this case as I have not found any mention of it on any of the French websites.

        In France right now one needing to go out shopping gets to their computer and print a form. Such forms can also be hand-written as the model has been appearing in most newspapers. That form has to be filled stating the reason to go out. Shopping is allowed. Most grocery stores/supermarkets still have most of their usual fruit, vegetables, meat, cheese, …
        The fine for non-respect of the ‘confinement’ was originally $35 before the 10th March. It has been increased to €175 going to €375 if not paid within seven working days.
        What has actually appeared two days ago (in the French newspaper Le Courrier Picard, 24/03) is the case of a Covid-19 carrier in Norway who had gone to a party and got fined for 20,000 Norwegian kroner (~€1,650) by the Norwegian police for doing so.

  2. oldtimer
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    The economic damage of the shutdowns and their consequences are incalculable. Many businesses will close for ever. The explosion of QE, here and around the world, runs the risk of hyperinflation. While government is scrambling to cope with the medical consequences of the pandemic someone in government also needs to be thinking about the economic aftermath. This has the potential to become very ugly indeed and even worse than the medical emergency.

    • oldtimer
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Initial March PMI (Purchasing Managers Index) indications have been released. Above 50 indicates growth; below 50 indicates decline. German manufacturing is reported at 45.7 and services at 34.5. French services is reported at 29! UK services is reported at 35.7. This is recession territory.

      Reply Of course! There will be a big hole in output and incomes from March until controls are lifted.

  3. RichardM
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Very short memory. 15 days ago flights were arriving from locked down areas of Italy. Dozens landed in UK with no checks whatsoever.
    Countries who have responded in a timely manner by tracing and isolating and who have a less selfish me me me culture expressed by so many on here have been far more successful in ‘flattening the curve’ – South Korea, Japan.
    Instead we had a mind bogglingly stupid herd immunity plan for a virus where there is currently no immunity.
    Yesterday we had vacuous drivel from the health secretary lying on live TV that there had not been a change in direction, and this hadn’t been the policy. How lucky we are to still have interviewers who can see beyond the smoke and mirrors of politicians bluster, and interrupt them when they speak such guff.
    Later in the day we has the absurd sight of him putting warehouse workers at risk carrying boxes of PPE around a warehouse – the very equipment Health staff have been screaming out for that should have already been distributed has there been a sensible plan.

    • RichardM
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

      Flights are still pouring into the UK with no passenger screening. Why is this ?

      10 years of NHS cutbacks has left us without the required ventilators and staff. There was already a chronic national shortage of equipment prior to Covid 19 onset.
      Germany apparently has 6 times the necessary equipment we have.

      • Mr Ecks
        Posted March 24, 2020 at 8:15 am | Permalink

        The NHS has money for more admin than it does treatment. The 12 billion wasted under New Labour for a useless computer system would have equipped a few ICUs. As would the 4.5 billion wasted on the nannying, hectoring losers at Public Health England or whatever they are called. 5 a day and the rest of that tripe.

      • Bob
        Posted March 24, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

        Our govt could not invest more into the health infrastructure as by law they were compelled to give away £14 billion per annum in “overseas aid” and and £11 billion to Brussels. You can’t give away your cake and eat it.

        • hefner
          Posted March 24, 2020 at 11:36 am | Permalink

          I am afraid you are wrong. The average annual NHS budget for the whole of the UK is around £130 bn. The money recently unblocked by the Treasury for the present period will be at least ~£300 bn. Do you not think that £20-25 bn more could have been given in previous years to the NHS from the magic money tree presently violently shaken. It was political decisions from previous governments that ‘helped’ make the situation in the NHS what it is today.

          • Ian Wragg
            Posted March 24, 2020 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

            The previous governments were following EU rules on levels of debt and deficit.
            They went to great lengths to cover this up and the Tory party was happy for liebor to chant Tory cuts, Tory austerity.
            Such was the power of Brussels.

          • hefner
            Posted March 24, 2020 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

            Ian, Please tell me which directive of the EU prevented the UK to invest in the NHS.
            Just to prove you are talking rubbish, below are the health expenditure per capita PPP in various European countries (2016 figures in $)
            Austria 5,227
            Belgium 4,840
            Czech Rep. 2,544
            Denmark 5,205
            Estonia 1,989
            Finland 4,033
            France 4,600
            Germany 5,551
            Greece 2,223
            Hungary 2,101
            Ireland 5,528
            Italy 3,391
            Latvia 1,466
            Luxembourg 7,463
            Netherlands 5,385
            Norway 6,647
            Poland 1,798
            Portugal 2,734
            Slovakia 2,150
            Slovenia 2,835
            Spain 2,835
            Sweden 5,488
            Switzerland 7,919
            United Kingdom 4,192

            So for the EU countries how do you explain the disparities if the EU/Brussels had the power to apply a ‘common health policy’?

            The figures above obviously reflect the wealth of the individual countries, but compare the health expenditures for sensibly similar countries (say, NL, Germany, France and the UK) and draw your own conclusions.

            Reply The Uk figures do not include the costs of the Inland Revenue to collect the money but they do include insurance costs in other countries.

        • hefner
          Posted March 24, 2020 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

          SJR, I did not know that. I’ll have to check the details of the methodology used to compile these statistics. Thanks for pointing out the difference.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 24, 2020 at 8:31 pm | Permalink


    • Stred
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      The large warehouse full of protective equipment was shown on the news last night. Had they forgotten about it or was the stuff out of date and due to be scrapped, like the crutches and wheelchairs that they don’t think is worth collecting.

    • chris dark
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      The whole issue of incoming flights needs to be seriously addressed because everyone I know is complaining about it. Why are they being allowed to land? Who in their right mind even wishes to fly into an infected country? And with shops and tourism closed, what exactly are these people coming for in the first place? Do we awaken one morning to find we have been occupied? Government has said nothing, not a word. It isn’t acceptable.

      • Mark
        Posted March 24, 2020 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

        Many flights. Probably few passengers. Hopefully plenty of air cargo, particularly of essentials.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      “Instead we had a mind bogglingly stupid herd immunity plan for a virus where there is currently no immunity.”

      Best not parade your ignorance like that. Herd immunity in principle is based on the fact that people who have had the disease and recovered are immune. When a vaccine comes those immunised are also part of the “herd”. Herd immunity is the only thing stopping a measles epidemic here. The only alternative to that is to eliminate every single case of the disease everywhere in the world – you are proposing that mind-bogglingly stupid idea ?

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 24, 2020 at 11:26 am | Permalink

        No, it is based on those who have been VACCINATED becoming immune, not on a mass epidemic leaving its survivors immune.

        The point is moot, as the plan has been abandoned. In principle its advocates could otherwise have ended up at the Hague if you ask me.

        They need to be lucky now as to fatality numbers or they might yet be there, who knows?

        • Mark
          Posted March 24, 2020 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

          No it is not. Herd immunity works however the immunity is achieved. By having antibodies through having had the disease, or through being inoculated, or through having natural immunity through exposure to a similar disease that happens to rely on the same infection process, or through regular use of a prophylactic if one can be found. It simply depends on the virus not being able to find enough susceptible targets to maintain itself.

          It is in the end the only way we could even hope to eradicate the disease. The only question is the pathway to get there.

      • RichardM
        Posted March 24, 2020 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        Roy Grainger no need for accusations of ignorance. “based on the fact that people who have had the disease and recovered are immune..” We have a successful vaccine for measles dont you know. 96% or more have received this in UK. Prior to this millions worldwide died of measles.
        We dont have a vaccine and probably wont for 12-18 months earliest.
        Meanwhile left unchecked by ‘herd immunity’ strategy how many would die do you suppose ?

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      If you want to see how many planes are up all over the world, at any one time, Google Flightradar 24.

      • hefner
        Posted March 24, 2020 at 11:26 am | Permalink

        As a regular user of this app, the flight density (just my judgment, of course) over continental Europe s only about one third of what it usually was before March. There are usually a queue of planes towards LHR between the eastern bound of the M25 and LHR. Right now (11:22am) there is not one plane.
        But your comment is typically one from somebody who has suddenly discovered a new toy on the internet and feel entitled to make inferences, without having any past references.

        • Ian Wragg
          Posted March 24, 2020 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

          All he does is direct you to a website. I see no inference. I bet you voted remain.

          • hefner
            Posted March 24, 2020 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

            When can I get my money?

  4. Ian Wragg
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Lockdown will make no appreciable impact on numbers just trashing the economy.
    It hasn’t worked in Italy and Spain and it won’t work here.
    Does anyone really believe what China says.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      It is working there.

      There will be a two or three week delay owing to incubation and latency before death rates fall.

      That has just started.

      • Mr Ecks
        Posted March 24, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

        The Chinese Communist Party are lying criminals. If you trust them to tell you the time of day you are deluded.

        • Fred H
          Posted March 24, 2020 at 10:58 am | Permalink

          you are wasting keystrokes on Martin.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 24, 2020 at 11:28 am | Permalink

          I’m writing about Italy.

          I’m sceptical about everything that everyone says.

          You have to join up the dots sometimes though.

          • Fred H
            Posted March 24, 2020 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

            Martin you don’t join up dots – you invent them where not existing. It seems everywhere in the world does it better. Why oh why, have millions beaten a path to UK for decades, when you feel we are racist, run by elitist political classes, intolerant, thick so can’t be trusted with a vote etc?

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 24, 2020 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

            You just invented dots to join in relation to me, Fred.

            I don’t think those caricature thoughts.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 24, 2020 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

            He is a socialist.
            That us how they are.

    • bill brown
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      Ian WRAGG

      Your perspectives are interesting but they are difficult take seriously, because you relly do not know what you are talking about then you mention Spain and Italy

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted March 24, 2020 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        Love it when you reply Bill from Brussels. My opinion is equally as valid as yours and I’m not rude.

    Posted March 24, 2020 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    This oppressive response is all too predictable. Those who understand the modern political mindset won’t be too surprised by what we are seeing. This isn’t decisive action but political action designed to assert control over what we do and what we say.

    Conservative Home and CW have both drawn attention to the oppressive nature of new laws (ECB bill) rushed through by this government. It makes little difference. Our freedoms will be curtailed. This is the consequence of what happens when the voter embraces parties that promote the continuation of a form of politics that holds in contempt liberty and freedom

    Read the new ECB bill. It’s a signpost to a future that should cause real concern for the few freedoms we have left.

    • bill brown
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 8:41 am | Permalink


      Interesting but maybe give it a little rest?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      Recent Curtis poll says that 93% of the public support these measures. 4% oppose, 3% don’t know.

      The small minority are over-represented on the internet, yet again.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 1:29 pm | Permalink


      I think there is much truth in what you warn. I think by the time people catch up with you it will be too late, if it isn’t already.

      The fear has been spread, individual mobility (travel, education, jobs) has fallen to Govt control, food supplies will be controlled, borders will undoubtedly be next in being locked down, elections have been cancelled, individual responsibility/opportunity to save has been destroyed. A North Korea model? We saw in China in 1989 when the centre has too much power even the masses cannot stand up to it and are crushed. Last night the PM mentioned reviewing the lockdown in 3 weeks – so much for democracy, the Govt now decides how many times you can exercise per day, and if your trainers are worn out the Govt says retailers cannot open to supply a new pair – just live with the ensuing injuries.

      I hand wash, I agree with self-isolating, I (stupidly) didn’t panic buy, I keep my distance, I guiltily didn’t visit my mother at the weekend, but to see everything about the UK mindlessly destroyed is too much – but it is too late.

  6. Dave Andrews
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    My journey to work today is essential, because it’s my livelihood.
    I’ve not heard from the government that my business is to be closed and that my business rates will be suspended in the interim.
    Our commercial landlord must be in the dark as well, as I haven’t heard anything from government about whether the tenant will be compensated for the cost of rent, or whether the landlord will be able to claim loss of income from his tax bill.

  7. Jim
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Let us imagine for a moment that CV19 does not decline for quite a while. Sooner or later the economic damage may frighten Western governments so much that they get their heads together and say ‘we can’t afford to save people, let the disease rip, open the borders etc etc’. Even if not explicitly stated would this notion be workable? Would the rest of the world cooperate?

    We then get into a race between the normalisation of some death toll, the development of a vaccine and the development of herd immunity or the money running out. In the end money is only paper, what matters is the credibility of the society behind it. We can keep spending for a while yet.

    • Mr Ecks
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      50100 people died from “winter related conditions” in 2017-18 winter. Save for the bereaved nobody batted an eyelid.

      Coro is a puny plague –flu+ at best.

      The vulnerable should have been protected and the workforce left alone. The vast maj will get no more than a sniffle. Ruining the world and UK economies to virtu-signal will bring far, far worse consequences.

      • SM
        Posted March 24, 2020 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        Strongly seconded.

        • Mark B
          Posted March 24, 2020 at 3:07 pm | Permalink


      • Ian Wragg
        Posted March 24, 2020 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        Dont let Bill Brown hear you say that.

      • anon
        Posted March 26, 2020 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

        -Only if the number of ventilators and Kit were correctly estimated from data available.

        -Testing for antibodies needs to be stepped up massively to get those immune and unable to infect, certified and back to work, preferably in the NHS and caring sectors, first.

        -Once we have an oversupply of NHS capacity to manage the “unlucky” ones we should encourage the non-vulnerable to go back to work in waves.

    • Mark
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      If people fail to heed the warnings to reduce their social interactions sharply then we will go the quick herd immunity route whatever the politicians or the media say. We still lack proper data to evaluate just how damaging that might be. The Imperial model is full of assumptions, like a climate model, and those are admitted by them to be supposedly pessimistic, like an RCP 8.5 scenario. The more we can replace assumptions with facts, the better handle we will have on the likely outcome.

  8. jerry
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    “As of today we face the loss of a large number of self employed businesses without more financial support,

    Perhaps not just the loss of businesses but their owners to, and even their families and customers, when faced with the stark choice, carry on working or have no income.

    The govt has wilfully left the SE to the wolves, the HMRC knows all but the most recent (those who have yet to complete their first tax return), the SE have already made a legal declaration that the information is true, and to pick up on a point made by our host the other day, any deceleration that a business was still viable needs to be back dated, unlike the Govt some people could see this crisis looming a month or so back and rained-in on discretionary expenses. These measures should have been in place ready to go live a month ago, probably years ago as party of an updated civil contingency plan.

    • jerry
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      Sorry but, Parliament needs a “Norway Debate”, Boris might have got Brexit done (not difficult, needing to do nothing…) but he is out of his depth now – he has a ready made way-out, self isolate, handing the rains to Rabb…

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 24, 2020 at 9:43 am | Permalink

        Are you in favour of a Norway-type arrangement?

        I am, yet you seem critical of my posts on the topic.

        Perhaps one or both of us have misunderstood the other?

      • graham1946
        Posted March 24, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

        I think the thing about Boris is that he appoints ministers (his choices might be subject to criticism) and lets them get on with it as any good manager does, keeping an eye on results. We have had too many micro managing PM’s, especially the last one who did not have any faith in her choices. No one person can know everything or do everything. Parliament is the last lot I would ask. I watched them yesterday afternoon and the debate was long drawn out, with people making irrelevant points. We need the experts this time, people with proven skills, not like the ‘expert’ naysayers of the anti-Brexit stripe.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted March 24, 2020 at 10:38 am | Permalink

          Experts have narrow lines of vision. So a Coronavirus expert will tell you how to eradicate Coronavirus, the fact that his solution will kill you in 1,000 other ways is not in his remit!

          • Old chemist
            Posted March 24, 2020 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

            How true!!

          • jerry
            Posted March 25, 2020 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

            @Lynn Atkinson; Same if true of any “expert”, including both Politicos and Economists!

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted March 24, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        Oh you want British taxpayers to fund Italy, Spain, Portugal, France and Ireland as well as the U.K.?

        • Fred H
          Posted March 24, 2020 at 10:57 am | Permalink

          well we have already for many years…

        • jerry
          Posted March 24, 2020 at 11:09 am | Permalink

          @MiC; @Lynn Atkinson; Oh for pithy sake!

          I said “Norway Debate”, as in when Churchill replaced Chamberlain – didn’t they teach (modern?) history at school when you were kids…

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 24, 2020 at 3:25 pm | Permalink


            No, “they” didn’t incidentally.

        • bill brown
          Posted March 24, 2020 at 1:30 pm | Permalink


          what is your point as we are hardly financing anything?

    • jerry
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      Sir John, I read that at least one supermarket is considering banning people from using trolleys to do their shopping, presumably in an attempt to limit what people can buy, this will mean many parents will not be able to shop (we all see toddlers and older riding in trolleys) and those with slight but still debilitating disabilities from shopping. it will also cause many more cases of multiple people from the same family group shopping using different credit, debit or just cash (and no cash can’t be banned), perhaps even going to multiple food shops.

      Of course the solution is to simply get the supply side logistics sorted out, we keep being told there is no shortages of food etc, but if it is stuck in warehouses there are shortages were it matters, in the shops.

      • Mark
        Posted March 24, 2020 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

        I think it would make sense to allocate people one day a week to shop. No trawling round the stores daily to snap up the toilet paper when it’s put on the shelf. Also, you only risk meeting others allocated to your day while shopping, aside from the store staff (though they could be split across the week so as not to be working daily, but doing longer shifts on fewer days).

  9. Stred
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Figure 4 of the Imperial College report, which appears to be the basis of the current plan, shows a steep increase to 1200 intensive care cases in May and a sharp decline finishing in July. This is followed by a series of outbreaks which are much smaller, being suppressed, going into late 2021. The start in March seems to be sooner than the graph but three months looks like a minimum.
    The epidemic cannot be contained now because the numbers of cases without noticeable symptoms are much higher than the reported cases and as these spread to families, which are staying at home on order to prevent passing it to others, there are bound to be older or unwell family members who will need hospital treatment. As it takes about two and a half weeks until the worst cases lead to death, things will probably not improve until the reported cases catch up with the unreported.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      Italy currently have 3204 people (which went up by 6.5% in just a day) now in intensive care with the virus.

      • Stred
        Posted March 24, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

        The period remains the same but the casualties vary from 20k to 510k if they just let it rip.

        • Mark
          Posted March 24, 2020 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

          On their assumptions. They are not gospel. Much guesswork, little real data. Even the data they have will get outdated as we develop treatments that work better than “take a paracetamol”.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink


      Read the same report, came to the same conclusions as you.

      Its going to be a brave politician who lifts the controls, with a risk that it all starts over again, unless there is mass vaccination available.

    • graham1946
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      This is probably more accurate and is why I give no credence to the China figures. I just don’t think this thing can be knocked out in a matter of weeks as they seem to claim. I am sure there will be a resurgence there which will probably not be reported.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 24, 2020 at 11:32 am | Permalink

        To you disbelieve every single thing, that suggests that your tribe might not be better than another at some particular thing?

        That’s how it seems.

    • Old chemist
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      Epidemiology can only analyse past events and come to a conclusion. As this event is still proceeding how good are the models they are using and are there different models with different outcomes we really should not rely on one set of epidemiologists to drive such momentous decisions.

  10. Al
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    And yet this morning, with the lockdown in place and people not supposed to leave the house, I receive an email from certain Councillors encouraging me to go out and take part in voluntary activities around the community.

    They end with “we’re here to help” which I believe I shall take the Reagan line on as four of the nine most terrifying words in the English language.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      But you absolutely do want the Government to help. If you don’t, then should you become ill, then please do not call the NHS.

      Make up your mind please.

      • Al
        Posted March 24, 2020 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        I take it you disgaree with the lockdown then, as the local Council are asking people to volunteer outside the home after the lockdown, in contravention of the guidelines, and holding open public meetings?

        Given my experience of the NHS, I certainly won’t call them. I have a current ongoing complaint after being put under only to have the medical practitioner perform the wrong procedure. This is why I carry insurance.

  11. Julian Flood
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Testing on an heroic scale will reduce the time taken to get back to normal. After that in order to give the economy the resilience required to bounce back we should look at ways to lower household and business costs. My suggestion is to lower energy costs by every means possible. To give us a competitive edge we should look to the USA and how they have some of the cheapest energy in the world


    • forthurst
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      “The earlier policy of trace and isolate did not prevent escalation, though it may have slowed the progress of the disease as the advisers hoped.”

      There is no possibility of a single policy working in isolation. It is essential that a multi-pronged approach is used as has been successful in the Far East. I see that Wuhan is still in lockdown, but outside, the province of Hubei as a whole has now started to allow free movement. A multi-pronged approach can and does work involving lockdowns, tracing and testing, compulsory quarantines, restriction on internal and external movements. This epidemic does not end until it ceases circulating anywhere.

      Is there are a command and control centre for this virus? if not why not? We are at war.
      The response to this virus needs co-ordinating at every level. Do we have an expert group on this virus? People can fulminate against the Chinese but they should remember that they have average higher IQs than Occidentals and although they may have an authoritarians government, it has not spent the last few decades flooding their country with unassimilabe aliens in order to rub their noses in diversity.

    • Mark
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      …when we have tests that work reliably enough. We don’t have them available for mass use as of now. Tests the Chinese used produced lots of false positives. The hazard with that is that you may isolate such people until their symptoms if any have disappeared long enough to classify them as “well”, but if they haven’t had the virus, they may still be susceptible to getting it, and not in the group of immune people who can safely go about their normal business.

      There is at least sign of useful tests emerging, as this article relates:


      We also hear of the Oxford model of the epidemic, which is radically different (and much more optimistic) in its projections than the Imperial model. Deciding between them (or something in between) can only be done with good testing as per the above, and with updates for parameters that change such as finding effective treatments to reduce severity of the disease.

  12. Polly
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    I believe the World Health Organization has given the wrong advice to governments because they are ignoring important research into the effect of ACE/ARB/Ibuprofen medications and other relevant factors.

    New research into C-19 appeared on March 20 in The Atlantic. When this is aligned with the research in The Lancet, it is easy to see the very probable explanation for why this virus affects some individuals so much more seriously than others.

    Therefore, I believe it now looks beyond reasonable doubt that ACE/ARB medications for diabetes, cardiovascular and heart disease are responsible for the majority of fatalities.

    The use of Iboprofen also looks a serious added risk factor, particularly if it has been used long term term for other complaints, and also smoking, vaping and obesity.

    From The Atlantic………

    ”Why the Coronavirus Has Been So Successful. We’ve known about SARS-CoV-2 for only three months, but scientists can make some educated guesses about where it came from and why it’s behaving in such an extreme way”……


    From The Lancet……….

    ”Human pathogenic coronaviruses (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus [SARS-CoV] and SARS-CoV-2) bind to their target cells through angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), which is expressed by epithelial cells of the lung, intestine, kidney, and blood vessels.4 The expression of ACE2 is substantially increased in patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, who are treated with ACE inhibitors and angiotensin II type-I receptor blockers (ARBs).4 Hypertension is also treated with ACE inhibitors and ARBs, which results in an upregulation of ACE2.5 ACE2 can also be increased by thiazolidinediones and ibuprofen. These data suggest that ACE2 expression is increased in diabetes and treatment with ACE inhibitors and ARBs increases ACE2 expression. Consequently, the increased expression of ACE2 would facilitate infection with COVID-19. We therefore hypothesise that diabetes and hypertension treatment with ACE2-stimulating drugs increases the risk of developing severe and fatal COVID-19.”


    Consequently, I believe the thrust of government intervention should be to resolve these issues through alternative medication for diabetes, cardiovascular and heart disease and/or isolation for high risk groups, and a public awareness campaign to stop the use of Ibuprofen, including for non sufferers of C-19 because it makes it more likely the virus will be acquired. Also to highlight the dangers of smoking, vaping and obesity.


    • Mr Ecks
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      A very interesting point needing more investigation.

      Although the previous predictions of “scientific advisors” to the State regarding pandemics all turned out to be tripe. And this “lethal” virus is killing at about the same level of ord flu. And given that few tests are being done in Spain/Italy/Wuhan then a lot of those labelled Coro deaths are just as likely ordinary flu deaths.

      50,100 people in the UK died from “winter conditions” in the 2017-18 winter. Apart from the unfortunate bereaved , nobody batted an eyelid.

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 24, 2020 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        correct – this should be highlighted more by politicians and the media

    • APL
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      Polly: “I believe it now looks beyond reasonable doubt that ACE/ARB medications for diabetes, cardiovascular and heart disease are responsible for the majority of fatalities.”


      • Mark
        Posted March 24, 2020 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

        But what alternatives are there for the patients that don’t risk killing them anyway? Many elderly are on carefully balanced cocktails of drugs, and it can be very difficult finding a substitute that doesn’t upset that balance.

        The only safe advice is to prevent the elderly from contracting Covid 19 as best you can.

  13. Lifelogic
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Thanks goodness, the government have finally got real albeit two weeks (at least) too late. Why on earth could they not see it until now it was very clear in deed from China and Italy they have lots of advance notice? Even increasing at 20% day on day will give them 3.5 times the number of patients they are treating now in just a weeks time and 13 times it in two weeks. Let us hope the rate of increase levels off.

    So were the government getting bad advice from their “experts” two weeks back or were the government idiotically rejecting this advice? The NHS is clearly failing to cope already in many areas. They cannot even organise protective equipment or testing for staff, let alone sufficient ICU facilities.

    Why, even now, are funeral gathering still to be permitted?

    The banks are still being hugely unhelpful too. Even to solid customers who are perfectly credit worthy. Not easy even to get hold anyone who can make any decisions. They seem to want to push everyone to borrow on their rip of credit card rates or 40% overdrafts rates and thus profit as much as possible. Something needs to be done to ensure the credit rating of people are unaffected by any late payment over this period.

    • jerry
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      @LL; “Why, even now, are funeral gathering still to be permitted? “

      If you read the regulations it will be for the immediate family (group) only, so those who attend will have already been exposed to any virus, bar that of the priest, who will no doubt remain at least two metres apart.

      I’m more concerned about TV channels, such as the Breakfast programmes, who still think programmes need a double act, in a closed environment and often less than 2m apart (ITV’s GMTV are you reading this…) – whilst castigating others.

  14. Mark B
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    On my journey to work this morning, I came across many people and wished them also a good morning. And a good morning it is too 🙂

    If the banks use the government guarantees well . . .

    Sorry, Sir John but I think the first thing the banks will be doing is awarding themselves large bonuses.

    . . . dividends will be cut . . .

    Not for the founder of EasyJet it would seem.

    The virus is not as dangerous to the healthy population as it might seem. Only those with poor health and in particular respiratory illnesses are at risk, the rest of the population should be allowed, if possible, to Carry On. A collapsed economy is not going to pay for the drugs we need to fight this disease and other illnesses.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      Mark B

      If the virus were visible then I would heartily agree with you, but unfortunately it is not, and with apparently no outward symptoms, when you are infectious, until the virus has taken hold it will continue to be spread around by air and on many surfaces.

      You cannot lock the vulnerable (and not all of them are old, and not all of them are unproductive) up for ever.

      Testing and vaccine development is one, but just one of the keys here.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      The virus is dangerous to the survival of any government. It is also dangerous to individuals who do not know they have underlying issues and some who will get unlucky.

      Governments can not be seen to be doing nothing when hospitals are full of people in ICU. Therefore government must act. The media like nothing more than a good story about a hard working doctor (and the doctors and nurses have my admiration at this time) saying how overrun they are. Emily Maitliss last night still tried to pin this whole think on the UK government as though it were their fault. Does she have a different gear?

      Events dear boy, events. That is why the first thing that is controlled during a coup is the media.

      • jerry
        Posted March 24, 2020 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        @NS; “Emily Maitliss last night still tried to pin this whole think on the UK government as though it were their fault. Does she have a different gear?”

        So the underfunding of the NHS over the last 10 years is not the fault of this (Tory) govt, even our own Mr Logic has changed his tune wanting the NHS to be better equipped now, but 6 months ago, never mind 10 years ago, far to many wanted tax cuts rather than more ventilators and the staff to use them.

        “Events dear boy, events.”

        Exactly, hence why Parliament has had the Civil Contingency Act sitting ready since late 2004, why the British Army has been modernising their tanks and when ever else since 1945…

        No one is blaming the UK govt for the pandemic, they are blaming the UK govt for inadequate planning and response.

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted March 24, 2020 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

          @jerry the NHS has not been underfunded and no amount of money could have prepared it for this crisis.

          See Italy, see Spain see France and Germany their systems are all folding.

          You can’t have thousands of ICU beds sitting idle waiting for the once every 100 year pandemic. It is a fact whatever hindsight now suggests.

          Our government now needs to react and it will be brought down quicker by pictures of overwhelmed hospitals than by the economic fallout of halting commerce precisely because the NHS is a free at the point of use political football.

          TINA as they used to say.

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted March 24, 2020 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

            And as for dear old @LL his politics have always been what suits him best (and there is nothing wrong with that). He now might need a bed so there should be beds.

        • jerry
          Posted March 25, 2020 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

          @NS; “You can’t have thousands of ICU beds sitting idle waiting for the once every 100 year pandemic.”

          Well that logic would suggest we should not have a standing army, nor a nuclear deterrent either…

          But no one is judging this by pandemic levels, they have been judging this for the last 10 years in the same way as some have chosen to judge this criss in the last 14 days, the high number of Flu deaths each year, some on the hard right have cited these figures as reasons why we should all simply carry on.

          The NHS are pitifully short of ICU, even just normal ward beds, for even the average Flu session and the govt knows it, hence why the govt originally wanted the current crisis, via mass herd immunity, mostly dealt with before next autumn/winter when the NHS could be fighting both Covid-19 and the usual seasonal Flu – that was until UCL research pointed out the possible death toll…

          You are right about about @LL, but sometimes it takes a crisis (or war) for people to see the light.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 24, 2020 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

        The NHS doctors and nurses have my admiration too especially at this time. Some are clearly saintly, but the NHS system is appalling which is doubtless why 50% of expensively trained UK doctors choose not to work for it. The way it is structured and funded is totally absurd. The system of “investigating” or covering up their many errors (that kill so many people’ is appalling too ensuring that many more die in repeats.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      I am sorry, but you have all bought and drunk the Cool Aid.

      Governments can not be seen to be doing nothing . . .

      The time to do something was way back in January / February when this first broke. They should have denied entry to ALL Chinese citizens entering the country and those who came from China and other affected areas. Currently we are still allowing aircraft to land from places like Italy. Why ? If the virus mutates to a more deadly form (it is not as dangerous as SARS for example) then we are all buggered no matter what ! Better to let it into the population and allow us to build an immunity.

      People use to give themselves Cow pox because they new, albeit did not understand why, that doing so protects them.

      PS I am a classed as a key worker as I work in the utilities side of my industry.

      • jerry
        Posted March 24, 2020 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

        @Mark B; “People use to give themselves Cow pox because they new, albeit did not understand why, that doing so protects them.”

        Yes, they gave themselves COW POX, not a dose of Small Pox, go find a clue….. 😡

        • Pud
          Posted March 24, 2020 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

          Jerry, the cow pox virus is very closely related to the small pox virus. If you are infected with small pox after cow pox your immune system responds quickly to a recognised threat.

        • jerry
          Posted March 25, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

          @Paul; I’m fully aware of that, thanks, hence my comment!

          But some people posting to this site seem to think we should all catch Small Pox (read as covid-19) rather than Cow Pox (read as a vaccine that doesn’t yet exist), hence producing a natural herd immunity rather than artificial, in doing so they appear to be dismissing the resultant deaths from such a policy as collateral damage, a price worth paying, to maintain the value of their investments or whatever. 🙄

  15. Mr Ecks
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    In 3 weeks the economic rot will be irreversible and the coro will be revealed as a damp squib flu+. Longer than that and the UK is absolutely cooked. Given other countries are even stupider the world economy also.

    Then all the mugs praising Johnson today will discover their job/business/livelihood/savings/home/family future is down the pan. Wait until millions –including 5 million s/e –former Tory core voters whose plight Johnson is ignoring–are trying to sign on to a useless socialistic BluLabour system that takes 16 wks from claim to dole cheque BEFORE millions of extra claims hove into view.

    And once all these people know that they have lost everything because of a hysterical reaction to a minor danger then the morons praising the Dear Leader will instead be baying for his blood. And those most approving of this tinpot tyranny will be baying the loudest.

    Still he has his new tyrannical powers Act.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      Yes. The ‘War’ might not have started yet. But I see NHS staff cars are being vandalised.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 24, 2020 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

        Just take us through – if you can – the reasoning on the part of someone vandalising an NHS worker’s car?

        I get the feeling that you think that it is excusable?

        • Fred H
          Posted March 24, 2020 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

          don’t be ridiculous Martin. You mostly have a valid point of view ( but I don’t agree with it) you are now being outrageous.
          You do entertain by sh!t stirring continuously. I suppose you off on it.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 12:29 pm | Permalink


      Johnson is not a decisive leader. A decisive leader would not have vacillated over whether or not to stop air travel from affected areas. As President Trump has observed, the so called cure may be worse than the illness.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 24, 2020 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        Worse for whom?

        The hundreds of thousands of dead, who would otherwise have lived? Millions perhaps in the US?

        And the millions more bereaved families?

        A clear divide is becoming very apparent, between those to whom life is dirt cheap, and normal people.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 24, 2020 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

          You are becoming desperate to make this a political issue.

    Posted March 24, 2020 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    It is my opinion that what we are seeing is a Tory PM, once again, bending to the political demands of Labour’s client state, including the NHS which is of course now the foundation of Labour’s protectionist racket

    You can see the anger being expressed by articles and opinions at Con-Home and Con-Woman. Both sites have an appreciation of how far the Tory party’s fallen from its moral perch and how they are now in the back-pocket of pro-Labour, large state activist pressure groups

    It’s so sad to see a once great party scrambling around on its knees

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      I heard a GP yesterday moaning that she didn’t have any masks and somehow it was the governments fault?
      As independent contractors, GPs are in direct contact with, and accountable to, those who use their service.
      The GPs knew about this crisis months ago, they have their own stock ordering, why on earth didn’t they order ppe for themselves when there were stocks. I said on this blog months ago our GPs and front line medics must have masks and gloves but the WHO said they weren’t any use – this was ridiculous advice.

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 24, 2020 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

        Because GPs are a sole private business for contracts/accounts and big salaries when it suits them and NHS when things go wrong

        Best of both worlds

  17. Kevin
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Just last month, the Daily Mail quoted Baroness Altman as lamenting that “We are losing the culture of savings which is so important in the long term to the economy”. The article, which was a specific response to National Savings “slashing” its interest rates, also reported campaigners as saying that “people are being deterred from prudently saving for life’s unexpected events” (emphasis added). The cry is not new: it goes back years to the aftermath of the financial crisis.

    There is no use crying over spilt milk, as the saying goes, but there is also no time like the present to critically review the prudence of our current monetary policy. A monetary policy that, after such events as the “telecoms crash” and the aforementioned financial crisis, appears to pin all its hopes on reasonable prospects of continuing employment and pay rises, without helping us to anticipate unexpected events.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      Government has made it impossible to save as the tax/inflation outflanked the interest. Do now we are all in the same boat as the Government, in debt, because we know the Govt will legislate to save itself.

      Norman Tebbit said a long time ago that ‘people act rationally in an irrational situation’. Being in debt is the rational position when Savers are punished (which is irrational).

      Maybe the Govt should implement negative interest rates – I.e paying us for our debt – that will keep a few companies afloat especially as we sink deeper and the payment increase!

  18. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Those who have yearned for Churchillian inspiration on these pages should heed the following message:

    “Lift up your hearts. All will come right. Out of the depths and sorrow of sacrifice will be born again the glory of mankind.”

    Winston Churchill speaking at a dominions conference in London on June 12, 1941.

    Anyone who believes that current events are worse than that of 1939-45 is not only woefully ignorant of history but is also insulting those who endured life in this country throughout that timeframe.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      And that glory was crystallised in the European Union, Churchill’s brilliant vision.

      Reply Which he did not wish the UK to join. He sought for us a Union of the English speaking peoples.

      • bill brown
        Posted March 24, 2020 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

        Sir JR

        And with a protective US I am sure that will work well

        • Edward2
          Posted March 24, 2020 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

          ThecUSA is hitting back mainly against unfair competition from China and unbalanced tariffs on USA vehicle with the EU.
          It is the EU that is getting even more protectionist.

          • bill brown
            Posted March 25, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink


            the whole world is going that way no just the EU

          • Edward2
            Posted March 25, 2020 at 11:27 am | Permalink

            I’m glad you agree.

        • Fred H
          Posted March 24, 2020 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

          well without the US the European countries would have been ruled by Germany. Oh – they are aren’t they! doh!

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 24, 2020 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        That is your interpretation of one of his speeches, John.

        He made others, more than one, suggesting that the UK should be at the heart of Europe.

        But do you deny, that you would like to see the end of the European Union, his vision?

        If you do then your followers will be disappointed I surmise.

        Reply He made various speeches all saying the UK would not be part of the EU. See Fulton Missouri speech. Above all see his History of the English Speaking Peoples which was all about that vision. He did not write a History of the European Peoples!

        • Edward2
          Posted March 24, 2020 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

          I have never heard Sir John ever say he wanted the end of the EU.
          You make these fanciful claims Martin but really you have no facts to back it up.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 24, 2020 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

            Well, I invited him to deny it, and he could have done so here had he wished.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 25, 2020 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

            It was your false claim.
            You need to have some facts or evidence to back it up before you start making your nonsense.

  19. Annette
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    What exactly is classed as a ‘critical’ job? Critical to the business itself or State/Police approved, given the extraordinary powers that the Govt intends to grant itself, despite existing legislation? Yesterday’s announcement made things less clear for many workers, particularly SMEs & the self-employed.

    Many had been sensibly adjusting to the changing circumstances, being careful & reducing where necessary. Many do not have the ability to run core functions remotely. Many need to run the payroll for monthly pay at the end of this week. Is paying the workers a critical function? Many need to bank their cash, but now do not know if they can. Is that a critical function? Is paying creditors, so that suppliers receive cashflow, which keeps that company afloat, a critical function? Is security of (closed to the public) business premises a critical job? Until yesterday, many workers at least had an idea of what they could do and should not do.

    Deliberately destroying the private sector, who are the only people who pay actual taxes, as a sacrifice to save RNHS is beyond parody. It appears that Boris has acquiesced to the globalist msm fear factories flooding the zone with calls for ever more draconian controls over, and withdrawal (suspension has never been used) of liberties, of the plebs. I’d hoped that he would’ve been stronger. Does slavishly following EU policy mean that much to him? It’s just can kicking the problem down the road, not flattening the infection rate, & destroying the economy on the way for good measure.

    So while much of the country is under effective house arrest, the borders are still open & the RNLI taxi service for illegals continues regardless, which shows ordinary people that they don’t really matter.
    I will look forward to the tractor production figures next month, comrade.

  20. Shirley M
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    We are a household of 2 pensioners. We don’t mind self isolation as we can always find plenty to do in the house and garden, however we will be forced to go out if we want to eat.

    I have tried to get a food delivery but there is none available, therefore one of us will be forced to attend a shop or supermarket. The delivery services cannot cope with the demand. Can anything be done to help them?

    • stred
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      Taxis have little to do. why not ask them to do the shopping? Or neighbours with a car. We have 2 offers already.

  21. Ian @Barkham
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    The only real tool left in the armoury for the survival of business, economy and us as individuals is that not so common ‘Common Sense’

    Social distances will play a great part, those that don’t, need to be chastised. Everyone is part of the solution and everyone has a responsibly to cause the right result. Every little chink in playing along just prolongs the situation, creates more job losses, puts the economy into a deep recession and more lives in danger.

    Government should lead and be seen to be in accord with what they preach. There is absolutely no need in our modern world for the HoC to meet in that place, there is no need for face to face press conferences by Government, its advisors and so on.

    The Main stream Media and the majority of the MP’s already have on their own desktops the means to carry on remotely and still function to the full. For most that would be MS Office 365 with its built conferencing and sharing capability called ‘Teams’ – there are of course a multitude of similar products. 44million people world wide were actively carrying on as normal remotely last week, having meetings, receiving teaching and conversations. But not in Government.

    To save the economy Government has to get real its not one rule for them and another for everyone else, they now desperately need to be ‘seen’ to be doing what they are asking every other individual to do.

    While we all appreciate this is a fast moving, evolving situation. Yes life and health is important just is the economy to weather the storm is. All the time one section of society is going against the desired direction they preach especially when the alternatives are well established and founded. They themselves become the problem and not the answer. You get to ask is Government putting ego above the national need?

    The quickest cheapest way for normality in the economy to recover is to practice what we preach. The current 12 week project to save jobs and the economy is slipping all the while we are ‘ALL’ not pulling in the same direction.

  22. villaking
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Sir John,
    Your point is well made and I agree. To restrict our freedom in this way is not something that can continue long term. The solution must not be worse than the problem it is trying to solve and I am glad that we have some guardians of liberty like you in parliament who can see this.

  23. Caterpillar
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    It is known that mortality is pro-cyclical in Europe so for the Govt to make the decisions seemingly based on a Covid19 focus only is startling. As I indicated yesterday following this path without publishing several years of complete scenario forecasts of raw and standardised mortality rates (also by age band) is essentially a huge gamble with lives, whilst the economy and freedom are obviously lost. Such forecasts need to be shown against the last few decades for us to see what the numbers really mean.

    About 630,000 people would have been expected to die in the coming year without Covid19, these people have lost their freedom, their social interactions and support. In the early days of the epidemic the PM and advisors seemed to recognise this, no longer is this consideration shown.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      No..because he is influenced by those who want the economy to crash!

  24. Stred
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    It should be possible for construction workers to stay separate and avoid using the hut at the same time by having breaks at different times. The site foreman could be trained to organise hygiene. Unfortunately, as I write there are gang of water company workers taking no notice of the idea of distancing whatsoever.

    Posted March 24, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Today’s Daily Telegraph telling it as it is. Their front page is a damning indictment of this PM and his weakness when confronted with the power of Labour’s client state including the NHS. We saw this with Cameron and May

    • Everhopeful
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      We did …because none of them are conservatives.
      Boris is prodded and led by the Left.

  26. Everhopeful
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Govt has surpassed itself in total idiocy…even taking the “Brexit” pantomime into consideration.
    I bet they wish they had a few police and soldiers to actually enforce the nonsense!
    And why have a just-in-time food supply when apparently a pandemic was considered inevitable ( Gates’ simulation 2019?).

    I have read that Germany is still welcoming refugees, by the way. UK too actually with immediate testing for virus!!

    • Luddite
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      The police and soldiers will get the virus if they mix. the more they interact. Our army should be abroad…out of harms way ( paradoxically). We may need them when we have a real crisis and not the one constructed by the powers at that be.

  27. Bob
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Chloroquine inhibits replication of the virus in human cells.
    It has been widely used as an anti malarial drug for many decades and it was proven to be effective when used in the treatment of SARS another coronavirus with similar characteristics to COVID-19.

    • forthurst
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately the government have all got Arts degrees earned after spending three years writing essays. I read somewhere that the mathematical pre-requisite for PPE degree courses was knowledge of differentiation, something I leaned at 13/14 for O level. They will not do anything until they are told by their Chief Scientific Advisor.
      ” [At GSK] He championed open innovation and novel industry-academic partnerships globally,[6][24][22] and maintained a strong focus on the search for new antibiotics and treatments for tropical diseases.” wiki. So what is his view on chloroquine as a treatment for covid-19?

    • Slave driver
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      It is essential we believe it does whether it does or not, The world will not survive with Americans not on the job. They have to get back to work

  28. Peter
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    “If it were up to the doctors, they may say let’s keep it shut down – let’s shut down the entire world,” he said.
    “You can’t do that with a country – especially the No. 1 economy anywhere in the world.”
    President Trump

    I imagine that will resonate with many.

  29. Everhopeful
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    When are they coming to seal up the doors? Sealing us in with the contagion.
    Will they paint a cross on the doors?
    Do the epidemiologists think we are lab ants??

    • Richard1
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      pls post your suggestions

      • Everhopeful
        Posted March 24, 2020 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

        Not certain what you mean but personally I would never have shut down local hospitals and I would always have had spare capacity ( empty wards) as they used to have IN CASE OF AN EVENT LIKE THIS.
        Also isolating the sick AWAY from the healthy is a very good idea…not shutting up sick and healthy together. ( As in shut your family away together if one of you feels a bit ill).
        Bring back the fever wagon.

  30. Stred
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    The letter to confirm that I am holed up for three months has not arrived but a text from NHS no reply. It tells me to find out what to do by clicking the GP website which results in a choice of other accounts that I don’t have or want to have before I can look at it. The other choice is to click the Facebook link which I did and am asked for my account, which I don’t have or never used. They pester me with unwanted ridiculous contacts and I can’t find a way to stop it. So I tried to open a new account but it wants passwords etc which I don’t have. Why the hell can’t they just email it or put ona link that works. It must be run by some geek of a smart phone. Naturally, the phone is engaged.

  31. Tom Rogers
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Why has the government not closed the border? That is the very first step that should have been taken. It’s now two months down the line and people are still crossing the border and flying in.

    Instead, you lock down society and assume dictatorial powers over everybody. I hope as many people as possible defy you and ignore these new laws and carry on with normal life.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      Yes, government saying they are doing everything they can, but then leaving a gaping hole in what they should have done a month ago.
      Who are the people that will spread the virus? The kind that like to travel and meet people, pick up their bugs and then pass them on to others.
      Shut down the airports day one and manage the very few cases that still get through. Apply quarantine to returning UK citizens. But of course government in their dubious wisdom decided not to do this.
      There are some complaining they can’t get back from Australia and New Zealand, and one wonders why they are out there in the first place whilst all this is going on.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      Strange isn’t it, as at 15:00 24th march the channel tunnel, ferries and flights are still operating and open

  32. Anthony Pollock
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    The High Street Banks (HSB) are in the business of only giving loans to those who they consider are able to repay any loan granted. Since 2008/9 this has led the high street banks to restricting loans to SME businesses, due to their increasing risk adverse attitudes post 2008. The Government’s loan scheme to businesses is being administered by the same risk adverse HSB. Since the government is only guaranteeing 80% this leaves 20% at risk to the HSB’s, who will apply normal lending criteria to the 20%. Therefore those businesses who are most at need due to reductions of up to 100% of their turnover and have had a difficult trading period over the last few years will not qualify. Most businesses will struggle to repay these loans following the damage done to the economy by this virus. These loans should be grants not loans and should be up to 100% of businesses need, since the objective is to keep as much of the business sector ready to recommence business in 3 months time when this crisis is over. Without these loans being grants recovery will take a long time, the tax take will be depressed and government borrowing will balloon over the rest of this parliament. Treating the £330bn as a grant rather than a loan will repay 10 to 100 fold in getting back to work after the crisis is over.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      My impression from the banks so far is they will refuse almost all loans by saying.

      A. You the owner have other assets and should use those so get lost.
      B. You business does not look like a going concern and you do not have sufficient assets for security so get lost.

      Not only will they be useless they will be worse than useless as they will waste you time and money in the process.

  33. Iago
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    I’ve just checked the flights arriving at Heathrow – flights from Italy, one flight from Iran and several flights from China. I stopped checking at the 3.30 p.m. mark this afternoon. Numerous flights from all over the world. I presume the pick-up service in the Channel is continuing.
    What does this government and civil service think it is doing? to whom does it owe allegiance?
    The borders should be closed, the thousands of lorries and drivers arriving at Dover and Holyhead should be turned back, the containers can come by container ship.

    • Original Chris
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      This is very important, Iago, and there should be rigorous questioning of the PM for permitting this. Action is needed to stop these flights, and quickly.

  34. Bryan Harris
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    As well as adjusting our behaviour and so on while the emergency lasts, there is something just as important that minister and MP’s should be working on…
    When this is all over, and whatever of our society has survived, we need indepth plans to revitalize the economy and start up with a run…. We can’t do, as we did after WW2 had broken our economy simply wait for things to improve. We need plans to make sure things do improve

    With so much time on our hands, generally speaking – Now is the time to start the debate on what kind of society we want to be in the future.

    • Saturn
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      We must ensure no MP other than JR is ever elected again.
      We’ve been through this scenario many times in our past, even post WWII and worked through it. It was the only way. It is the only practical way, It’s a deathly way. This year, the government has suddenly spotted a new kid on the virus block and continues to ignore the others ongoing. Trump mentioned again today the 50,000 dead in the USA “this season from flu. “No international US TV broadcaster chose to televise LIVE their own President, their own Head of State, the Leader of the Free World. One network did mention he repeated it today for seven seconds. This is where where at. Panic at the top of Europe and 55% of the top of the USA, not in government of the USA. We’ll see if Fisheyes Schumer of the Dem Party and Pelosi the Erratic will allow a world needed law in Congress in the next few hours which they knocked back yesterday for spite alone

    • Mark
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      I vote for Wirtschaftswunder not Energiewende. And the spirit that saw the formation of GATT.

  35. Ian @Barkham
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    If there was enough common sense out their in society it could be easily reasoned with 3 weeks of washing thoroughly, self distancing and self isolation. We would have collectively killed the virus, as it couldn’t find a home, couldn’t transmit so has no point.

    Therefore the economic measure would no longer be needed

    If it is still around in 3 weeks it will demonstrate how selfish society has become. ‘When I get ill – its your problem, do your job make me better and stuff the economy it is someone else that will finance it.’

    Any bets on the outcome?

  36. Bob
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,
    Since the govt have virtually closed down the economy, is it okay if I ignore the demand for business rates due on 1st April?

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      good luck with that

  37. Tabulazero
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    It’s incredible that you want to pile on the disruptive impact of a no-deal Brexit on top of all the disruption brought by Covid-19 simply for the sake of ideology.

    Maybe the first thing the government could do is to stop mutilating the economy for the sake of the Conservative party ?

    • Fred H
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      The disruptive impact is STILL discussing it – 4 years on. The laughable negotiating project should be abandoned, and we walk away.

  38. Lester Beedell
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Has Boris Johnson ever tried ordering an online delivery in the present crisis?

    I regularly shop in Sainsbury’s in Chippenham, I signed up for a home delivery but apparently I’m not vulnerable, I’m 74 and have a heart condition, I’ve tried phoning the help line to explain my circumstances but it’s permanently engaged, what to do, am I forced to drive in and risk dying?
    None of the other supermarkets have any delivery slots either

    • Yes you ARE
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      You should listen to the news on TV. You ARE vulnerable. You ARE receiving food. You ARE being taken care of. Deliveries ARE being made to you. No reason why you don’t just sit in your home,keep you distance and don’t tell lies about what happened a week after you ARE dead. Oh and stop being selfish. You ARE selfish, it says so on TV

  39. Jiminyjim
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Sir John, a number of your followers have been mentioning international flights. If you look on a piece of software called flightradar24, you will see the staggering number of incoming and outgoing flights not just in this country but globally that are happening right now. I could not count the number in UK airspace there were so many, but in the last few minutes have identified BA flights to San Jose, Cancun and Rio de Janeiro and incoming flights from Dubai, Doha and Montego Bay, out of thousands of others. If the government wants us to heed the PM’s advice, something is going to have to be done about this, before people start treating the restrictions with contempt. And, M i C, you may be interested to note the huge number of flights still arriving in places like Spain!

  40. John McDonald
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John,
    Here again I must be miss-understanding the message you are sending.
    There is an underlying concern about the economic damage and this has delayed quick action months ago. We have references to the Governments advisors. You did not need to be an expert to see what was happening in China and take action.
    The Government has no money only the tax payer. I support what the government is doing with our money and looks like the grandchildren’s money as well. But I do not see how private ownership works when the chimps are down. In Capitalism if a business fails it should go to the wall. The banks and big business want it both ways
    They are best at reducing their tax and thus not passing on profits made from the tax payer back to the tax payer in reduced tax rates.
    The Chinese seem to be going back to ecomonic business as usual after 4 months
    with the outbreak limited to regions given there regions are large areas. Clearly the EU and UK have failed to act as one large managed region when the people needed it
    But big business did not.

  41. Freeborn John
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    I see remainers are using Covid-19 in their campaign for extension of the May/Hammond brexit standstill transition. Once conceded the U.K. would find the EU treats this as the U.K. blinking in negotiations making it likely they will stick to their hardline negotiating mandate for a new-colonial status for the U.K. Yet we hear nothing from brexit supporting MPs to counter this Remain campaign and the PM himself appears to have gone wobbly in no longer categorically ruling out an extension. Can you raise this with the government and get assurances that the defeated Remain movement will not grasp a BiNO victory at the last minute.

  42. bill brown
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Sir JR

    Sitting Asia and working and with two family members with the disease already and probably another million catching it in the UK. I am troubled how we in the UK are dealing with this crisis( and how it is described by the Europeans looking at the UK) and with PM who does not know how to deal with the job in a crisis I am sadden and very worried for the old country and its population

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      Bill are your two family members in hospital and tested for covid19? How long have they had it?

      • bill brown
        Posted March 25, 2020 at 2:46 am | Permalink

        about a week and one has been tested and they are in quarantine self imposed

        • a-tracy
          Posted March 25, 2020 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

          Sorry to hear that Bill I hope they soon recover, is the person tested in hospital? I’m curious how they got a test last week, which County are they in?

    • Jiminyjim
      Posted March 24, 2020 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      Please Bill, let us have all the info you have, it may be far more valuable than your miserable political insights

      • bill brown
        Posted March 25, 2020 at 3:22 pm | Permalink


        thank you so much for all you support and affections

  43. nhsgp
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Given this, the best outcome now must be a severe but short lived clampdown with a resulting drop in numbers getting the disease,
    All the clamp down does is limit the peak, but it makes for a long lived clamp down.
    You are wrong if you think this will be short.
    Even the rest of MPs know this, because they have voted for a 2 year curtailing of rights.

  44. Nessimmersion
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    As we are all in this together, the moral thing to do would be for all public sector workers to take a 20% pay cut to show solidarity with all the private sector taxpayers who are currently unable to earn money due to govt decrees.
    It would demonstrate that public sector workers do not believe in different rules for themselves.

  45. ChrisS
    Posted March 24, 2020 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    There is obviously a trade-off between closing down the economy by differing degrees and lives lost, but that is not the right measurement.

    The real test is the total number of human life-years that would be lost if the extreme measures were not enacted, rather than the number of those that lose their life over the short period during which we hope the epidemic will have run its course.

    I am not qualified to make these calculations but it appears that those who are losing their lives are in the very poorest of health whose life expectancy is inevitably much more limited than that of the general population.

    Using the life-years lost measurement is likely to drastically affect the assessment of the overall risk if a figure can be put on the cost in human terms of the dramatic reduction in GDP that the current precautions are going to cause.

    We also have to remember that, if 80% of us are inevitably going to be infected and the recovery time is only two-three weeks, 99.9% of those predominantly younger, healthier individual who catches the virus and recover will then be immune. They will not need to take any further precautions when they go back to work and can help get the economy back on track.

    Many reading this post will be alarmed at these suggestions but I should state that, while neither my wife or I are quite 70, we are taking the necessary precautions very seriously because I have one underlying health condition which puts me into the vulnerable group.

  • 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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