Cash shortages

Many self employed are worried that their business has dried up, removing their income. Many small companies are concerned that they have been closed down temporarily for an unspecified time period but still have to pay rent, other overheads and employees pay. They welcomed the government pledge to pay 80% of the wage bill up to a ceiling, but still have to wait for the scheme to deliver them some cash.

So what do they do? They will turn to the banks. On Wednesday the Chancellor and Governor of the Bank of England wrote to all the banks, reminding them of the  various schemes set out to allow more lending to business. They told them to “take all action necessary to ensure the benefits of these measures outlined above are passed through to business and consumers”.

That’s fine advice,  but the banks have to operate within the rules of the schemes and within the confines of the Regulatory system that governs them. As the lending to  business schemes offer a government guarantee of 80% of the loan, the banks still need to take care with the 20% they could lose. As the scheme says the banks need to reclaim personal guarantees and cash in collateral assets before claiming losses under the scheme, banks will obviously feel the need to apply some  criteria about collateral and future cashflow projections when making the loans.

There will be difficult judgements for banks to make. How much of a business case can they expect from a company that has lost all its turnover and does not know when it will trade again? How much of a personal guarantee or pledged asset can they require, when this lending is for an extraordinary purpose, a temporary collapse of revenue, which is not about to be reinstated but will be permanently lost?

Banks still have to keep capital buffers and ensure the future solvency of their businesses, so have to keep an eye on the possible loss rate on this type of lending. Meanwhile the companies suffering from the shock of no money coming in are not that keen on a loan as they wish to avoid becoming heavily indebted for past losses that cannot be easily replaced.

The self employed need the money they would be earning to pay their domestic bills as well as meet their business commitments. The scheme outlined yesterday helps a bit, but leaves higher earners very short of cash though they may well have commitments commensurate with their normal earnings level. All this points to one inescapable conclusion. If this cessation of activity continues for too long there will  be a lot of lost businesses and considerable longer term economic damage. In the short term the government has not done enough to avoid redundancies and the loss of some small businesses.

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  1. Stephen Priest
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    Isn’t it time for public sector workers, including the BBC, earning over a certain amount of money to take a pay cut?

    Maybe all salaries should be capped at £70,ooo for example. That will give Laura Kuenssberg, for example, something new to talk about.

    An exception could be made for medical staff in the NHS, but not managers or admin staff.

    • jerry
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:03 am | Permalink

      @Stephen Priest; Why not just cap all salaries or profits at your suggested £70,000 and complete your right-wing version of Communism! The BBC (for example) pays the market value for the job done to their employees, why should someone working for one of the commercial or subscription broadcasters be allowed to earn more than those who do the same work at the BBC?

      • miami.mode
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

        jerry, it’s all about income. The BBC gets it automatically but others have to work for it. Have a look at ITV share price.

        • jerry
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

          @miami.mode; We have had this debate before. I have no choice in funding ITV (and Sky to so me extent), they are no different to the BBC, nay, they are actually worse as those without a TV still pay for ITV.

          You argument only works for within totally subscription model

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        Because they are not paid under duress by the license fee!

      • Pud
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

        Are you seriously suggesting that it’s necessary to pay £1.75 million a year in order to attract someone willing to talk about football?

        • jerry
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

          @Paul; No I am not, & personally I think it’s crazy but that’s what the free market has decided, how much do BSkyB pay their pundits?…

          • dixie
            Posted March 28, 2020 at 6:10 am | Permalink

            The market hasn’t decided this, the BBC has chosen to pay at that level.

            Why does a public services broadcaster have to broadcast sport (and so much else) and why must it pay top quartile wages?

          • Pud
            Posted March 28, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

            Sky Sports costs more than £20/month on top of the standard subscription and is paid by volunteers. The BBC is funded by compelling any TV viewer to buy a licence, regardless of whether they watch any BBC programmes. The BBC’s justification for being funded by licence is that it can then make programmes that would not be made by a commercial station, so why does it compete with Sky on pundit salaries?

          • jerry
            Posted March 28, 2020 at 9:20 am | Permalink

            @dixie; The market has decided these pay-grades, problem is broadcasters such as ITV and Sky are not forced to publish how much they pay their pundits etc. and that’s how those who designed this anti BBC brickbat wanted it.

            Why does any TV channel have to cover sport? Perhaps because their audiences want it, likes it, so the real question should perhaps be why allow subscription TV channels to lock such content away, after all ITV & Ch4 used to show a far more sport on a commercial basis FTA.

          • jerry
            Posted March 28, 2020 at 11:57 am | Permalink

            @Paul; No one is being forced to pay the TVL fee, people are being forced to fund advertising, even those who choose not to own a TV nor access on-line content from the UK broadcasters.

            Trying to single out the BBC, mostly as a scapegoat [1], does nothing but show up gross ignorance of the broadcast industry. Sure there is a debate to be had about how the UK broadcast industry is funded but it must involve all broadcasters, not just the BBC.

            [1] no one rants about the left wing bias now so obvious on Sky News, no one rants that much about the left wing bias found on Ch4

          • Edward2
            Posted March 28, 2020 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

            All companies spend money to advertise and market their products and services.
            There are many outlets to choose from.
            TV is just one.
            But I’ve worked for companies who sometimes use TV advertising.
            The price of the product is already set.
            Usually the product has been on sale for months or years.
            The idea is that by increasing sales through greater brand awareness via the medium of TV extra profits will be made.
            Sometimes by those extra sales economies are made and the price remains stable or even falls.
            So it’s not always true to say you pay for commercial TV when you buy say a jar of coffee or some washing up liquid.
            In fact there are many brands available that never advertise on TV which you could buy instead.

          • miami.mode
            Posted March 28, 2020 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

            jerry, there are numerous knowledgeable ex-professional footballers who would be delighted to act as pundits for the BBC on far less salaries than at present, just as they have ex-professionals in other sports.

          • jerry
            Posted March 28, 2020 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; Of course a factory-gate or checkout price is set pre advertising, but that price is set at a level which allows profits to be made post any (TV) advertising.

            “there are many brands available that never advertise on TV”

            Except sales of such products, especially those with high churn sales, often fund products that do need to be promoted to boost brand awareness, especially new products. The problem with your suggestion is knowing which products are subsidising other TV adverts and which are not, also the ownership of a product or brand is less than clear to say the least.

            Also, if someone doesn’t watch TV how do they know which products to avoid?!

          • jerry
            Posted March 28, 2020 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

            @miami.mode; That also applies to the commercial and subscription sector, so why is the market rate still so high for such pundits?

            Whilst I agree the TV talent/pundit market is absurd, attacking the BBC is not going to do anything other than nobble the BBC’s need to compete for such talent to maintain (subjective) presentation quality.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 28, 2020 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

            There are a a few new supermarkets that sell products that are never advertised on TV.
            So if you are concerned that a tiny part of your hard earned money goes towards paying for adverts on TV then buy from them.
            You have free choice.

          • jerry
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; But who makes the products that are sold in those supermarkets, do they advertise on TV and thus the profits made from supplying own-label brands to wholesale and retail go towards the promotional budget – how does the customer know?

            As for your rather silly second paragraph, I’m not at all concerned that a tiny part of my hard earned money goes towards paying commercial broadcasters, but you do seem to be very worried that a tiny party of your hard earned money has to pay the TVL fee – all of about 0.05p per day!

            You are correct about one thing though Edward2, people have a choice, no one is being forced to watch broadcast TV, just as I’m not being forced to buy expensive TV advertised branded products!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      I agree self employed who are earning over £50K get nothing I understand. Landlords get nothing and there tenants are encouraged not to pay rents too.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink


      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

        Many who can afford to pay will doubtless choose not to bother.

        I see that the Australians have relaxed the rules to allow people to access to pension fund. Why on earth have the UK not done this yet. The rules here stop you drawing if you want to continue contributing later or if you are under 55. Just let people borrow from it and pay it back later if they wish to.

    • Bob
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      “not managers or admin staff.”

      Diversity managers should be the first to go. Or give them a real job, preferably involving a mop and a bucket.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      Well, I seem to recall that that is how public bodies used to be generally.

      The BBC handbook at the time indicated that the then Director General, Alistair Milne, was paid about twice what a senior cameraman was, forty years ago.

      By the time of Mark Thompson it was about twenty times.

      I don’t think that the BBC really employs operational staff these days with which to compare, however.

      • jerry
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        @MiC; “I don’t think that the BBC really employs operational staff these days with which to compare, however.”

        Of course they do, who do you think make the programmes, it’s just that many are employed by subsidiaries, such as BBC Studios.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

          I think that you will find that most operational broadcast staff are either freelancers, or employees of outsourced contractors these days.

          • jerry
            Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

            @MiC: So are MPs, they are all self employed, your point being what?!

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

            Reread my original post.

            The last paragraph is a mere supplement.

          • jerry
            Posted March 28, 2020 at 9:23 am | Permalink

            @MiC: However one reads your original comment you are still wrong!

    • Andy
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      The obsession the hard right have with Laura Kuenssberg. She is a journalist
      – and a very good one. Her job is to ask difficult questions of ministers. She is not there to be a cheerleader for them. Perhaps if Brexiteers and climate change deniers were not so bad at answering questions the experience would be less painful for you all?

      • Stephen Priest
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        At the daily briefings everything Laura Kuenssberg asks has already been covered in full detail by Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer, Sir Patrick John Thompson Vallance, The Chief Scientific Adviser or the Prime Minister.

        She either hasn’t bothered to listen to what was being said or just wants to continue the BBC’s agenda of blaming Boris for the virus.

        The woman from Sky Beth Rigby is just as bad, as is Robert Peston and most of the others

        Yesterday Clive Myrie, BBC newsreader said the Government had been severely criticised for not helping the self employed sooner, when all the problem helping the self employed have been discussed endlessly for the past week.

        Do you really think if a Labour Government had enacted all the same policies as Boris the been would be constantly looking for fault? The likes of Clive Myrie would be saying “the government has been widely praised for all its action it has taken.”

      • Edward2
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

        Laura mainly gets great abuse from the hard left.
        You get more bizarre with every post Andy.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        I tend to agree that (by BBC standards) Laura is better than most. But she is still an art graduate (History Edinburgh) with little grasp of science, maths, economics, business or logic. Needless to say like almost everyone else at the BBC she is of the left, PC, pro EU and a climate alarmist – I think it is compulsory to get a job there.

        Diversity at the BBC yes in religion, colour, race, sexual orientation, genders, disabilities etc. but no diversity in opinions. You are expected to be wrong headed on all of the above.

        • Fred H
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

          Five Core Principles of Journalism.
          Truth and Accuracy. Journalists cannot always guarantee ‘truth’, but getting the facts right is the cardinal principle of journalism. …
          Independence. …
          Fairness and Impartiality. …
          Humanity. …

          The BBC reject applicants who show any weakness by admiring even one of the above.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

            Do you know Fred, that the UK is one of the few countries of Europe, in which defamation – of either a natural or legal persona – is not a criminal offence?

            I think that a lot is explained by this.

          • Fred H
            Posted March 28, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

            Yes – so you have to go through the Civil courts – but money can buy you justice. Or risk bankruptcy.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

        No mention of wet markets.

        Plenty about chlorinated chicken by the BBC though.

        Well. We could be about to have a new leading super power before long. Wonder how you’ll like it.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      Some special taxation of state sector of gold plated state sector/BBC pensions is needed too. Why should pension for the private sector be so very much less than average state sector ones?

      • MWB
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        All public sector defined benefit pensions should be stopped from this point on, and be replaced with new defined contribution schemes, just like the private sector.
        This, of course, would include MPs, and give them a valuable insight into how the private sector lives.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

          A bit of a catch there, as Turkey very rarely vote for Christmas.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        Most ordinary workers, in both the sectors, across the Channel still have Defined Benefit occupational pensions.

        Just because people voted Tory here and lost many of them over the years is no reason to attack those who still manage to have them.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

          There are many examples of private sector defined benefit pensions in the UK, in er, banking, for example.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

          Gordon Brown ruined many pensions with his tax raids.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

            Not really, Edward.

            Gordon Brown introduced a dividend tax for managed pension funds, just as many countries have. It cost an estimated average of less than a hundred pounds per beneficiary per year, to be met by increased employee and employer contributions.

            In fact it helped many funds, because they changed their composition away from shares, protecting them from the 2008 crash.

            The Tories have never reversed it, and it would make little difference to pensions if they did.

            People went into BTL etc. because of appalling annuity rates, and not because of that.

          • Fred H
            Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

            and saving….little point anymore (at least in the UK).

          • Edward2
            Posted March 28, 2020 at 7:07 am | Permalink

            Yes really Martin
            The dividend tax took many billions out of pension funds.
            It affected their cumulative growth rates badly.
            As did the zero interest rate policy adopted by government.

    • JoolsB
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      Having to wait until June before the self employed can even apply for any Government money shows just how out of touch our politicians are. They need support now. In the meantime they are advised to get themselves into even more debt by borrowing just to make ends meet. Meanwhile the employed, the employers, the small business, the large businesses are all guaranteed 80% of their incomes or grants. Why can’t the self employed be given grants in the same way the small businesses are? What has this Government got against the self employed John?

      • JoolsB
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

        Don’t know why my comment popped up here. It’s gone through twice by mistake.

    • JoolsB
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      Ain’t gonna happen Stephen. Why would politicians implement that when they’ve just given themselves yet another pay rise to £82,000 a year?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

        Well MPs would of course exempt themselves or it would never be voted through!

    • James1
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      It would be more sensible to simply remove many public sector workers into the productive private sector. It’s production that is important, so that more gooDo and services are available.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        So education, fighting fire and crime, defending the nation, administering justice, and treating the sick are not “productive” are they?

        Incidentally, where have you been, while the disaster of privatising the probation service became so evident?

        • Edward2
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

          You talk only of front line public sector staff.
          Check out the all the Quangos agencies and fringe ministries.

        • Anonymous
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

          By *productive* he means producing money.

          The things you list COST money.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Why exempt the NHS medical staff, it was only a couple of months ago that senior consultant doctors fought and won concessions to their tax arrangements otherwise they would limit there hours

      ….and we are all in it together

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

        Were these just for NHS staff or everyone?

    • Nessimmersion
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      Wholeheartedly agree with the above.
      Alternatively no one in the public sector should earn more than the PM, that includes local councils & charidees where there is some govt funding.
      This will help show we are all in it together, especially given the 1/4 million we’ve just added to unemployment due to govt by hysteria.

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        fully agree…no one in pulic service should earn more than the PM

        • Ted Treen
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

          None of them earn more than the PM – althoiugh many are paid more.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

          exactly, and the PM should take a pay cut. Mrs T paid rent for the Downing Street flat and refused the pay rises approved by Parliament for themselves.

          • Peter Parsons
            Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

            Instead of pay rises for MPs, she introduced the expenses system, and we all know how that turned out…

          • APL
            Posted March 28, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink

            Peter Parsons; “she introduced the expenses system, and we all know how that turned out…”

            Perhaps we should scrap MPs expenses system, their gold plated pensions, and their above inflation self awarded ( now through a proxy ) pay rises.

            And see if the supply of candidates dries up.

            Reply The main part of the expenses system is to pay staff salaries and overhead costs of running an office. Most people get this paid for them by their employer without having to claim it.
            The pay rises are entirely independent from IPSA because people objected to the old system where we debated and voted on our own pay.

          • APL
            Posted March 28, 2020 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

            JR: “The pay rises are entirely independent from IPSA ”

            Thank you, that was the proxy I was referring to.

            But it wasn’t my point. If all those thing went away, would the supply of prospective Parliamentary candidates, dry up?

            Reply No. The point is do you want to deter people without savings and other income from doing the job? Should MPs be paid so much less than the civil servants they are meant to lead or influence?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

          +1 and state sector pension should be pinned to the average of private sector worker. They are on average about 5 times better last time I looked.

      • Stephen Priest
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        I’ve always the the Prime Minister’s salary of around £150K should be the highest publicly funded salary. I am sure most BBC auto cue news Readers could live on a lower salary than the average MP.

  2. agricola
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    Loans, unless they are interest free, are no answer.there is also the forward burden of repaying them. Involving the banks is a big mistake. They lost their credibility long ago and have done little to regain it. The answer is direct grants to companies and the self employed, in most cases using HMRC as the paying agent. Government needs to supply the cash to HMRC. Cash I might add that government pays next to nothing for.

    If taken up the present scheme will result in the banks owning everything but being clueless as to how to run them, having broken off the direct link via an informed bank manager years ago. Banks make money through monopoly and setting their own interest rates. There isn’t an entrepreneurial gene amongst them.

    At first glance I thought the government was heading in the right direction, but closer examination suggests to me that they will cease business activity or end up achieving the nationalisation that Corbyn designed and descended into political oblivion through.

    However you wrap it up, I get the impression that you are not too enamoured of it either. You are trying to explain it rather than selling it.

    • jerry
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      Indeed who will take out a loan, on what is in effect still a commercial basis, when no one can be sure that there will be a company to carry on trading when ever this necessary but enforced shut-down ends.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      The banks are indeed almost useless. Good to hear that Corbyn has finally picked up on the rip off banks charging 40% interest rates (one size for all personal facilities) thanks largely to the foolish FCA rules. One of the big four banks charges a daily overdraft “fee” this is actually about 78%APR.

      The rest of what Corbyn said this morning was his usual magic money tree lunacy. Everyone should be given almost everything by the state. He seems to think almost everyone should should work for the state already hugely bloated and very inefficient state sector. Presumably living off the back of the circa 10% left not working for the state (who would do most of the productive activity) and each be taxed at about 20 times what they earn to carry the 90%. That should work well.

      Although many people working for the NHS are indeed very hard working and almost saintly and deserve the clapping and cheering, the system as a whole is appalling. As we have seen endless outrages at many hospitals and thousands of people’s lives “shortened” as they like to put it. As we see even now with the lack of essential PPE gear (and distribution problems) putting both staff, patents and their families at risk. A virtual state monopoly health car system free at the point of use is idiotic.

      Let us hope they get their act together very soon to minimise deaths due to the dire lack of ICU capacity, equipment and rather poor organisation.

    • Peter R
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Where this proposal fails is that it bases the help on a proportion of profit. Those self employed people who are running a profit will have built up reserves. It is the ones who have been barely covering their expenses or even running at a loss who most need the help.

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

        correct and a true reflection of the current status of the self employment

    • Stred
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      Dead right. Who would risk the bank asset stripping the business and home in three months time? HMRC have just tsken this year’s tax in advance. They even demanded ours in advance this year after we had paid it in advance already last year, then had to refund it. They could refund it quickly to every self employed person and business in weeks. June is too late to keep going while paying extortionate interest to banks. Also £50k is a ridiculously low limit. This is nothing for any successful business forced to close down by order. Sunak and Johnson have too much money to realise how small businesses work and HMRC couldn’t care less so long as they maximise tax for public sector pay and pensions.

    • MrVeryAngry
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      Think of those ‘direct grants’ as ‘tax rebates’.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      Quite so. The Bank of England must become the Bank for England and lend at the rates available to it on the world market. British business must be allowed to refinance at that rate. Then we stand a chance of surviving. If the Banks lose their middle-man status that is just reward for being the tip off merchants that they are, and irresponsible too.
      Also scrap the International Aid budget for heavens sake!

  3. bill brown
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    Sir JR

    Keep pushing for the self-employed I am in total agreement , the government has till not done enough for the smaller businesses and the self-employed.

    Posted March 27, 2020 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    This Tory government destroys private companies and small businesses and yet refuses to reform the BBC and Labour’s client State. Indeed, I would argue we won’t see any reform at all going forward to any public sector body

    There’s only one winner from this entire farce, LABOUR and the LEFT. They’ve become immeasurably more powerful with the NHS being one of their most powerful political weapons

    Well done Boris. We now know where you true loyalties lie and it isn’t with the private sector

    • Stephen Priest
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      There is some hope. For example I’ve yet to hear anyone say that the NHS is crying out for more admin workers and senior managers to fight coronavirus.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

      Last night, around 8pm, people started cheering and clapping the NHS. Not me ! Not that I do not appreciate the fine work ambulance crews, medical staff and even cleaners do but, there are elements within that body, most notably the CEO’s, non-jobsworths, and committees benefit most and deserve less. I am not going to allow myself to be played like a puppet by the Cabinet Offices’ Behavioural Unit, or whatever it is called.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      Your self obsession looks pretty infantile.

      There are particular problems in protecting the self-employed and small businesses, everyone knows this.

      That is not a reason to abandon what can be done for everyone else, nor the needed measures to try to protect public health.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

        Yes it is a reason to abandon what can be done for everyone else.

        No money.

        If the people who provide the new revenue into our economy don’t earn then there is no money to pay the public sector.

        Oh. Forgot. You believe in a Magic Money Tree.

    • Fred H
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a Government in the UK that understands business, and provides for it to grow, export and produce jobs that contribute tax.
      The top end, corporations, avoid tax and the UK has never sorted out the neighbours who harbour these taxation cheating dodges – moving tax to the cheapest country…
      The medium size drown in petty rules and oversight wherever possible.
      The small? – well IR35 is enough to tell you how that encouragement works- not.
      Boris is worrying me, needs time of course, c.virus is a focus, but so far he has no ticks but several crosses.
      Keir Starmer is sitting in pole to grab the losses back, with quite a few blues as well.

  5. oldwulf
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    Under the scheme the banks need to reclaim personal guarantees etc before claiming losses. This may deter many businesses. Some say that the scheme should cover 80% before personal guarantees etc. This might encourage irresponsible lending. The answer might be somewhere in the middle ?

  6. Mark B
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    The banks need to be reminded that, those business and individuals pay tax on their earnings. The same tax that was used to bail them out ! If there are no customers, then how are they going to make money ?

    • jerry
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      @Mark B; Yes, the tax payer bailed them out, past tense, why should they care now in the preseent, perhaps the hard left was correct in 2008, simply nationalise the banks, make them all Mutuals or Societies (again)?!…

      Before anyone gets on a high horse, I’m being sarcastic.

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      Mark wasn’t the bailout mainly to cover for people’s deposits/savings, didn’t Barclays and Lloyds pay their bailout back? I thought it was only RBS (nationalised) and Northern Rock (bought by another bank i think) that didn’t repay.

    • JoolsB
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      The banks have made mugs out of all of us. The money used to bail them out has only been used for their own benefit, buying up shares and rebuilding the depleted pension fund which was running at a massive deficit. They have stuck two fingers up at us ever since. It’s time this Government cut out the middle man and called in the 60 billion of our money Brown handed over and used it directly to help those struggling now through no fault of their own. And that means cash grants, not loans.

  7. agricola
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    A further thought. Government have, and continue to pay a vast civil service with money they collect from profitable business. The civil service administer government legislation. I have no desire to knock them, but even with the most convoluted logic you could not describe them as a profit centre. They shuffle money from the enterprising to government for mostly further unprofitable activity. Government can find the money to pay them as the virus continues it’s work.

    Government need to realise that it is business in it’s widest sense that keeps government afloat. Proposing the further burdoning of business at a time when most of it cannot even operate seems to me a form of national suicide. The enterprising at all levels of business need support from government not further burdoning. If you fail to realise this there will be nothing left when this killer virus is seen off.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      These people are quasi-communists. They believe that they can manage the economy centrally much like the EU thinks it can or, as the former Soviet Union tried. What in effect happens, is that those with skills and ability will go elsewhere to gain better financial rewards for that skill and and ability, leaving those behind with nothing more than a begging bowl and a sense of entitlement. eg Government must feed, cloth, house and employ me. Even China recognised that this was a dead end.

    • oldtimer
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      Your words “national suicide” seems to sum up perfectly the consequences of current government policy.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 28, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

        suicide is self inflicted. This isn’t.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      Sometimes you have to accept that there will be serious damage whatever is done.

      Polls show that there is overwhelming public consent for the Government’s actions so far, however.

      Yes, those worst affected will no doubt wish that the damage was suffered by others and not by them.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        a sad but fairly natural reaction? It does seem that as time and generations go by, less and less regard for others makes the slogan ‘We are all in this together’ laughable.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

          There’s plenty that could be done, to require those who can afford to help to assist financially the many who are suffering hardship.

          What is more, I’d guess that a very large proportion would be more than willing to do so.

      • agricola
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

        My objective would be to confine the damage done to the illness until such times as medical solutions are devised.

        The public know diddly squat about running a small , self employed business. They leave that to their plumber and hairdresser.

        The whole point is to avoid damage to the wealth creating sector and any envy or ill will towards anyone. In six months time when toilets get blocked with hoarded paper, I want plumbers to be around to fix them.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

        Wait ’til they hear what the true death rate is after testing of the general population has taken place.

        This is not to underestimate the awfulness of this disease.

        There are now young people in London who have bought tiny, overpriced flats in rough areas. £400k debt not unusual.

        No job. Everything they love about London gone – nothing but roaming gangstas who own the streets now.

        How would you be feeling ?

        Are we sure the projected death rate among the (mainly) old will be higher than the suicide rate and the rate owning to ill health (and lack of NHS availability) of younger people ?

        • Anonymous
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

          They just *switched* our country off.

          This has not yet sunk in. It is all just too shocking.

          We are in denial at the moment. We think we’re in a cinema watching a dystopian horror film that we’re not in.

          Banging on about Trump, chlorinated chicken… I’ve yet to hear the BBC do a report on wet markets where this all started.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      Now we see the real apartheid in this ever bigger socialist state.
      The producers and wealth generators hung out to dry while the ever increasing public sector suckling off the teat of the minority continues to draw inflated salaries, pensions and shorter hours.
      Why should teachers, university Don’s and the like continue to to draw full salaries when they are sat at home.
      No such luxury for the hospitality industry or retail workers forced by decree to go home.
      It’s time for a change.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      Many are doing little of any value and many of them are employed to do positive harm to the economy and productivity even before the huge costs of their wages, offices and pensions are considered.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 11:39 am | Permalink

        Plus the cost of collecting and distributing the taxes to pay them all.

    Posted March 27, 2020 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Johnson’s been captured by the Treasury and the public sector mafia. He’s now no more than the left’s lackey. Only Thatcher had the political courage to confront the left and their network. How ironic that it was her own party that destroyed her. What does that tell you about the Tory party?

    I know one thing. Johnson will sacrifice the private sector employee on the altar of public sector pandering. There’s no opposition to the Left in Parliament. All main parties are now large state socialists and we’ll all suffer because of it.

    • Original Chris
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      I agree Dominic. In my view, Johnson does not have the courage, nor, in my view, the principles, to really lead this country, and he lacks the wisdom to see what is needed. He just seems to pander, and, in the case of CV, to be easily “seduced” by graphs and models instead of subjecting them to rigorous scrutiny and a cost benefit analysis of what the proposed lockdown would do to the country.

      The so called remedy that Boris is currently pursuing will, in my view, be far worse than the disease itself, and, if Boris continues down this route, very significant irreversible damage will be wrought on the economy and livelihoods.

      The fact that the government’s own website announced that from 19 March CV was downgraded (in the light of evidence on the ground, including much lower death rates than predicted by the modellers)from a High Consequence Infectious Disease to one on a par with flu speaks volumes.

      It is worth noting that the imposition of draconian measures enabling further government control over the population provides the Left with a dream situation. (Hence David Davis trying to have a sunset clause to the Bill). The global political cabal who favour One World Government, which is essentially based on Communist principles, are wasting no time in fanning the flames in the media (fear porn) in order to demand more central control and powers over the people.

  9. jerry
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Why has Govt not suspended Council Tax payments, why has the govt not told the utilities not to send bills out (or were they have done already, not to send reminders) [1], the Govt has announced that there will be a 6 month automatic MOT extension (due to the health issues of having to leave ones home etc) but many people might have to resort to infection spreading public transport if they can not afford, or use the Post office, to pay their next VED.

    As for the HMT partial announcement yesterday, a lot of smoke and mirrors, all I can say is the govt appears to have decided that they dislike so many being self employed and the determined to drive many out of business – the Tory party is certainly the friend of business, that is now very clear … big corporate businesses.

    [1] much easier for govt to support the utilities rather than their millions of individual customers

    • JoolsB
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      I rang the council this morning and was told their current guidelines from Government for those currently losing their income was to knock £150 off the annual bill. So on my £270 a month council tax bill I will get £12.50 off. Their best advise was if you can’t pay you can defer it. There’s going to be a hell of a lot of self employed and ex-employees up their necks in debt when this is all over. Of course our politicians and the public sector won’t be affected by any of this which is why they are proving they haven’t got a clue about what it’s like to suddenly see all your income disappear overnight.

      • jerry
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

        @JoolsB; So once again we can get help assuming we can get through to our CT depts…. Its difficult enough to get through to my LA at the best of times, usually with something like CT it’s best to visit the Council building and actually speak directly to someone and demand action there and then, or at least obtain proof of the meeting!

        I wasn’t suggesting for a discount, just a pause in automatic payments for two to three months (those who can pay most likely will still pay), something the govt could do simply and easily. After all the problem is caused by the govts public health measures and their needing time to pay out the help packages, be they for those on PAYE or the SE.

        • dixie
          Posted March 28, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

          pausing is the most practical, particularly with CT where we pay the 12 month’s levy over 10 months. The same could work for other payments – One credit card company is not making charges late payment nor chase withdrawals.

          This would lessen immediate pressure but the immediate loss of income and business is still going to be very harmful enough for sole traders and SMEs

  10. SM
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    From what I have read about the UK, other parts of the world, and what we are about to experience in S Africa in our lockdown (starting today), I believe that attempting to stop the world in order that a few extra people – possibly – do not fall off it is a very BIG mistake.

    • jerry
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      @SM; When I read comments like yours I really do wonder just who it is who wants to “Stop the World”, after all what’s a few million more deaths (world wide) that would normally happen – just because some people are dying due to underlying health issues, made worse by Covid-19, it doesn’t mean they would have died this year, in ten years or even another 40 in many cases.

      Once this is over, if we all knuckle-down and work hard we can rebuild economies, you can’t bring your loved ones back…

      PS, still can’t work out why a person living permanently outside of the UK is so intent on posting comments to a UK politico’s site, perhaps you should direct your comment towards your own govt rather than a member of the UK’s?

  11. Dave Andrews
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    All this disruption because government didn’t take the early decision to close the airports. Allow people to jet around distributing the illness – was that the “herd immunity” doctrine? Lets get everyone infected so they are subsequently immune.
    No caution from the government benches, opposition or media towards the jet set, because they are all in it together.
    Half of the normal sky activity yesterday, with planes going into and out of Heathrow to places I thought were suppose to be closed.
    Question – How do people get to the airport when it’s not one of the permitted reasons to travel?

  12. Everhopeful
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    How very convenient for the “All in it together” global companies that yet again small companies will go under. ( 2000, 2008).
    What chance does the one man enterprise have, already suffocated by dopey regulations? Only the giants will be left trading.
    ( There’s a thought…for all their craven compliance the small traders will be rewarded by being allowed to go to the wall!).
    And we the customers will probably be railroaded into some form of “social credit” thing like in China.
    Vote the wrong way and you don’t get your groceries!

    Eggs and bananas seem to have disappeared anyway!

  13. Everhopeful
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    One of our wonderful just-in-time supermarkets ( let us not forget how they closed down our small shops and high streets…cheered on and enabled by government) has just basically announced rationing!
    They are returning to bags for home deliveries 😂😂😂 to “keep us safe” but customers can not order more than 80 items and no more than 3 of each.
    Apparently they would prefer those who can to go out and “shop safely”!!!
    Yesterday here HUGE queues outside supermarket.
    So much for stock control, so much for forward planning, so much for customer care.
    We must maybe “Dig for Victory” again?
    Oh sorry…forgot…many tickey tacky new builds have no gardens and much farmland has been built on.
    THANKS a bundle Liblabcon.
    What a b**** awful mess.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      Most of those, certainly in London and on the Thames, are empty. Foreign ‘investors’. 😉

  14. Caterpillar
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Although well intended, within a matter of the days the Govt has created a situation in which one group is competing with another to claim their need is greater, some argue that others who are working should still take cuts, some argue that all public sector workers at home should take cuts (whilst some of these are working more than before, but some less), some who are working are arguing that they shouldn’t have to work because others aren’t … it goes on, all the time whilst production and the ability to produce goes down.

    The magnitude of the destruction of the economy and its inability to recover will be gaining pace, the impact will be long lived both from both the supply side shock and the interventionist precedent set. The Govt needs to stop wriggling out of forecasts and clearly state what its current expectations are on Covid19, when restrictions are expected to start to be unwound, which restrictions and how (e.g. will there be specifics for which businesses need to prepare such as spacing and table service only in bars)?

    • Caterpillar
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      I apologise for my obsession on the death with Covid19 numbers but the past two days do look like the peak has been pulled down and forward (from about 700 deaths per day on 13th April to around 300 on 7/8th April) Although I find it hard to fit the public data it does currently looks like the period 6th-13th April will be very informative (a) 300 deaths per day in first half then going down (b) increasing to 700 deaths per day but indicating slowing (c) worse.

      I really feel the Govt ought to be able to say something about what its planned reactions are to numbers coming out that week.

  15. Andy
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Those of us who earn more than £50k get no help at all. None. Nada.

    I still have a mortgage to pay and children to feed. What should I do?

    Apparently we can claim Universal Credit. £317 a month I am told.

    And yet the state continues handouts to pensioners of double that.

    • MWB
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      Are we paying child benefit to you ?

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      If you have children universal credit will pay you around £36K after tax. Similar to £50K before tax.

      Not many pensioners able to claim that (and rightly so)

    • Edward2
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      Pensions are not a welfare handcout.
      State pensions are gained by many years of paying National Insurance.

    • Wonky Moral Compass
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      How about posting less and using the time saved to arrange a mortgage holiday and claim the UC to feed your children?

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps try to get a job in a supermarket Andy.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      Presumably with those earnings you have sensibly saved, and presumably one day you will be a pensioner.

    • margaret
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      How many years have you paid into the state Andy ? I have paid in for 60 years NI and still paying tax . You can’t get everything fro free you know !

      • margaret
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

        Sorry that should have been 50yrs NI . I started doing paper rounds, milk rounds ( and they sure milked me) saturday jobs, weekend jobs , christmas post , then was a working student doing 80 hrs/ week plus study, did a couples of degrees, worked the NHS in charge of wards and dying people , people having ops , patients traumatised, worked for 15 years with zero contract whilst still being a single mum and paying a 100% mortgage( having been fleeced by bad mouthing jealous people who like you don’t look at the cost and only the result). I had a business at the same time I was married and was brought down by jealous grabbers … and do you know what , losing my house which I worked hard for , losing my marriage , losing my business , losing my self esteem , being homeless still does not make me as bitter and nasty as you .
        Thnx to hard work again I finally made that pension and provided covid doesn’t get me after looking after migrants from Spain ,Italy hungary , etc I am thankful to all those who have suffered more and made me see others with generosity.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      I am not sure but if you have to apply for universal credit you are (and have to declare) that you are unemployed and seeking employment i.e you cease being self-employed and stop trading ?

    • agricola
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      What the state hands out to pensioners has already been paid to the state through lifetime NI contributions.

      I hear Tierra del Fuego is short of high earners.

    • Glenn Vaughan
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      “Those of us who earn more than £50k get no help at all.” Andy

      Another message straight from Fantasy Island.

    • Fred H
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      I thought you had a thriving business empire?
      Crashed in flames, has it?

  16. Alan Jutson
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    I have not looked in any detail at the criteria for this support to businesses, but if it comes after personal guarantees are enacted, then this is so wrong.

    In normal circumstances I understand that banks want the business owner to have some skin in the game, but these are not normal times, the government are forcing good business to close, but for them still to remain with many costs, and certainly with restaurants etc to throw, or give away their stock as well.
    Are those on PAYE being asked to guarantee their homes against payment help.

    So much hope, but as usual the devil is in the detail !

    The Banks got massive help from the taxpayer in 2008, now the banks will not help the taxpayer in 2020, even with taxpayers money.

    Is this Government policy, or individual Bank policy JR ?

    As usual the banks always seem to get their percentage and cut for little or no risk.

    Do not be surprised if the alternative economy grows ever larger after all this is over John, as human nature often has and finds a way to survive.

  17. BOF
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Why does the Government not simply guarantee that further 20%? It would make little difference to the money being showered on a virus.

    Strange how I grew up being told that money did not grow on trees and now find that it can be plucked out of thin air. Paul Daniels would have been proud of such magic.

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      BOF so how do you compensate those that are working at the moment? We all work full time putting ourselves at risk of catching the virus each day for 20% more than you and you think that is unfair?

      • a-tracy
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

        plus the government is topping up our pay bill with any compensation at all and now I discover if work drops off a cliff next week and I have to furlough workers for two weeks they won’t be entitled to furlough pay because you have to have been furloughed for three weeks, now that is punished for doing the right thing.

        • a-tracy
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

          * isn’t topping up our pay bill

  18. Alan Jutson
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Why are we still allowing aircraft full of people from all over the World to land here with no controls at all being put on passengers, to at least self isolate etc.

    Seems like new Zealand are leading the way here, and they only started with controls this week.
    In their Prime Ministers speech, All passengers, Nationals returning included, will be fully checked out, and have to give details of where they are going to stay for 14 days or they will be put in a government institution. Police then visit that address at any time during those 14 days to confirm action.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Today the channel tunnel still open, ferries and flights still operating and those small boats still crossing the English channel ?

  19. Roy Grainger
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    30% of tube drivers off sick. Seems an extraordinarily high number doesn’t it.

    • Fred H
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      possibly the Ubers taken to get them to the depot early, and the metal separation of the driving cab?

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      Yes, it is Roy we have 5.2% off sick due to CV19.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      Still on full pay

  20. Bob Dixon
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Government grants are required now.late April,May and now June will be too late.HMRC have most tax payers bank details.Make it happen.

  21. Christine
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    The last thing we need is a run on the banks. If this happens it will become like the great depression or pre-war Germany. Many of the self-employed are not in dire straits. They often have partners who work and/or have savings. To have a knee jerk reaction by giving money out too soon without proper checks is open to abuse and fraud. The current Universal Credit system has a massive amount of fraud because MPs insisted on giving up front payments. We know from Grenfell Tower how the despicable take advantage of others generosity. Let HMRC put something robust in place.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      The last thing that we need is people saying that the last thing that we need is a run on the banks, etc., etc.

  22. JoolsB
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Having to wait until June before they can even apply for any Government money shows just how out of touch our politicians are. In the meantime they are advised to get themselves into even more debt by borrowing just to make ends meet. Meanwhile the employed, the employers, the small business, the large businesses are all guaranteed 80% of their incomes or grants. Why can’t the self employed be given grants in the same way the small businesses are? What has this Government got against the self employed John?

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      Jools please point me to the place where you’ve been told all small business are getting grants? My accountant says not.

      Also, businesses are only guaranteed 80% of the pay with criteria ie furlough 3 weeks, staff with start dates before March, you pay all normal employers NI, Nest on top as usual.

  23. Richard1
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    I think the govt probably had no choice but to impose the lock down and the huge economic damage it is causing. The absurd reactions from the left are revealing. Corbyn has said it proves he was right to be advocating this sort of govt interventionism even when there was no health crisis. Gordon Brown has called for a ‘temporary’ world govt (perhaps with himself as president?). From many quarters we hear the temporary measures should be made quasi-permenant, leftists everywhere think it’s a great way to get perma-socialism by stealth.

    Sweden is an interesting case study. The govt there is imposing no lock-down. If the outcomes in Sweden are no worse than elsewhere, it will prove other European govts have made a grave economic error for no gain. If it looks like the Oxford study which suggest 2/3 of the U.K. population have already had the virus with few or no symptoms, is correct, then the measures should be lifted and the Country should get back to work.

    Amongst other things it would be a massive vindication for the approach of President Trump.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      Sweden does indeed have fewer cases than the rest of europe but will come out of this in a stronger position as the haven’t closed down their economy

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      “I think the govt probably had no choice but to impose the lock down and the huge economic damage it is causing”

      Indeed they had little choice as they largely wasted the two months notice then had and have failed to get the NHS ready for the demand. Plus they have locked down too late.

  24. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    The Government are going to have to pass it’s borrowing costs to us – .03% over 30 years. We need to be able to refinance all borrowings at that rate so we can stay solvent and stop the economy collapsing.
    This needs to be done NOW.

  25. MPC
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Only a finite period for these restrictions will prevent civil disobedience. The weather is getting better and will encourage people to increasingly question this policy induced recession by going out and about. This could be even more pronounced if outcomes in Sweden show a more rational approach has been adopted there.

    • John E
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      Yes particularly with the stupid heavy handed oppressive policing. I was on the phone to my daughter who lives in the Olympic Park in Stratford today when the Met Police thought it would be a good idea to blast out a warning over the loudspeaker on their riot van to a young mum who was committing the apparent crime of kicking a small football outside with her young toddler in an otherwise empty square.
      Common sense ??!!!

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      Swedish people are more rational than the British.

      We held a referendum to prove that.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

        not rational – pragmatic.
        Know your swedes from your turnips.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

        Silly comment

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

          No, some nations’ people van be trusted more than others in some respects.

          E.g. America allows Americans to own guns, and life just about carries on – though maybe not as a civilised country would want.

          Can you imagine what would happen here though?

          • Edward2
            Posted March 28, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

            Another silly comment.
            Give it rest Martin
            20 posts a day.

  26. Prigger
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    I seems only Mr Trump and I say our countries must get back to work. We have a working majority of two

    • villaking
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 2:17 pm | Permalink


    • glen cullen
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      make that three

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      …and me – three

    • Caterpillar
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      You and POTUS are correct.

  27. Know-Dice
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    “Jeremy Corbyn says he was proved ‘right’ on public spending”

    Yes, Mr Corbyn you absolutely right about the level of spending you would have put in place IF you had won the 2019 General Election.

    You would have trashed the UK economy without needed a global pandemic to help you…

    • jerry
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      @Know-Dice; Mr Corbyn has hit a raw nerve I see, the fact the cuts of the last 10 years are having to be made good (and more) in the matter of weeks…

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      No, the UK would be in the European Single Market and Customs Union, which would have greatly mitigated the otherwise disastrous effects of leaving the European Union.

      Those are yet to come on top of the ongoing damage.

      The country would not be subject to pariah status either.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        If we remained in the Single Market and the Customs Union then we remain in the EU
        And we have accept all rules regulations directives and laws.
        It is the beating heart of the EU
        You know that.

        • Fred H
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

          Be still my beating heart…. (Sting).

      • jerry
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

        @MiC; What totally undiluted bilge-water.

        Brexit has made no different to the funding of the NHS, we only left the EU at the end of Jan this year, the underfunding of the NHS goes back 10 years!

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

          I am writing about the topic preoccupying most commenters here. That is, the loss if income suffered by millions under lockdown, and the general economic hit caused by coronavirus.

          I remind them that the economic consequences of leaving the European Union will start to bite after January too. I did not claim that they were already upon us.

          As I said, “those are yet to come”.

          I didn’t mention the NHS at all.

          • jerry
            Posted March 28, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

            @MiC; But you were replying to a comment from @Know-Dice about public spending, doing so in a “topic preoccupying most commenters here”, thus the NHS is very much part of that debate, it was you who decided to bring irrelevances into the matter, such as Brexit – no one else.

            Perhaps if you remained On-topic more often rather than trying to bring Brexit and the EU into EVERY issue?…

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted March 28, 2020 at 10:44 am | Permalink

          The NHS was not underfunded Jerry. No amount of money could have prepared for this.

          My local crematorium now has a large marquee in the car park as a temporary morgue.

          According to your spending logic it should always be there just in case.

          This is a very specific situation.

          • jerry
            Posted March 28, 2020 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

            @NS; The NHS waiting times last year and those for Jan and Feb of this year would suggest otherwise. I personally know people who have suffered four hour waits in A&E (on a trolleys in corridors), 36-40 weeks from referral before expecting to see a specialist etc.

            “According to your spending logic [a temporary crematorium in a marquee] should always be there just in case.”

            No, that is YOUR logic, make-do and adapt, rather than have a properly funded NHS in the same way as our standing Armed forces, including our nuclear deterrents, are. What you suggest as being acceptable for the NHS is a bit like using our fishing trawlers as a make-shift navy should the Russians navy sail one of their fully equipped destroyers down the English Channel…oh hang on…

            No health service could have been fully prepared for a pandemic, no one is arguing that, but we would have been playing catch up even for a bad Flu season.

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted March 29, 2020 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

            Not underfunded Jerry. Overused and used by those who shouldn’t be using it.

  28. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Schools have closed – are teachers who are no longer working furloughed on 80% pay up to £2,500 or are they at home on full pay?

    Similarly self isolating public sector workers (including London Underground staff), are they getting £94 SSP per week or are they on full pay?

    Apart from when the cash will be available to the self employed (why not now?) I think the government has treated them equally and fairly but why is the public sector not treated the same way.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      Some teachers I know that are working from home (I am not one, and I only know a few) are working even more hours, and those in FE I know have commented positively about the amount of online interaction with some students (presumably students are self-selecting). Moreover some FE teachers appear keen to go in with smaller, groups to run functional skills assessments. These qualifications are often very important for those who did not succeed during their schooling to 16, and to those adults returning to education and seeking maths and English qualifications. These are often overlooked, but will probably turn into a much more damaging cancellation than that of GCSEs and A-levels.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

        @Caterpillar ok I acknowledge that. Key word -some.

        My organisation will soon have to make decisions on those who are actually productive away from the usual environment and those who aren’t / can’t he.

        The educational sector and the public sector in general should not be imminent to that decision. There is a furlough scheme in place.

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

          Immune not imminent sorry

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      I understand where you’re coming from….I think we all know they’re on full pay

  29. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Well this scheme seems to be a recipe for the banks to own chunks of the assets of businesses. Owners will need to decide whether to keep the business property in the pension scheme or place it at the disposal of the bank.

    I’d be more inclined to protect non-governmental creditors as far as possible, pull in debtors, let the business go down, and start afresh later.

  30. Patrick Jones
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    December 19 – our bank refused an extension to a loan in order to invest in further development.
    March 20 – our resort hospitality operation suffers a total loss of all revenue; doors close; saving 110 staff becomes the key priority; no-one knows when we may trade again and crucially how quickly trade will get back to previous levels; resort hospitality operations are well-known to be heavily fixed costs businesses.
    March 20 – we ask to apply for the CBILS scheme.
    Yesterday – our bank informs us that we do not qualify because we have too much security in the asset and therefore can only apply for a commercial loan on commercial terms. Interest payable immediately after the first quarter at a commercial rate above base.

    #RishiSunak – your pledges ring hollow. You are not doing what you said you’d do. It was just a headline.
    Banks – you’re applying the same bully tactics as in 2009 and trying to gain control of perfectly decent, fiscally careful and well-run businesses.
    Who will suffer? The owners who did the right thing and invested in a property with their own savings; and the 110 employees, including me, who did nothing wrong but worked so hard to make the business successful.

  31. Steve Reay
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Off subject.
    Sir John , This social distancing at supermarkets is causing a problem. It may be achieving its aim, but it is causing other problems. The queue outside my local Morrison this morning was 200 mtrs long at 08:30 guaranteed only to get longer. Mostly old people were in the queue , thankfully it is a dry day but cold, if it were wet these people may have to stand for 2hrs in the rain before they get into the store only to find shevles are empty.
    If the shelves are empty and they can’t get the items they need they may have to repeat this progess again making shopping a greater risk.

    Sunderland council are closing all public toilets along our beautiful beach to discourage people from coming down, but people are taking daily excercise and we need to able to wash our hands to reduce spreading the virus. Most, if not all are keeping their distance .
    Please feeback to the government about this supermarket issue, best solution would be to move to formal rationing now as we will only have to do is very shortly anyway.

    • Original Chris
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      The consequences of this ill thought out lockdown are myriad. Tragically, the people will have to suffer first, in some cases with irreversible and hugely damaging consequences, before Ministers take note. If ever there were a case for getting rid of armchair policy devisors/creators, this is it. They really don’t seem to have a clue.

      In government, and particularly with the leader of the country, we need people with real life experience in business and earning a living the hard way.. Furthermore, we need a leader wise enough and courageous enough to take on board the latest scientific team’s advice but to weigh it up carefully and balance it against the huge drawbacks of the the lockdown which was put forward as “the solution”.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

      Also more elderly (those without internet or apps) queuing at banks as centralised phone services switch to loans and fraud only. Elderly GP appointments for dressings etc being cancelled. Some elderly not being able to follow up on hearing aid adjustments, not good for dementia onset.

      There’s probably much more fallout going on, but the vulnerable are very vulnerable to switching off the economy.

  32. Bob
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Last night the BBC invited the lefty Lancet Editor onto QT and allowed him to criticism the govt’s actions over CV19, but no one in the £4 billion a year BBC bothered to check that this fellow’s tweeting history contradicts what he said. It was left to to expose the deception this morning.

    Today the BBC are trumpeting the news that the USA has overtaken China in the number of CV19 cases, taking the CCP’s data at face value.

    What better time to abolish the BBC Licence?

    • rose
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      The awkward fact the BBC didn’t tell you about the US is that the more they test, like Germany, the lower the death rate goes, as a percentage. That doesn’t mean fewer people die of course. But notice if they ever tell you what the death rate is percentage wise. I bet they don’t. But they will in Germany where they don’t test for CV post mortem; whereas we have made it a notifiable disease along with smallpox, anthrax, and rabies.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      The Telly Tax will neither be abolished or amended. The only course of action is to vote with your feet / remote and stop watching live broadcasts and starve Auntie of funds. But will you do it ?

      • Bob
        Posted March 28, 2020 at 10:32 am | Permalink

        I haven’t paid for a BBC Licence for well over ten years.
        I have a Smart TV, which connects to on demand content through a router.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      Don’t abolish the BBC licence SELL the whole institution and make some money for the tax-payer

    • anon
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 1:22 am | Permalink

      FYI – i was unable to avail myself to the very important broadcasts by HMG. (Bojo)

      However because a license is required as i cannot bring myself to support the BBC in anyway. I was denied this importamt and direct visual communication in real time.

      What about other vulnerable people who have no choice and are hounded by this organization maybe not by name but as legal occupiers.

      Please sell the BBC and remove its monopoly tax.

  33. George Brooks.
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Up until now the government has relied on medical and scientific advice and has achieved, in the main, ‘social distancing’. Now it is imperative that it couples this with economic advice and at the same time reduces the weight given to the elderly and those with serious underlying health problems. This group is going to die anyway and there is a point beyond which they should not drain the resources of the NHS nor be kept alive at the expense of the economy

    Within the next couple of weeks the government needs to put the health of the economy at the very top of their list of considerations and if they don’t the UK as we know it today will be wiped out.

    Stop being soft and keep capitalism alive and healthy and if we don’t we won’t have an economy. The state cannot look after everybody and some will have to be left by the wayside. Toughen up and make the right decisions for the economy and the country as a whole.

    At the age of 84 and a member of that senior group I urge the PM to think of the country as a whole and not pander to the soft left

  34. ukretired123
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Cash is king and always is the Ace Card for everyone and every business, especially those self-employed and SMEs in particular.

    Margaret Thatcher was the last PM who understood SMEs as she had worked and lived above in her father’s shop!

    No one since has protected them and the self-employed are the LAST in the Queue!

    To add insult to injury govt paying out in maybe June, based on the emotional dreaded Labour word ” Profits ” (which is actually the vital oxygen for any business’s future !)
    = It’s like paying the bonus without the base wage/salary!

    Also London / Home Counties SMEs have totally different incomes from the rest of the country.

    How you set out your stall frugally, expensive or somewhere inbetween should be taken into account.

    Trouble is the arrogant bureaucratic Civil Service haven’t the faintest idea and the fact that their multiple ultra expensive IT Databases are not in synch and need new systems to cope shows how they disrespect the Digital Revolution which occurred decades before the Internet Revolution around the Millennium.

    • ukretired123
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      Back in the late 1970s the mention of the Apple computer was greeted with humour, a joke even by IBM. Today Apple is the giant in role-reversal, but the Civil Service has dragged it’s feet and it’s role reversal has been serving itself not the very people it was established for !
      Time for change indeed.
      Also their track record of major IT projects ……Appalling waste, needing others to help them out who lobby them – big consultancies.

  35. Caterpillar
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:57 am | Permalink


    The IFS summary of effect on Govt borrowing on current policies

  36. Iain Gill
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    many will be cashing in premium bonds or savings with national savings

    sadly it seems they are basically not talking postal withdrawal instructions now

    one problem on top of another

  37. Helen Smith
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Off topic I know but I want Sir John to read this.

    Please, please end the sale of scratch cards, at my son’s convenience store people are in and out all day buying them and collecting winnings. The staff tell them not to but don’t want to get into arguments where they are put in danger. They need banning.

    • jerry
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      @Helen Smith; Why doesn’t your son just stop selling them?!

    • Fred H
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      In my case they should ban bread, potatoes, cakes, biscuits but stop short of wine. Please.
      I want to lose weight not sense of humour.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Then why does your son not simply stop selling them?

      There is no law compelling him to do this, surely?

    • Chopper
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      Hell. Let us be able to do something! A scratch card? No one can go out to walk a dog without Schwarzenegger in a helicopter flying over and trying to take him out as a enemy of the people.

  38. Ian
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    What about those of us who are the invisibly self employed?
    We have fallen through the gap.

    We are 100% self-employed freelancers on irregular Contracts for Services (not Contracts of Employment) for individual tasks as and when – but the companies pay us through their payroll and PAYE is deducted at source rather than through invoicing.
    I still have to fill in a tax return but it looks like I am employed, whereas in reality I have a series of short term contracts for services and ‘lumpy’ income each month (sometimes zero).

    I can’t be furloughed as I’m not employee and I can’t claim through the self-employment system as I don’t have any ‘profits’ as the payroll does all the tax.

  39. a-tracy
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 10:31 am | Permalink


    I don’t agree with the furlough being for a minimum of three weeks. What about those businesses that tried to keep things on track and pay wages for people working on in what is perceived as a dangerous situation if their staff are then only furloughed for two weeks or one week if we can get on top of this virus and they can’t claim the furlough back?

    Work is dropping off and we thought if the worst happened we could furlough half the team next week and the other half of the team the following week even though they are all soldiering on at the moment so they get punished for keeping things going by being forced into layoff instead.

  40. zorro
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Alas JR, I think that you can see what is happening, and I am pretty sure that government is aware of what the consequences of its policies will be – essentially the destruction of SME/middle-class aspirants and a very wealthy small cadre and everyone else servicing it.

    You can see that in the online distribution model which will kill off the High Street completely and this virus/”INVISIBLE ENEMY” is the perfect catalyst to accelerate that process. The picture of the future is becoming clearer, closed borders, far less travel if any, everything by telecon/video conference, “SOCIAL DISTANCING”, more inflation of food prices, less choice in the shops that are open, and a populace dependent on handouts from the government to spend on goods from mega-corporations…

    Interesting isn’t it that so many CEOs of big corporations were soo far-sighted enough to sell their shares in time to make a profit….

    Just like the prescience around the mass sell-off of shares around 9/11… What we are approaching is a ‘scientific’ dictatorship akin to the film ‘Brazil’ where they now have the means to trace or fine you very mobile phone to control your movements and are very quickly moving to a cashless society where the only way you will survive is by complying… Of course, there will be increases and decreases in choco rations depending on how the war against the “INVISIBLE ENEMY” proceeds on the Malabar front

    We are also seeing the deification of the NHS as a talisman to bring along the masses in support of these crackdowns to combat the “INVISIBLE ENEMY”. Look at the fear in some people’s eyes as they pass you by on the street…

    George Orwell wrote in 1984 about the future…. ‘If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever,’.

    I feel that this needs to be updated for 2020 – If you want a picture of the future, imagine a silk boot stamping on a human face—forever while the face being stamped on proffers thanks.’


  41. JoolsB
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Whoopee – just rang the council to see if I can get a reduction off my £2,700 council tax bill whilst my self employed earnings are zero and have been informed the Government is giving us a whopping £150 a year discount. Your Government is all heart when it comes to the self employed John.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Is the £150 discount for being self employed, is there a link to info

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Jools we’ve been advised that the self-employed can get 80% of your average profits averaged over their declared profits for the past three years. You will have your tax and national insurance put up to remit in July can’t you just live off that put aside fund until June?

      • JoolsB
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

        Going to have to do a-Tracy but not easy when we have a 5th year Medical Student at Cambridge to support who gets no help towards maintenance from Government because in years 5 & 6 their tuition fees are paid. Anyone who knows Cambridge will know it’s very expensive – £600 p.m. for one tiny room. I’m better off than most I suppose but just angry that the Government are doing so much less for the self employed than they are for everyone else.

        • a-tracy
          Posted March 28, 2020 at 8:54 am | Permalink

          My daughter was charged £950 per month in London for a small room, also did 6 years training.

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

        the old ‘Jam Tomorrow’ theory

  42. Lab
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    why are celebs being paid to say they have it?

    • Wot?
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink


  43. Cold War
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    CNBC says Boris has checked positive “for the coronavirus but it’s mild” Of course it is.

  44. glen cullen
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Sir John I agree with your analysis and conclusion

    However the lockdown strategy is having a worsening effective upon the UK compared to the coronavirus

    This strategy needs to be reversed immediately

    We’re cutting off a leg to save a toenail

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      So half a million dead, or maybe more perhaps, is trivial to you?

      Yet you rage about a tiny ring of yellow stars on your car number plate.

      Think about what kind of a person we have here please people.

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

        I’ve been doing some research on Sweden and trying to understand that even with no lockdown they don’t appear to have any adverse or abnormal statistics compared with neighbouring European countries. So do we need a lockdown?

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

        Many many more middle aged and young people will die because of the coming depression and the lack of funding for the NHS.

        You believe in the Magic Money Tree as much as you think I believe in unicorns.

      • zorro
        Posted March 28, 2020 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

        What are you on about 500,000 dead….?

        Oh I know, you are referring to Niall Ferguson from Imperial College who came up with brave prediction which scared the government. He seems to have disappeared up his own fundament as he was recently before the Select Committee and reviewed his prediction by dropping in 94% to 20,000….. It is dropping more still as some are currently predicting 5,200.

        So my dear Martin In Cardiff you are talking hogwash!


    • Original Chris
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely right, gc.

    • steve
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 6:43 pm | Permalink


      “We’re cutting off a leg to save a toenail”


      However I have a feeling we’re going to get done like kippers, we always do.

  45. Andy
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    So with Mr Johnson now self isolating does that mean unelected hard right extremist Dominic Raab is now running the country? A country where our rights have been taken away. What could possibly go wrong now?

    Reply No, Boris is still leading the government from self isolation by digi coms. Mr Raab is not as you describe. Can you never bring yourself to be decent and moderate, seeing some good in your opponents?

    • Big Ears
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Mr Corbyn should consider being tested for the Virus, seriously. Maybe he has recovered. He has the same sound-a-like audio symptoms of others said to have the virus. Just my opinion. I listen alot.
      So too The Chief Medical Officer when he was addressing the Coronavirus Committee. Trump sounded and still does sound as if he has it but he confirms he has been tested and found he has not got it. Maybe a sore throat then with all the talking he must have done recently. Andy won’t get it.

    • Helen Smith
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      No, they can’t, if Corbyn got it I would be concerned for him and wish him well, but then I am a far right Brexitremist in their eyes and they are the kind, and gentle left.

      • jerry
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

        Of more concern, it is also being reported that Matt Hancock has tested positive, yet he was filmed by the MSM only yesterday (or was it the day before) ‘helping’ troops unload NHS supplies, I hope the Govt and politicos stop such publicity events forthwith.

    • Fred H
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      reply to reply….Sir John, Sadly some people resist any sort of reasonable argument or explanation about why they might be wrong. It is to your credit that give (too) much space to stubborn, extreme opinions that are often simply unworkable.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Well, if we look at the measures taken by national governments across Europe, it is well to remember that the European Union has absolutely zero power to impose such strictures on people’s rights and freedoms.

      That tells you where the real power lies and always has – with the nations.

      So quite clearly, anyone telling you anything else was simply lying.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

        Pretty much shows the EU disintegrating – especially taking the Greek example.

        This after one of the top countries has voted to leave.

        Looks like you and I are going to be as poor as each other, Andy.

      • jerry
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        @MiC; More nonsense, civil emergences are a little different from every day rule by diktat via Brussels, they are one of the very few exceptions to direct rule by Brussels.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

          There is no substantive rule by Brussels.

          The UK could not have left if there were.

          • jerry
            Posted March 28, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

            @MiC; Wrong again. Go read the Lisbon Treaty whilst you are self isolating, educate yourself about the true scope of EC rule by diktat and directives.

            Heck even the UK Budget used to have to be signed off by the EC, VAT could not be abolished wholly, hence why there is still 5% on energy and water bills, why feminine sanitary products still had 5% VAT, and only because Brussels rules/laws.

    • Reaction Harry
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      Andy – if you want readers to pay attention to your comments, you need to use more logic and less blind emotion. Describing Raab as an extremist is so self-evidently silly that the only people who will support you are themselves extremists.

      As to having your rights taken away, why not say which rights you mean:
      – the right to infect other people?
      – the right to keep working – if you agree with Donal Trump that the cure may be worse than the disease, why not explain why you agree with him?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      Almost no Conservative MPs are right wing let alone “extreme right wing”. Certainly not in the small government, low taxes, bonfire or red tape meaning.

      Rabb to me seems a fairly sound and decent chap to me despite reading Jurisprudence at LMH Oxford.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

        However, even your average hi-vis in Wetherspoons knew that Dover was of rather large importance to the UK’s international trade.

        • SM
          Posted March 28, 2020 at 6:01 am | Permalink

          MiC – You are making a very common mistake. Dover doesn’t even feature on the list of busiest ports in the UK regarding freight. It does have a fairly large ro-ro and primarily passenger trade.

    • steve
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 6:42 pm | Permalink


      “So with Mr Johnson now self isolating does that mean unelected hard right extremist Dominic Raab is now running the country?”

      OMG Andy, you think Mr Raab is a hard right extremist ? Really ?

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        Andy has to get used to the idea that he’s going to be as poor as me now. If he isn’t then questions will be asked.

        We are now full on socialists.

  46. Compassionate
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    So far we have had video evidence of a SNP MP, A Tory MP and and a PM

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

      As well as Angela Rayner, who has tested positive. I suspect the proportion of MPs who appear to have it isn’t just a function of their greater contact than most, but is a sign that many thousands of people have contracted the virus but are not being tested.

      • VCR1
        Posted March 28, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

        No one has this virus in the real world, only politicians and celebrities

  47. It's the thought tha
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    The Chief Medical Officer said of the Virus days ago “Many people will not know they’ve had it or got it”
    Oh we’ve got it all right!
    Tory voters like a plague will vote Tory at the next Election by sending in a video instead of a normal postal vote or Ballot Station vote.
    We hope Tory MPs will find future employment in their gift

  48. Election Agent
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    JR. Hint: If you feel it necessary to “Isolate” do not make a video from your “sick” bed

  49. Original Chris
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    It would appear that a radical rethink of the strategy is required in view of the admission by Neil Ferguson that his estimates of cases and death rates, based on the Imperial College modelling, are far too high. His 500,000 figure has now been revised to 20,000!

    A very important statement (addressing the claims by the UK modellers for both UK and US infection spread and death rates) by Dr Birx on the White House task force team can be seen in this videoclip, courtesy of The Washington Examiner (see link below).

    The key take away from her statement is:

    THE PREDICTIONS OF THE MODELS DON’T MATCH THE REALITY ON THE GROUND EITHER IN CHINA, SOUTH KOREA, OR ITALY. (I have resorted to capitals as I do not seem to be able to do bold).
    Washington Examiner

    “The predictions of the models don’t match the reality on the ground in either China, South Korea, or Italy. We’re about 5x the size of Italy. If we were Italy, and you did those divisions, Italy should have close to 400k deaths. They’re not close to achieving that.” – Dr. Birx

  50. Ian @Barkham
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    People keep inferring that Government has money – it doesn’t. It has access to your money and redistributes it.

    Whatever taxpayer money they(Government) give you has to be recouped from the taxpayer(for the most part that is all of us). Everyone wants to be at the front of the queue to grab something then at the back when they have to pay it back.

    Bizarre times and bizarre attitudes.

    Keep safe

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      Indeed they only have your taxes plus borrowing they have taken (with taxpayer as the security) that you will have to pay back later anyway.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

        The problem is we pay in a huge % of GDP yet most get almost nothing back of much value at all.

        • Fred H
          Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

          We elect Governments to protect our nation, our people, and spend on health, education etc.
          We do not expect billions to be spent on pipedreams, excessive administration or keeping up with the Jones’.

    Posted March 27, 2020 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    We are seeing the most appalling and grotesque manipulation of millions of British citizens. Their intelligence is constantly abused by propaganda from both government, State experts, Anti-Semitic Labour and the unions. All see a political opportunity to promote their dependent cause

    I just hope the decent British public recognise they are being played and treated like automatons to be corralled like sheep in one direction then another.

    It’s disgusting

    • Caterpillar
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      You are correct but what can be done when there are no gatherings above 2 people?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

      Well, some of them did vote Leave, and then elect this government, so perhaps there’s something in what you say.

  52. hefner
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Might it be worth (re-)reading Sir John’s ‘The twin deficts’ (05/03/2018)?

  53. ChrisS
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Today it became known that the Spanish Government had purchased 3,000 virus testing kits from a Spanish company who sourced them from China and issued CE certificates to accompany them.

    The kits have been found to have a reliability of only 30% and have been withdrawn.

    This poses two problems :
    Firstly, the Chief Medical Officer is absolutely right : an unreliable test is worse than no test at all.

    Secondly, the EU has made a big issue about whether goods they might buy from the UK after December 2020, should be allowed into the EU without being tested.

    This very serious incident from Spain begs the question :

    Can we rely on goods bought from the EU when companies are issuing CE certificates on items bought from dodgy sources in China and probably elsewhere, without carrying out any tests at all on the items they are selling ?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

      Can you rely upon any law to stop the wrong that it is intended to prevent?

      No, not one hundred percent.

      That depends on preventative policing, inspection and enforcement.

      Failures in these areas lead to disasters such as Grenfell Tower and the 737 Max, and to lesser unpleasantness, such as horse meant being sold as beef.

  54. Ian Pennell
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Businesses not just in this country, but elsewhere in the World face unprecedented hardship at this time. They are looking at a major loss of income streams as footfall plummets (although online sales may help make up for loss of footfall), whilst their fixed overheads such as Water, Gas, Electricity, Insurance, Rent remain unchanged. Businesses do not look to load up on more debt at such times as this, so the take-up of loans from banks will be minimal. What businesses need are cash grants and direct financial support.

    To that end Rishi Sunak’s bold policy of paying companies’ wages and the VAT and PAYE deferments provide real support that will make much more difference than loans. However, it is clear that many good firms are really struggling and will not survive the enforced lockdown. Businesses should also be offered cash grants to cover 80% of their Fixed Costs over the next three months (based on figures in last year’s Corporation Tax Returns). That will do much more to help many viable businesses from going to the wall at a cost of perhaps no more than £200 billion for the three months.

    In view of the fact that credit-ratings agencies are getting nervous Money-Markets need reassurance that Britain will repay the huge debts it is incurring: Money-markets will accept the existing (and extra) borrowing if accompanied with a pledge to make £50 billion annually in savings once this is all over by:

    1) Slashing Foreign Aid
    2) Halving Green subsidies
    3) Reducing Quango budgets by 25%.

    Furthermore, this help for businesses needs to be timely- they need to be able to receive money within the next month- because businesses need money now if they are to survive.

  55. Original Chris
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    All these problems, the one discussed here being cash shortages, should be looked at in terms of cost benefit of the current disease control policy. Where is that study? There should have been at least some sort of assessment of the cost of closing down the economy, including the very real and significant hidden costs.

    To gain some very necessary perspective regarding the current measures and the disease they are meant to control it is worth bearing in mind these stats from the USA: from a tweet by Paul H:

    “The United State Centers for Disease Control, for example, publishes weekly estimates of flu cases. The latest figures show that since September ,flu has infected 38 million Americans, hospitalised 390,000 and killed 23,000. This does not cause public alarm because flu is familiar.”

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      Coronavirus is from the flu family, a new strain with a new name but flu nonetheless…..if from day one people called it the flu the worlds reaction would have been different

  56. MrVeryAngry
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    The thing is the self employed can and usually are insured against loss of earnings due to injury or illness of the sole trader. This shut down is a government mandated one. You cannot insure against that (well, you probably can though the Lloyds Market, but who would have done that?) .
    Most self employed are by definition self starters and generally are not interested in sick pay schemes and benefits provided to employees. I am self employed and I know I will not be able to claim sick pay benefits (which I couldn’t even when the government nearly killed me when NICE provided utterly flawed medical ‘guidance’).
    I am highly resistant to my taxes being increased as compensation for dragging me into the sick pay / higher NIC net.

  57. Anonymous
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Can’t we just lift this lockdown and pay for the restart
    of the businesses ? Isn’t it now clear that more young people are going to die from economic depression than old from the flu ?

    The old are going to have worthless pensions, no healthcare and no police protection among increasingly desperate people. No country for old men.

    After this I expect the Chinese will own us.

    Glad that Sweden is giving us a control experiment to compare with.

    The Govt must be shitting themselves. No wonder they are keen to report already ill people of dying OF Covid than WITH Covid.

    And why didn’t the ‘experts’ close flights from the outset and therefore why trust them now ?

    • ed2
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

      Isn’t it now clear that more young people are going to die from economic depression than old from the flu ?

      of course, it is
      these are scary times

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      agree the lockdown should be lifted immediately… Sweden haven’t adopted a lockdown and they’re doing okay

  58. Question
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Are MPs absolutely sure they wish half a million volunteers to mix with NHS staff?Or anyone?

    • Question
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      I’ll save the world

  59. Roger Phillips
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Sir John
    The whole scheme is totally useless, I changed employer in early March and now find I do not qualify for the 80% as your criteria states that we had to have been employed before the 28th Feb. My employer also receives nothing apart from an interest free loan if the decide they wish to apply for this facility but would still not be in a position to pay us any wages as we have 130 staff and it would not be financially viable to do so. My wife runs her own Chiropody company and did the right thing and cancelled all clinics and home visits due to the age demographic of her clients, yesterdays announcement now also leaves her with zero income until at least June. This is not going to work and you will not be forgiven for what amounts to a complete betrayal by the Conservative party of people like us that trusted you and elected you into power. Popular announcements that amount to nothing but false promises. I have no option other than to voice my concerns to my local Labour MP in the hope they can at least make your party see sense in all of this.

  60. glen cullen
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    At a time of emergency we need a single clear voice

    The head of NHS England or perhaps a Trust CEO but not the seemingly endless number of doctors and nurses now being aired on the BBC & Sky

    This a pandemic not an epidemic
    13,486 mild conditions and 163 serious or critical

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:05 pm | Permalink


      In a war footing you would not allow privates to speak out of turn of their COs. I would be sacked if I spoke of my company without authority.

      Their is a lack of discipline.

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 27, 2020 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

        They’re not even the official spokesperson they’re just staff with a opinion and all to often a biased opinion, wouldn’t be allowed in the private sector can’t understand why its allowed in the public sector

  61. glen cullen
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Liverpool Echo are reporting today that the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine have developed a 10 minute coronavirus test kit

    If these reports are true the government should with some urgency be supporting this development and organise its immediate roll-out….and maybe people could start getting back to work

  62. Lifelogic
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Depressingly deaths are up 33% again today. At that rate of increase we would suggest circa 38,000 deceased in two weeks time (and that assumes they will not increase due to lack of NHS capacity). With perhaps 500,000 needing hospital care by them. People would be well advised not to catch now and not for several months if you want proper medical care should you need it. Let us hope that the belated lock down will slow this growth down hugely.

    The head of the NHS tells us we have 33,000 beds ready. Alas only about 15% of those will have ventilators and the likes it seems.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      UK figures this is.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      I know today that there are 13,486 mild cases & 163 serious cases in UK
      I also that there are 1,920 hospitals in UK
      What I don’t know (vital information) is the number of cases in hospital?

      • anon
        Posted March 28, 2020 at 1:02 am | Permalink

        How many people have died of the China Virus, who were denied a ventilator because of capacity issues. Where if a saftey margin or surplus they would have been given the chance.

        Note Germany is testing 500,000, a week. Those who are positive will isolate. They also 5 times per capita icu beds. Italy has times 2 per capita.

        forbes article
        Source: National Centre for Biotechnology information,Intensive CAre Medicine (Journal)

        • glen cullen
          Posted March 28, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

          All interesting points BUT how many UK cases are in hospital ?

  63. Lifelogic
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    I wish Boris/Hancock and everyone suffering a speedy recovery. At least these two will not be too worried about not getting access to a ventilator should they require them in a week or two.

    Why oh why was the NHS so absurdly slow to get ready (they have had two months notice), so ill prepared initially and why were the Government so very late to lock down?

    • Margaret Howard
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      And why did they apparently turn down the offer of help from the EU? Dogma above human lives?

      • a-tracy
        Posted March 28, 2020 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

        I’m more interested why the government turned down the GTec model. I can understand using U.K. manufacturers, a good proportion of the cost of the machine comes back into the U.K. governments hands through taxes on both the business and the workforce.

  64. Anonymous
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    It seems that Italy got hit so bad because their leather manufacturing was bought out by the Chinese. Instead of outsourcing the factories they sacked the Italian workers and brought in 100,000 Chinese workers.

    While we cower in our holes they buy up our stocks and own us. They have 200 million more men than women.

    Wake up !

  65. mancunius
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    As I was able to observe yet again today, our local supermarket is directly addressing the cash shortage – with a commendable attempt to replicate the command economies of the Iron Curtain – by ensuring there is little or nothing to buy. No bread, no tins, no veg, no eggs, no soup.
    They should really change their motto to ‘Let them eat cake!’

    • Fred H
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      Sir John will know the Sainsburys (Winnersh) and Waitrose (Wokingham) – at 8am the OAP hour went right round the large carparks. Hopeless. We returned home.

    • Margaret Howard
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 8:41 am | Permalink


      Don’t blame the supermarkets, blame our greedy fellow countrymen who continue to strip the shelves like a swarm of locusts.

  66. Margaret Howard
    Posted March 27, 2020 at 11:54 pm | Permalink


    “but the banks have to operate within the rules of the schemes and within the confines of the Regulatory system that governs them.”

    Did they do that after the 2008 crash caused by them? I recall that the only people compensated by the state then were their friends the bankers while the small investors were left carrying the can.

    I also seem to recall that none in their ranks were charged with any wrong doing.

  67. acorn
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Hoax circulates that UK hospital has issued special advice to staff to prevent COVID-19 infection AFP Australia Facebook Twitter Email Published on Wednesday 25 March 2020 At 08:50

  68. Ian @Barkham
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    From all advice circulating, this one pops up as being a hoax as there is nothing official about it.

    Sounded good though

  69. Mark
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    I think JR should not publish such advice unless it comes with a genuine link to the NHS that support it. Misinformation in medical matters has already been costing lives.

    Reply I have withdrawn the individual’s post. They did not source it, and I do not stand by any of the individual postings people make here for obvious reasons, other than my own. They are their own – or borrowed – opinions which each person should check out and consider carefully.

  • 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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