My Written Question asking the Minister if he will publish the economic forecasts from the latest Plan B restrictions

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish forecasts of the economic impact of the covid-19 restrictions announced on 8 December 2021. (91823)

Tabled on: 13 December 2021

John Glen:

On 8 December, the government implemented its Plan B response to managing Covid-19. This was in response to the risks posed by the Omicron variant. The government set out the economic impacts of Plan B in its Autumn and Winter Plan, published in September 2021. Plan B has been designed to help control the spread of the virus while avoiding unduly damaging economic and social restrictions. A full assessment of the measures can be found in the link below.

HM Treasury does not prepare formal economic forecasts for the UK economy, which are the responsibility of the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). HM Treasury will continue to conduct macroeconomic analysis to monitor the impacts on the economy from the implementation of Plan B measures.

The answer was submitted on 16 Dec 2021 at 13:56.


  1. Nottingham Lad Himself
    December 16, 2021

    This would appear meaningless.

    It’s not possible to say what the economic impact would be from the effects of *not* implementing the measures and letting cases rise uncontrollably to a very serious, but not easily quantifiable extent.

    1. Sir Joe Soap
      December 16, 2021

      Perhaps if we looked at comparing the present government-generated hysteria to a more reasonable, balanced approach? This is NOT the Black Death. It’s not plague, nor smallpox, nor polio. It’s not even a very serious virus, from evidence so far. Large scale infections, yes, but serious apart from for the already seriously sick or immune-suppressed? No. We need Cpt Mainwaring, not Colonel Jones.

    2. No Longer Anonymous
      December 16, 2021

      It’s a question that needs to be asked. We need to know how many people are going to die because of the coming economic depression.

      I understand why you don’t want a balanced assessment of the situation, NLH.

      We also need to know details about the single omicron death (a fact) yet we are given plenty of details about what *might happen* (all of it scary and none of it optimistic) yet scant detail about what HAS happened. Why is this casualty being kept a secret.

      Omicron is looking very much like the mild virus that Sth Africa told us it would be.

      How much of the economy and how many young healthy lives must be ruined to “save the NHS” ?

      Bankruptcy ? Lockdown forever ? It’s looking like it. Prof Whitty has said at least 18 months more of this – others on Sage have said 5… I feel it’s never going to end – what’s on the horizon to stop it ?

      WHEN do we consider focused shielding for those identifiable groups whom we know are at most risk ?

      We simply cannot go on like this. This is no life for healthy people to be living and if I were old I would not demand this of the young – and nor do any of my immediate relatives.

    3. Peter2
      December 16, 2021

      You could look at other countries
      As long you understand the many different ways they do their statistics.

  2. Iain Gill
    December 16, 2021

    making it up as they go along

  3. Sakara Gold
    December 16, 2021

    A further 88,376 Covid cases have been reported in the UK on Thursday, the highest daily total recorded since the pandemic began and almost 10,000 more than the previous record set on Wednesday

    Today the UK Health Security Agency’s chief medical adviser, the completely useless Susan Hopkins, reported to the HoC Health and Social Care Committee that the Omicron variant’s R rate was estimated to be a startling 3-5. Most concerning, she also reported that the R value for the Delta was 1.1-1.2

    This means that two variants are now circulating within our highly vaccinated population at the same time. We run the risk of a merger of the two variants into something far more lethal.

    Never mind the economic costs. Given the unbelievable speed at which this virus is spreading, the situation demands an immediate and total lockdown

    1. DOM
      December 16, 2021

      I take it you work for the public sector or simply someone with a sadistic bent.

      1. lifelogic
        December 17, 2021

        Lockdowns can perhaps slightly delay and flatten the sombrero limiting peaks slightly but clearly they have done far more harm than good in. This new variant than goodness seems to be little more than a cold and free vaccine for most people.

        As Stanford Professor of medicine Jay Bhattacharya put it:-

        Lockdowns will be seen as the “single biggest public health mistake” in history.

        I myself would put the “gain of function” on bat viruses experimentation – conducted in leaky labs in the worse place though.

        1. Cynic
          December 17, 2021

          @LL. Gain of function experiments are what has led to all this fear mongering by the guilty parties. They were terrified of what they had done and of being held responsible.

        2. villaking
          December 17, 2021

          Lockdowns the “single biggest public health mistake in history” says an early advocate who screamed on this forum for Boris to implement one. You don’t get away that easily @lifelogic. Some of us told you so. At least we agree now, pity Boris can’t also be persuaded

    2. Nottingham Lad Himself
      December 16, 2021

      Continental media are generally describing the UK as the “epicentre” of the omicron upsurge.

      They are also taking an interest in Johnson’s political survival prospects.

      1. Peter2
        December 16, 2021

        More fantasy politics from NHL0

      2. Nottingham Lad Himself
        December 17, 2021

        For example, Corriere Della Sera wrote yesterday:

        “Si vota oggi nel North Shropshire in seguito alle dimissioni per conflitti d’interesse del deputato Owen Paterson. Il risultato in un collegio che ha sempre e solo votato Tory sarĂ  un giudizio sulle credibilitĂ  e l’affidabilitĂ  del premier.” You don’t need much Italian to get the gist of that, and it’s the same in most of the Continental press.

        And we know that the French have raised the drawbridge with the UK over the proliferation of omicron cases.

        1. Michael McGrath
          December 17, 2021

          NLH Have the French closed their borders to South Africa….Or is South Africa OK as it has not been part of Brexit??

          1. Nottingham Lad Himself
            December 17, 2021

            Ooh, we are touchy, aren’t we?

            If not, then it would be a matter of absolute numbers and therefore proportionate risk, I’d say, but pamper your victimhood complex as ever, do.

    3. rose
      December 16, 2021

      If the testing goes through the roof, the positives will also increase, but the real rate may still be flat if you take into account the increased negatives.

      1. rose
        December 16, 2021

        The faster, weaker variant should displace the other. It would be very odd if they got together and mutated into something stronger: a virus does not usually prefer to kill its host.

    4. No Longer Anonymous
      December 16, 2021

      As far as I know viruses don’t breed sexually.

  4. alan jutson
    December 16, 2021

    Thanks for asking all of those questions you have recently listed JR.
    It seems a common theme is developing here with all of the answers.

    1. They do not know.

    2. They evade the question completely with a non answer. (because they do not know)

    3. They suggest YOU look for information within predetermined budgets. (because they do not know)

    The simple fact appears to be they do not have a clue, but try to avoid telling you that, Or they know, but the answer but it is too embarrassing to publish.

    Makes you wonder how on earth they actually form any sensible policy about anything, given they seem to have no real or factual up to date data on anything at all.
    Quite shameful really.

    1. rose
      December 16, 2021

      The remedy is to get a select committee to send for the relevant civil servants. Sir Bernard Jenkin’s comes to mind.

  5. glen cullen
    December 16, 2021

    Not thousands of deaths, not hundreds of deaths, not tens of deaths…one death associated with omicron and he was unvaccinated in his 70s

    1. No Longer Anonymous
      December 16, 2021

      Scant detail on that casualty btw.

      1. lifelogic
        December 17, 2021

        We can probably assume from this “scant detail” that it was not someone young, health and unvaccinated but probably an old vaccinated person who perhaps caught Covid in hospital and died with and not from it.

        But perhaps the government will correct me if I am wrong?

        1. glen cullen
          December 17, 2021

          he was unvaccinated in his 70s

  6. Brian Tomkinson
    December 16, 2021

    The answer to your question would appear to be “No”.

  7. No Longer Anonymous
    December 16, 2021

    Still no information on the one omicron death but plenty of dire virus forecasts – no attempt to steady the nation’s nerves.

    No. They’re not bothering to count the economic impact, nor lockdown deaths and illnesses – nor the chronic vaccine side effects such as those my wife has this week.

  8. X-Tory
    December 16, 2021

    I’m afraid that, once again, ministers have LIED to you. John Glen stated “The government set out the economic impacts of Plan B in its Autumn and Winter Plan”, but the plan in the link given does NOT give ANY assessment of the economic impacts of its proposals. The absence of such a crucial element is shocking.

    As for the Treasury not preparing “formal economic forecasts”, this is just playing with words in order to avoid giving you an answer to your perfectly reasonable question. Of course the Treasury conduct their in-house economic forecasts to analyse proposed policies. These may count as INformal economic forecasts, but they should still be made available to MPs who ask for them. And the Treasury can ask the OBR to prepare forecasts, as they do at budget time. So why was this not done in this case?

    I think a couple of follow-up questions are definitely required Sir John!

    1. Oldtimer
      December 16, 2021

      I looked at two of the documents in the link. I found nothing remotely like any attempt to assess the financial implications of the steps proposed. It is inconceivable, in my experience, that any major decision would be made in the private sector without an assessment of the likely financial implications of the decision proposed. No wonder government spending is totally out of control. The government is ready enough to provide forecasts of expected rates of infection and make assumptions about hospitalisations and deaths but seems incapable of identify either the direct costs of its actions or of estimating the broader economic impacts. This is a government, civil service and NHS that are out of control. It is but a matter of time before they bankrupt the country.

  9. Andy
    December 16, 2021

    Isn’t it odd. The same MPs who demanded that we DIDN’T publish forecasts of their Brexit demand that we do publish forecasts of their party’s Covid failures.

    Let’s be clear. Whatever the cost of Covid, long term it is still less than Brexit.

  10. Micky Taking
    December 16, 2021

    Just got a Whatsapp message (other systems are available), with an illustration of the likely vaccine passport accepted by night club bouncers….
    A ÂŁ50 note.

  11. rose
    December 16, 2021

    The reptiles are enjoying remarking on the absence of the Chancellor, but what are we to make of the absence of Sir Patrick Vallance?

  12. rose
    December 16, 2021

    It may look demeaning to an MP of Sir John’s seniority and standing to deny him an answer, over and over again, but I am inclined to take it as a compliment. They might be terrified of what he might do with the information.

    1. Micky Taking
      December 17, 2021

      Correct – the truth hurts and Sir John keeps asking.

  13. Oldtimer
    December 16, 2021

    It is clear from the reply that the government does not estimate the impact of its decisions on its own financial condition, let alone the impact on other people and businesses. In the final reckoning, whether on a personal, business or state level cash is king. Ignore it at your peril. Tory MPs need to take a grip and fast.

  14. Lindsay McDougall
    December 17, 2021

    I doubt if they know the answer. Hopefully, the Omicron variant will only cause mild (though widespread) illness and by the end of January everyone will totally ignore the Government’s instructions. In America, prohibition collapsed when everybody took their own booze to restaurants. If the law is an ass, ignore it.

  15. Lindsay McDougall
    December 17, 2021

    Latest NHS COVID-19 summary (week on week):
    Cases up 31%
    Hospital admissions up 9%
    Deaths down 6%
    Unnecessary panic?

    1. Micky Taking
      December 17, 2021

      But it is winter, coughs , colds, no GPs for advice….media need daily headlines.
      Quelle surprise.

    2. TIM HUTCH
      December 17, 2021

      Hospital admissions up 9% vs last year same week or last week?

      1. Philip P.
        December 17, 2021

        Tim: Government data (at says UK hospital admissions ‘with Covid’, 7-day average figure as of 13th Dec. (most recent data) was 900, and hardly going up. On the same date in 2020, you can see it was over 1,800, and rising steeply.

        Just because mainstream journalists don’t know where to look for the facts, that’s not a reason for us not to know.

Comments are closed.