Rishi Sunak vs Boris Johnson: to spend or not to spend?

Rishi Sunak has directed his energy into recasting the Treasury back to its traditional role – the guardian of the public finances. The Chancellor notched up a substantial victory after education recovery tsar, Kevan Collins, resigned earlier this month, after his demand for £15 billion for catch-up programmes in schools was beaten down to a […]

Longer lockdown based on hypotheticals would come with serious economic costs

The penny is finally beginning to drop. The health service’s focus on giving absolute priority to the treatment of Covid-19 generates costs and problems on a massive scale. Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, has warned of the huge pressures on the NHS from the backlog of non-Covid cases. Many of these are life-threatening […]

Unemployment has stabilised but there will be economic pain ahead

There are high levels of business optimism. Survey after survey has told us this, from reports from Deloitte on large companies to evidence from the Federation of Small Businesses. Consumer savings are at an all-time high. People are itching to get out and spend the money they have been forced to accumulate. All in all, […]

Government scientists must be transparent about flawed Covid models

The strength of the economic recovery as Britain emerges from lockdown is a hotly contested subject among economists. Some believe there will be a massive surge in demand as consumers celebrate their freedom, others argue it will take time to claw back confidence. Economic forecasts are subject to the same faults as any projections, as […]

Burnley and Asda are unlikely warnings of debt-driven troubles

It has been a week of mixed messages. Not just on the release from lockdown, but on the economy. The Bank of England indicated that banks have been given six months to prepare for negative interest rates. The Monetary Policy Committee was quick to clarify that this did not mean that they would necessarily cut […]

Beware those who’d lock us down and throw away the key

Rather like dedicated Remainers, pro-lockdown enthusiasts never seem to give up. Their ardour will have been fuelled by leaks over the weekend of results from the epidemiological models. Apparently, even though quite soon all the over-70s will have been jabbed, lifting restrictions before the summer would lead to a massive third wave of the virus.  […]

Hurrah for a vaccine — but was lockdown actually worth it?

The development of the vaccines has changed many things. It has even influenced the opinion of the Prince of Lockdown himself, health secretary Matt Hancock. Life, he pronounced at the weekend, would be back to normal by the spring and the “blasted regulations” abolished. But one thing has remained constant: the government’s continued refusal to […]