Looking beyond the COVID-19 crisis

Looking beyond the COVID-19 crisis

BLOG · BY TTF CEO David Hopkins · 16 April 2020

While it may seem like a lifetime, it was just less than one month ago when COVID-19 quarantine measures began to come into force. It is an unprecedented time which has shaken society and the economy to its core.

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Today, the Government is set to announce that the lockdown will continue for another three weeks.

This makes sense. The lockdown is working and we would hope to see reported cases of infection and fatalities start to drop. We cannot move on until this happens and the next three weeks will be crucial to see progress.

However, the announcement comes at a time when several other countries, and the European Commission, are starting to either slowly lift sanctions or at least publish their strategies for doing so in the EC Roadmap.

In many ways, this is no surprise: other countries imposed restrictions far more quickly and efficiently than we did in the UK, the results have been seen, and therefore can also lift them sooner.

In the UK, the Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, has been pushing this agenda and asking the Government to be more open and transparent and publish a UK strategy for ending the sanctions here.

Of course, openness and transparency have not exactly been natural characteristics of this Government. Nevertheless, the Labour leader is right to push them towards it.

So far, compliance with the lockdown has been far better than expected. There is no evidence that people will stop complying if we start talking openly about a strategy to slowly re-open parts of the economy.

A re-opening of the economy after a situation like this cannot happen indiscriminately. Just like other countries, it cannot happen unless and until we have proper health data to indicate it is safe to do so.

Publishing a roadmap towards this – and allowing proper scrutiny and debate of the criteria and action plan – would allow the Government to demonstrate it has a grip on the situation, a plan for the future, and start to provide the confidence that business needs to properly plan ahead.

The current impasse is not good enough. On the one hand, the Government is calling for construction sites and their supply chains to stay open. On the other, many will feel they cannot definitely provide the safety restrictions required, or are closing as their customers and the market shuts around them.

It is hard to maintain morale under such circumstances. Having a clear roadmap in order to see some light at the end of the tunnel would provide some welcome positivity to businesses and individuals across the country.

And staying positive is the only way we will survive this crisis!