The economy is in the doldrums.
Only effective public health measures can salvage the British economy and trigger a recovery.
The necessary lockdown through November (and likely longer) has been a slap in the face to the signs of economic revival coming out of the last lockdown. We could see a double dip recession and more jobs needlessly shredded because of failure to get COVID under control.
Die hard libertarians use these facts as an argument against lockdown, but the undeniable fact is if we didn’t lock down, we’d see widespread infection, deaths piling up, and people staying away from standard retail and purchase practice anyway. The economy would still contract and the health service would likely overflow, causing even more needless cancer deaths etc than lockdowns have brought, because there wouldn’t be room left in the NHS to care for people.
The situation we’re in is the result of a four decade project of hollowing out our health infrastructure and manufacturing base, making our pride and joy, the NHS weaker than it should ever have been allowed to become as the virus hit, despite the heroic and herculean efforts of the modern day heroes working within it to save lives, and making us dependant on a precarious retail based low wage economy.
How do we combat the economic contraction? How do we stem the pain of a double dip recession and ensure those who’ve enjoyed an economic bonanza at the expense of the majority for 10 years pay for this crisis, rather than continuing to squeeze those living standards for working people yet further?
We need to always look at this as public health and economic recovery being intertwined. First thing to tackle is public health, without that the economy will never recover, period. We need a ZERO-COVID strategy in order to ensure no more damaging lockdowns. It’s ZERO-COVID ambition, or continued lockdowns and stagnation. The possibilities open to us with that strategy are enormous.
Second, we need to initiate stimulus to keep the economy afloat, targeting people hurting and small business which has been ravaged for 10 years, rather than letting the taxpayer subsidise the excesses of multinationals able to take the hit. How do you get out of the recession? Initiate a public sector lead Green Industrial Revolution bringing in small enterprise and cooperative initiatives, and guarantee a genuine living wage job in the public sector building green infrastructure or working in that sector (appropriate training subsidised with wages during that time) to anyone unemployed if they so wish, therefore pushing the market to compete and shielding people from the pain during the transformation.
We can seize the opportunities or shrink away from the challenge, what’ll it be?