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UK government's planning for the economic impact of Covid-19 criticised: expert comment

Professor Abhinay Muthoo from the University of Warwick Department of Economics comments on criticism from the Commons Public Accounts Committee of the UK government's planning for the economic impact of Covid-19.

Professor Muthoo said: "The UK House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has strongly critiqued the UK government’s lack of sufficient planning in responding to the economic and social impacts of the pandemic. In particular, on the delays in taking appropriate actions. It is noted that the first reported cases of coronavirus in England were on 31st of January, but the economic support measures were only announced by the UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak in mid-March.

"Timing is everything, as the saying goes. And while the government has, rightly, over the past months injected a huge amount of resource supporting people’s livelihoods and businesses, and much more needs to be done going forward, the delay will have adversely impacted many people and many businesses. For example, the impact on many children and young people’s learning and mental health due to the school closures, and insufficient support provided to them, will in some cases have long lasting adverse impact.

"As the Public Accounts Committee rightly notes, the Government must learn lessons, and fast, to better plan and better target resources, so as to help mitigate such adverse impacts on so many people and so many businesses. There is need for much more economic and social support, going forward, and in a planned and targeted manner. Both over the coming weeks and months, and to plan and prepare for a possible second spike in infections in the Autumn, but also, more generally, to plan too for another new disease outbreak."

23 July 2020


Peter Thorley
Media Relations Manager (Warwick Medical School and Department of Physics)


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