Express & Star comment: Economic impact of Covid-19 clear to see

By Star Comment | Opinions | Published:

The rise in Universal Credit demonstrates clearly the economic impact of Covid-19. Figures have risen more quickly than at any other point in our history. The number of people claiming unemployment benefit has soared.

Covid-19 is hurting our health and wealth.

And the projections suggest that things are likely to get worse. The extent of the economic impact will be felt for many years to come.

Some are pinning their hopes on a quick bounceback. They imagine the pandemic might cause no more than short-term damage. The strong likelihood, though, is that it will be more serious, and some sectors will be scarred for many years by the lack of trade.

The hospitality industry and our entertainment sector are two industries that will face long-term problems.

Venues will close as restaurants, theatres, cinemas and concert halls fail to recover from the effects of the pandemic. Some will survive, of course, and the evolutionary race to see who can adapt and thrive has already begun.

The young will be disproportionately affected and the school leavers of 2020 face hard times. Their plans to build careers may be put on hold as companies draw up the bridge and put recruitment on hold.

When Covid-19 struck, most businesses looked towards their cash flows to make sure they had enough in the bank to see them through the worst. Now they are looking towards demand, to see where their next sale will come from.

Resilience, adaptability and determination will see some business through, as will strategic planning and a realistic assessment of the likely economic picture in the coming year or two. Others, however, will not be so fortunate and we can expect the number of job losses to continue to rise as furlough is phased out and businesses realise they can no longer sustain pre-Covid-19 staffing levels. There will be heartbreak for many as they face losing their jobs. Houses will be repossessed, bankruptcies will soar, the nation’s mental health will suffer and physical health will also face new challenges.

This is a global pandemic, of course, and so the UK is in a similar position to others. Our country will bounce back, but we must be inventive and determined as we looks to minimise the economic impact of this crisis.


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