Britain in Lockdown – Day 4

Tuesday’s request for volunteers to help the NHS has generated such a huge response that the original goal of 250,000 has been trebled to 750,000 in light of the fact that over 660,000 people have signed up to the scheme.

Yesterday evening at 8pm millions stood on their doorsteps and balconies to ‘clap of the NHS’ to show their gratitude and support for all the selfless efforts of the frontline staff.

America’s infection total has now exceeded that of China with over 85,000 people testing positive for the Corona virus so far. The concern is that the Trump administration is doing too little too late and that they’ve lost the opportunity to grab control of the situation in a way that seems to have occurred in the UK and elsewhere.

Support for the Self Employed

Yesterday, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced measures to help the UK’s 5 million self employed workers. While it was reassuring for many others are dismayed to learn the the HMRC won’t be ready to give financial aid until June, and even the Chancellor admitted that it won’t help everyone but it’s the best that could be arranged in such a short space of time.

The amount of money each self employed person receives will be based on their annual tax return, so as some wag on Twitter pointed out, those who did so many jobs for cash and failed to declare their true earnings will now reap the bitter harvest of a much lower bailout than they could have had, if they’d only shown a bit more integrity in their financial affairs.

Sweden

There’s so much news about the pandemic that it’s difficult to keep track of what’s going on. Obviously it’s best not to try to hard. Each country is coping in its own way.

Sweden’s schools are still open. The shops and parks are packed with people enjoying the spring sunshine. Only gatherings of larger than 500 people have been banned.

The number of infections and deaths in Sweden is comparatively low but some are alarmed at the government’s approach which is far less restrictive that other Scandinavian countries and indeed the rest of the countries in the world where the virus has taken hold.

Recession

Despite all the financial support offered by the UK government the likelihood is that we’ll emerge from this crisis into a domestic and global recession. Unemployment is already increasing rapidly as businesses have simply stopped virtually overnight. The grants supplied by the government will no doubt empty the Treasury’s coffers.

However, there is a possibility that the country will at least spring out of the crisis with renewed vigour, chomping at the bit to get on with projects, relaunch businesses, or start new ones.