As from the end of the week, schools across the land will close until further notice. The fact is they were going to shut for two weeks over Easter anyway but no families will have planned for such a lengthy vacation.
The rationale for keeping the schools open was that parents would have to stay at home to look after the children, taking key workers off the front line. Alternatively, grandparents may be asked to care for them putting the most vulnerable in society at greater risk. But with a radical change of policy in recent days focusing more on testing and reducing personal contact to as little as possible, holding the line was becoming unsustainable, both practically and politically.
Some schools and nurseries will remain available for the offspring of “key workers” who have yet to be defined specifically but will include emergency service staff, drivers and shop employees. Exams in May and June have been scrapped which will cause children deep concern over what that means for their futures. They need reassurance as soon as possible.
At this time of crisis, constant carping at official policy does not help. Self-regarding parliamentary committees, for instance, would do better to let ministers get on with their jobs rather than drag them away from the office in order for MPs to grandstand.
Criticism has contributed to a sense that UK policy is insufficiently robust and might even be behind the collapse in the value of sterling to its lowest levels since 1985三级成人视频. Everyone, including the Opposition, needs to row in the same direction. Perhaps a cross-party War Cabinet is required.
三级成人视频But it is also important that the Government stays ahead of the curve and is not always seen to be catching up. When people are feeling so uneasy and alarmed, any sense of drift will merely add to their trepidation. We crave strong, implacable leadership.
Recent announcements, including the school closure, have not entirely convinced. Rishi Sunak’s £300 billion loan facility to prop up industry and businesses was welcome as far as it went.
But making this a credit line, however good the terms, is questionable because many companies do not want to take on more debt when they are making no money to pay it off. They may prefer to go out of business, defeating the point of the rescue package.
It is crucial that cash is easily and speedily accessible to people whose perfectly viable businesses have been wrecked by a demand shock not of their making. Direct payments for people losing their jobs will be necessary if firms lay off employees. One way this could be avoided would be to tie help for companies to a condition that they will keep workers on the payroll.
三级成人视频While mortgage lenders are helping borrowers with repayment holidays, this does not assist renters. The Government is now promising tenancy protection for them but must also ensure that landlords, who need the income, do not end up in hardship as a consequence.
But perhaps a far bolder approach is needed, such as so-called “personal QE” or helicopter money, direct cash in hand for the duration of the crisis. This will add massively to Government debt but this is not the time for timidity. The long-term costs in redundancy, broken businesses and falling tax revenues will be far greater.
During the last war, annual deficits of 20 per cent or more were run up for five years. This crisis will last nowhere near as long but could do even greater damage if something similar is not done. The wartime analogy is a real one. Instinctively, Boris Johnson believes in people making their own decisions, a commendable instinct, but in times like these there is no room for allowing selfish behaviour to continue by those who think it is fine to keep going to the pub or who bulk buy at the shops. Supermarkets have introduced their own rationing system but this should be backed by statutory authority to give clarity to the message.
There are reports that emergency powers to be introduced shortly may see a tougher London lockdown. The capital has the highest number of cases but has also seen widespread resistance to the social distancing the Government has sought. This needs to stop. Everyone must play their part in this fight.