If it it takes hold, people will not want to go to pubs, cinemas, shops or offices, so economic normality will be impossible anyway.
Modest consolidation over decades is one thing; large increases over a Parliament would be quite another.
While the Chancellor’s recovery measures look drastic, they are “middle of the pack” when compared to others in the world.
The Chancellor is groping his way, knowing well that the future is unknowable, trying to hold on to as much of the past as he can.
Given the Coronavirus uncertainties, whatever he announces could be even more provisional than most schemes of most Chancellors.
The big picture is that Johnson is dashing for growth. We devoutly hope it works but the precedents aren’t promising.
At the Centre for Policy Studies, we’ve teamed up with Sajid Javid to come up with a comprehensive set of ideas for tackling the challenges ahead.
After a decade of forward guidance, credit easing and quantitative easing, it was clear even before the Covid-19 crisis that monetary policy had run out of road.
If, that is, interest rates carry on at rock bottom rates. But we have to take a chance on growing our way out of this crisis.
As a member of his first Cabinet, I was tested in Northern Ireland – as elsewhere the new government reduced the defict and reformed public services.
The idea that we should not seek the closest commercial relationship with the United States is unconscionable.
If it proves a temporary blowout rather than permanent, accumulated debt levels being modestly higher looks manageable.
How prepared are we for strict social distancing for the forseeable future, compulsory masks, closed leisure facilities – and a semi-functioning economy?
As in 2008, the line between survival and disaster will rest on the bond markets’ trust in the British Government and on the reputation of the Bank of England.
Hopefully it will be crisis averted, and we’ll have a bit more time to fix the hole. But sooner or later, difficult choices on tax and spending are coming.