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Rishi Sunak ordered officials to publicize the economic costs of the lockdown


Rishi Sunak orders officials to post the economic costs of the lockdown along with daily Covid bulletins to "contextualize" death and infection numbers

  • Rishi Sunak asked officials to find ways to illustrate "other compromises."
  • The Ministry of Finance's own economic model could be shown alongside the Covid statistics
  • Sources said this could include, for example, evidence of an “impact on GDP” if a region moves from Tier 2 to Tier 3 or a national circuit breaker lockdown is introduced

Tax officials have been tasked with releasing the economic cost of the lockdown along with the daily Covid data, as The Mail can reveal on Sunday.

Rishi Sunak has asked officials to find ways to illustrate the "other tradeoffs" amid concerns about deaths and damage caused by coronavirus restrictions.

The Ministry of Finance's own economic model, which is currently only available to the ministers, could be presented to the public together with the Covid statistics.

Officials have explored how best to use economic data to "contextualize" the death and infection numbers the public has faced since the pandemic began.

This could include publishing the Treasury Department's internal calculations or the economic data from the Budgetary Responsibility Bureau, the independent forecaster.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak has asked officials to find ways to illustrate the "other tradeoffs" amid concerns about deaths and damage caused by coronavirus restrictions

Sources said this could include, for example, demonstrating the “impact on GDP” of moving a region from tier 2 to tier 3 or introducing a national lockdown on circuit breakers.

This month, Treasury's chief economic advisor, Clare Lombardelli, presented ministers with a model of the ruinous effects of a second national lockdown. The data reportedly played a key role in warding off calls for a "breaker" – a move endorsed by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

High-ranking conservatives welcomed the Chancellor's initiative. Sir Bernard Jenkin, chairman of the Commons Liaison Committee, said: “The government needs to deal with both Covid and economic statistics. Publication of both pieces of information to explain the basis for the decision would increase public confidence.

"This would lead to a better understanding of the public and therefore better compliance with the restrictions, and align the debate about how to respond with the much needed balance."

Baroness Altmann, the Conservative Peer and former Secretary of Pensions, said, "It's not about Covid deaths versus the economy. It's about deaths versus deaths."

A source close to Mr. Sunak said, “We have spent over £ 200 billion in the past few months. We have to be sensible.

“We believe, not just in the Treasury, but throughout the government that it is our responsibility to make people understand what the balancing act and the compromises between Cabinet, Prime Minister and Chancellor are to be done every day. & # 39;

Another Mr. Sunak ally said, "The average age for Covid deaths is higher than average life expectancy," while one Tory MP said, "We are destroying the lives of young people to save 80-year-olds."

The median age of those who have died of coronavirus since the pandemic began in England and Wales is 82.4 years. This is what researchers at Oxford University have shown using ONS (Office for National Statistics) data.

Life expectancy in the UK is 79.4 years for men and 83.1 years for women, according to the latest ONS report. Last week, the cost of coronavirus rose even further after Chancellor announced additional £ 13 billion measures to protect businesses and jobs through the new restrictions.

Carl Emmerson, Assistant Director of the Institute for Financial Studies, said: “In mid-July, official costs indicated the total direct cost of the Chancellor's interventions was £ 192 billion.

In less than a month, the Federal Chancellor announced his winter economic plan and two further extensions.

"Although these are large packages, none of them were accompanied by estimates of how many people are likely to benefit."

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson has been warned not to escalate the cost of an anticipated Covid investigation after freedom of information data showed the cost of public investigations rose to over £ 300 million in the past five years.

The Home Office alone has spent £ 193 million since 2015, as an analysis by the TaxPayers' Alliance has shown. The child sexual abuse inquiry has cost £ 143 million to date and the Grenfell inquiry has cost £ 40 million.

Alliance chief executive John O'Connell said: "All too often, politicians evade blame and throw difficult decisions into the grass with costly inquiries – we cannot allow this to happen to coronavirus."

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