Relieving the Lockdown

The newspapers are full of the need to reduce or abandon the “lockdown” which threatens to collapse huge parts of the economy by depriving people of means to earning a living. Except of course, the seven million people in the public sector (civil service, local government, 1,000 plus quangos, the police and agencies like HMRC who will carry on paying themselves even where there are no taxes to collect and companies to regulate).

Raising the lockdown

The lockdown needs to be raised by business carefully monitored by regular testing for the virus. Rural businesses should be first because population densities are by definition much lower than in urban areas and the loss of business so dire with virtually no potential customers left.

Garden Centres are Priority

Garden Centres have an absolutely desperate need to be reopened for customers since millions of spring plants will simply die unless bought and replanted. Infection monitoring by swabbing trolley handles and control of entry and/or collection points is easy to do. Some garden centres were already doing this before being instructed to shut.

Exports a priority

The other priority must be businesses exporting British-made goods (not re-exports). Despite the huge drop in overall UK demand, March’s imports of foreign goods still exceeded our goods exports by £8 billion, a reduction from pre-Covid monthly levels of trade deficit of around £12 billion, still huge and unsustainable.
Exports of services is now the only category of the UK current account which is positive. Every other category is negative – goods trade (as above), investment income (once the City’s main claim to fame), government-to-government (of course – including £1 billion per month to the EU – still). Yet the government carries on issuing promissory notes like the proverbial drunkard, e.g. £250 million last month for the international programme on vaccine research when our absolute need is to build national vaccine producing factories (we have only one in the whole country).

When will politicians and civil servants get hold of the fact that research in laboratories, vital as it can be in the early stages of a new product, costs real money and employs hundreds: only production in factories makes money, employs thousands in supply chains and distribution networks, and provides millions of people with the things they need.

As this writer has urged for decades, Britain needs to produce and export more THINGS. A production plan and export targets for a 50% increase spread over 10 years and 80% of the world is set out in Chapter 5 – Industry – of the book “Britain’s Referendum Decision and its Effects” (published by Technomica, 268 pages, 2016) which is available to download from this link.

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