The Chancellor’s challenge


This report from UK think tank IPPR looks at delivering a stimulus for post-pandemic recovery.

2020 has been an extraordinary year for people across the country, but also for government. The usual calendar of fiscal interventions has been trampled over by the demands of dealing with a global pandemic and the deepest recession on record.1 We are at a critical point in the course of this pandemic. While the prospect of a vaccine has offered hope to people (and stock markets) worldwide, there is a long way to go yet. Decisions taken today will determine whether businesses can recover and the state and shape of the economy for years to come. Even once a vaccine is approved, rollout will not be achieved at least for six to twelve months in UK, and longer in a number of countries around the world that the UK trades with and that people travel to. All of us are likely to be living under some kind of restrictions for months and possibly years to come; and structural changes have already taken place across the economy. There is no ‘going back’ to the pre-pandemic economy, as if its course had merely been paused. The pandemic has had dire consequences for people’s lives – not just in health terms, but economically. We are approaching a million people having lost their jobs. The number of families with children using foodbanks has doubled during the pandemic. This tide of hardship will only swell without adequate support for the economy, including through ‘scarring effects’ that will make it harder for businesses and people to survive and thrive.

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