The Covid-19 pandemic has led governments around the world to impose draconian ‘lockdown’ measures. In the UK, that has meant everyone working from home, unless they absolutely cannot do so, and the closure of schools, universities, pubs, restaurants, hotels and most shops. In other countries, the lockdowns have been even more wide-reaching. Some countries have already started to loosen their restrictions, but the UK measures will be in place at least until early May.
As a result of such measures, economic output is likely to fall dramatically. The IMF expects the world economy to shrink by three per cent over the next year, although growth could rebound to 5.8 per cent next year if the pandemic fades in the second half of 2020. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has suggested the UK economy could shrink by 35 per cent in the second quarter alone.
Are these reports accurate or alarmist? How can we avoid the worst of a coronavirus depression? Are these lockdowns doing more harm than good? What will be the long-term economic impacts of the pandemic and the reaction to it?
LISTEN TO THE DISCUSSION
director, Europe, The Economist Intelligence Unit; editor, The EIU Democracy Index
economist and business manager; author, Creative Destruction: how to start an economic renaissance
capital markets; former Brexit Party MEP