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UK failed to plan for economic impact of flu-like pandemic, says watchdog


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Coronavirus: UK's pandemic planning an 'astonishing failure', say MPs

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-53484998

UK failed to plan for economic impact of flu-like pandemic, says watchdog

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/23/uk-failed-to-plan-for-economic-impact-of-flu-like-pandemic-says-watchdog

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There was an “astonishing” failure by government to plan for the economic impact of a possible flu-like pandemic, parliament’s financial watchdog has said.

MPs on the cross-party public accounts committee concluded that government schemes were drawn up “on the hoof” in mid-March by Rishi Sunak’s Treasury, weeks after the first case of coronavirus was detected in the UK. The delay risked leaving sectors of the UK economy behind, according to a report published on Thursday.

MPs questioned why there was no economic equivalent to Exercise Cygnus, the 2016 simulation of an international flu outbreak that involved 950 emergency planning officials.

Key government ministries such as the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy [BEIS] were not made aware that Cygnus had taken place and so had little idea of the possible impact of a major outbreak, the report said.

Meg Hillier, the chair of the committee, said members were shocked to discover from senior civil servants that pandemic planning had been treated solely as a health issue, with no planning for the economic impact.

“The economic strategy was of necessity rushed and reactive, initially a one-size-fits-all response that’s leaving people – and whole sectors of the economy – behind,” she said. “A competent government does not run a country on the hoof, and it will not steer us through this global health and economic crisis that way.

The committee’s conclusions followed evidence from Sir Tom Scholar and Alex Chisholm, the permanent secretaries in the Treasury and the Cabinet Office respectively.

Scholar told MPs: “We developed our economic response in the weeks leading up to the budget … We didn’t have these schemes ready and designed and ready to go. We have been designing them as we have gone along.”

 

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The same absolute prats that were busy slating the govt instead of suggesting any plan/road-map for the post lockdown economy themselves, or, you know, actually asking this question back then (as some of us were) along side what needed to be done to combat the virus.

The same prats who were whinging that we should lockdown ad infinitum, and that "this really isn't about the economy right now". THEY WANTED THIS. They got their way, despite warnings, and locking down worked don't get me wrong, it was necessary, but frankly the ball is in their court now, the government listened to their priorities, it's on them to suggest how to move us forward...

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The Tories have no ability to plan for any Nationwide response - it's too much like sOcIaLiSm with state control.  Ironic, as the resulting knee jerk reaction often smacks of state intervention.

 

The only time they did prepare was the stockpiling of coal to hit the Miners with. If that doesn't tell you about Tory ideology...

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9 hours ago, CityLAD88888 said:

The same absolute prats that were busy slating the govt instead of suggesting any plan/road-map for the post lockdown economy themselves, or, you know, actually asking this question back then (as some of us were) along side what needed to be done to combat the virus.

The same prats who were whinging that we should lockdown ad infinitum, and that "this really isn't about the economy right now". THEY WANTED THIS. They got their way, despite warnings, and locking down worked don't get me wrong, it was necessary, but frankly the ball is in their court now, the government listened to their priorities, it's on them to suggest how to move us forward...

So its not the Tories fault for being a reactionary populist government? Its everybody else's fault?

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17 minutes ago, Postman said:

So its not the Tories fault for being a reactionary populist government? Its everybody else's fault?

The Tory govt hands aren't clean, of course. Though they're all reactionary populists, British politics has been a popularity contest with barely a separation between the main parties for at least 20 odd years now.

Go watch question time, you only have to look that far to see that people will always find a way to whinge that everything is the government's fault.

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3 hours ago, CityLAD88888 said:

The Tory govt hands aren't clean, of course. Though they're all reactionary populists, British politics has been a popularity contest with barely a separation between the main parties for at least 20 odd years now.

The Elites have railed against ANY sort of alternative politics.  The Tories mastered the art of TINA

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Go watch question time, you only have to look that far to see that people will always find a way to whinge that everything is the government's fault.

There is an underlying frustration that we can't hold the Elites to account as they hide behind Government - they are happy to take the flak in return for directorship and peerage

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Should the government be planning economic scenario models for every conceivable type of problem no matter what it is? War, famine, good times, bad times, pandemics, house price inflation, house price deflation - the list is endless. Part of me thinks yes but I doubt they've the resources to undertake something so constant.

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7 hours ago, CityLAD88888 said:

The Tory govt hands aren't clean, of course. Though they're all reactionary populists, British politics has been a popularity contest with barely a separation between the main parties for at least 20 odd years now.

Go watch question time, you only have to look that far to see that people will always find a way to whinge that everything is the government's fault.

lets be honest, All governments would have made a total c**k up of this,

I suupose we should be thankful we have a bumbling tory government at the helm,whi IS swayed by public opinion,rather than a "DECISIVE" blair/corbyn labour one, who will "do the right thing"..irrespective of public opinion, because they know better than you plebs and it's for you're own good you imbeciles/heretics/ignorant gits.

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ps I would prefer a decisevely libertarion,small government conservatism to be running the show,but at least bumbling boris is giving local government enough rope to hang itself with,it's been a festering boil of mismanagement for decades and now people can see just how rotten it has become.

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In my view the economic measures were as much as anyone government could have done.  The failure was in other areas. Less onerous measures than a full lockdown might have been possible if we had more planning. Protecting nursing homes, the vulnerable, higher levels of hygiene. However, planning was shocking and the public knew it. 

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For the last couple of days Boris has been babbling on about we ‘didn’t know what we were dealing with’, ‘we didn’t know how to deal with the pandemic’. This in spite of the UK being behind Italy and Spain and the World Health Organisation giving excellent guidance Throughout. No attempt to follow the guidance of course, and now the bluster to make out the government did its best. Apparently Boris hates being compared to Trump (understandable) but he’s looking more and more like a British version every day!

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It was in some respects a black swan event. To plan for such an event would imply not running the economy on a knife edge of mind boggling consumer debt. This was politically impossible.

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21 minutes ago, MarkD said:

For the last couple of days Boris has been babbling on about we ‘didn’t know what we were dealing with’, ‘we didn’t know how to deal with the pandemic’. This in spite of the UK being behind Italy and Spain and the World Health Organisation giving excellent guidance Throughout. No attempt to follow the guidance of course, and now the bluster to make out the government did its best. Apparently Boris hates being compared to Trump (understandable) but he’s looking more and more like a British version every day!

To be honest not good enough.....both are different but with similar traits......perhaps looking for sympathy and understanding, only human afterall...almost as if knew was taking a gamble at the time hoping the gamble would pay off.....for many it did not, yet to see if it will for him.

 

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21 minutes ago, MarkD said:

For the last couple of days Boris has been babbling on about we ‘didn’t know what we were dealing with’, ‘we didn’t know how to deal with the pandemic’. This in spite of the UK being behind Italy and Spain and the World Health Organisation giving excellent guidance Throughout. No attempt to follow the guidance of course, and now the bluster to make out the government did its best. Apparently Boris hates being compared to Trump (understandable) but he’s looking more and more like a British version every day!

They had at least a few months head start, assuming their intelligence sources in China weren't asleep at the wheel.  

It's rather amazing given how much is spent on military / defense that western countries could not prepare any better than they did.  

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1 minute ago, blackhole said:

They had at least a few months head start, assuming their intelligence sources in China weren't asleep at the wheel.  

It's rather amazing given how much is spent on military / defense that western countries could not prepare any better than they did.  

Perhaps they had no intention of actually doing anything?

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We're spending over a hundred billion on nukes that'll never be used.

Right now, I'd nuke Trident (sorry!). Total waste of money. Didn't stop Argentina invading the Falklands. Didn't stop Putin stomping anywhere he fancied. They're a relic of a past era. Just like me really....

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Schools and those who ran them only found out about closure on the news Thursday evening like everyone else, a week after most of europe had closed them. No list of which professions considered a key worker sent to schools until afternoon that children went home. Very basic stuff to organise, if those above have clear view of what they wanted to do. Facts show they wanted to keep things running as far as normal, but made a u turn days later. And not a u turn based on changing evidence but on public opinion. 

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13 minutes ago, nothernsoul said:

Schools and those who ran them only found out about closure on the news Thursday evening like everyone else, a week after most of europe had closed them. No list of which professions considered a key worker sent to schools until afternoon that children went home. Very basic stuff to organise, if those above have clear view of what they wanted to do. Facts show they wanted to keep things running as far as normal, but made a u turn days later. And not a u turn based on changing evidence but on public opinion. 

I'm told there were at least 3 pandemic reports and tests carried out. Big one in 2016. All recommendations universally ignored by government. Which begs the question - why pay for the bloody reports in the first place?

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47 minutes ago, byron78 said:

I'm told there were at least 3 pandemic reports and tests carried out. Big one in 2016. All recommendations universally ignored by government. Which begs the question - why pay for the bloody reports in the first place?

I find it interesting the lack of joined up government.

That is, the central bank called the shots with respect to wider economic policy and predictions. Tail events simply didn't exist in their world view. Central bankers were treated like Gods.

The thought of not maybe racking up so much private debt and having a bit more economic head room in return for a slightly less frothy economy that wouldn't leave itself naked in the event of an unexpected shock, clearly eluded them. No precaution at all. Utter economic arrogance.

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1 hour ago, Trampa501 said:

Still, Mr Johnson told us earlier this week, it'll all be over by Christmas. Now, which year did he mean?

This Australian chap is saying 2025, but fortunately he's just a TFH wearing, lunatic conspiracy theorist, so no need for concern.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcQEKgxjDLk

(In the spirit of Aristotle, I entertain ideas which I neither necessarily adopt nor dismiss without due consideration.)

 

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5 hours ago, byron78 said:

Right now, I'd nuke Trident (sorry!). Total waste of money. Didn't stop Argentina invading the Falklands. Didn't stop Putin stomping anywhere he fancied. They're a relic of a past era. Just like me really....

There are two things preventing any country which wants to take over the UK from just walking in:

1. Nukes. The rest of the military is just a speed bump, and the people have been disarmed.

2. No-one really wants it.

The latter could easily change.

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5 hours ago, Si1 said:

It was in some respects a black swan event. To plan for such an event would imply not running the economy on a knife edge of mind boggling consumer debt. This was politically impossible.

It was the whitest of swans, no 1 on the risk register for years. 

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22 minutes ago, MarkG said:

There are two things preventing any country which wants to take over the UK from just walking in:

1. Nukes. The rest of the military is just a speed bump, and the people have been disarmed.

2. No-one really wants it.

The latter could easily change.

The nukes would never be used, as committing national suicide is never the best course of action even if an invading army is coming ashore. 

It would be interesting to open the safe and see what is the sealed orders given by each new PM to the Trident boats.

Edited by Confusion of VIs
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  • 415 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
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      • Even
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      • up 5%



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