18:21 GMT06 August 2020
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    According to reports; the UK’s workforce diminished by 600,000 between March and May this year. The number of people seeking to claim unemployment benefits also rose by 23 percent during this time. The figures reflect the dramatic impact that the Coronavirus Pandemic and subsequent lockdown have had on the British economy.

    Journalist Marcus Stead gave his views on the matter.

    Sputnik: How will the British economy be able to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic?

    Marcus Stead: I think that we all need to be prepared now for a sustained period of recession, and we need to be realistic about the way things are going to be, for example; the government could say that they are going to permit restaurants, pubs and cafes to re-open, but in reality, we are looking at these businesses running at one third capacity.

    If you have a family restaurant; your business model could be entirely based on a Friday and Saturday night turnover of twenty tables, which need to be filled twice, but now it would be operating as a six table restaurant.

    Then questions would need to be asked about whether these business models would still be sustainable at two thirds capacity, and with that thought in mind; we need to ask further questions along these lines.

    We are being told wherever possible to travel to work by car or by bicycle and to no longer use public transport, but we have had twenty five years of privately run trains in the UK, and their business model is based on having trains being full to capacity on morning and evening rush hours.

    Trains are now operating on ten percent capacity, so therefore do we need to urgently consider whether to re-nationalise the railways?

    Sputnik: Is Westminster simply loosening the UK’s Coronavirus lockdown to boost the economy, irrespective of the impact on public health?

    Marcus Stead: We have reached the stage where there is now a dangerous disconnect between the government and the people, and there are a lot of double standards around at the moment. In recent weeks the government has flip flopped so much on its policies about how we should behave, and what we should do.

    In England; people using public transport were instructed to wear face coverings from last Monday, but why now? Why now in the middle of June? If it is so important; why wasn’t it made mandatory when the virus was running rife?

    It is a similar thing with the fourteen day quarantine with flights. Why was that introduced now? Why wasn’t it made compulsory three months ago? Those near the top of government don’t really believe their own advice.

    The most absurd aspect of the Dominic Cummings revelations a few weeks ago was that he said that his eyesight had been affected when he was ill with Covid-19, and to test his eyesight; he drove thirty miles away from where he was in isolation in Country Durham, to Barnard Castle with his wife and his child in the car.

    I don’t mean to state the obvious here, but if you are concerned about your eyesight; the first thing you should do is see an optician, what you don’t do is get behind the wheel of a car, let alone drive thirty miles, let alone with your wife and your child as passengers, this is absurd beyond belief.

    Then we have Neil Ferguson, the senior figure in the SAGE Committee, he set all these strict conditions about what we should do, staying at home, and social distancing, but he got found out meeting up with a married woman.

    We saw similar things happen in the devolved nations of the UK. In Scotland; the Chief Medical Officer Catherine Calderwood broke the lockdown twice with her husband to visit her holiday home in Fife, and in Wales, we’ve seen that the First Minister Mark Drakeford doesn’t even understand his own government guidelines.

    Sputnik: Should Westminster have allowed such large scale Black Lives Matter protests to take place in the UK?

    Marcus Stead: There are understandable reasons why people are angry and upset over the death of George Floyd, but the UK government should have made it clear that this is not a valid reason for breaking social distancing rules, and for meeting up in huge numbers.

    The Prime Minister did say not to go out protesting, but for the last two weekends people have realised that the police didn’t actually do anything if people do go out and protest, there were no serious attempts to disperse crowds, and people are very annoyed about this.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    Recession, benefits, unemployment rate, Unemployment, coronavirus, COVID-19, United Kingdom
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