British MPs urge government to clarify the economic and business implications of lifting quarantine
Calling for evidence to be published along with a new government roadmap to be presented on February 22, a Treasury ad hoc committee said it would help the public better understand the implications of the restrictions, as well as the attendant costs and benefits of the change..
The UK has provided more than 15 million people with the first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, raising hopes that travel restrictions will be lifted within weeks as new infections and hospitalizations gradually decline.
However, the cabinet has so far refused to provide details on the criteria for economic recovery, which worries business leaders. Some CEOs said greater transparency would help them plan for the future as firms run out of cash after months of trade restrictions.
The moment when Boris Johnson preparing to announce which restrictions will be eased first, the committee said the lack of any official government economic analysis of controls is disappointing, especially as parliament needs to scrutinize the decision.
«The House of Commons should not be asked to consider proposals that have far-reaching implications for the general population, such as those related to restrictions on social interaction, education, movement and work, without the support of an appropriate and comprehensive economic analysis.», – the message says.
Mel Stride, the Conservative chairman of the committee said publishing the criteria for lifting the restrictions would help «instill confidence that the government has a clear path out of the crisis». «This needs to be supported by a combined economic and epidemiological modeling sponsored by the MoF showing how it can best optimize health and economic outcomes.», – he said.
The government has previously faced pressure from MPs to publish economic reasons for the restrictions due to the Covid pandemic, including from conservative Tories pushing for a loosening of control last fall when the tiered system was introduced. At the time, the government issued a 48-page document which concluded that «it is impossible to predict with certainty the exact economic effect of a specific change in a specific constraint».
Ministry of Finance Committee said the economic impact of Covid-19 had a significant impact on self-employed workers and also criticized the chancellor Rishi Sunaka for not providing further support to those struggling to survive during the crisis.
It is claimed that there was no «sufficient grounds» in order not to close gaps in government wage subsidy schemes for the Covid-19 emergency, and that some people have missed nearly a year of aid. New self-employed workers were not covered by government programs, and directors of limited liability companies were also excluded from them. Stride said: «We must not forget those who were excluded».
The committee stated that the lack of assistance for these people risks «send a signal that it does not support entrepreneurs and employers who have been hit hard by a lack of support».
The Ministry of Finance spokesman said: «The prime minister said that we will lay out a clear roadmap for getting out of the current restrictions, with dates in late February. We acknowledge that we have not been able to support everyone in the way they would like, but we continue to keep our schemes under review and determine the next stage of economic support within the budget.».