Rishi Sunak orders officials to publish economic cost alongside daily Covid bulletins

1 month ago 6

THE Chancellor has ordered Treasury officials to publish the economic cost of coronavirus alongside daily data on the deadly bug.

Rishi Sunak has called for civil servants to find ways to show Brits the 'other trade-offs' as half of people living in England face strict new lockdowns until tiers two and three.

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Rishi Sunak has called for the financial cost of Covid to be published alongside daily death tolls

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Rishi Sunak has called for the financial cost of Covid to be published alongside daily death tollsCredit: PA:Press Association

The UK has already spent more than £200billion on the virus

The UK has already spent more than £200billion on the virus

But the Chancellor wants to show the public the cost of moving areas from tier two to three - and of 'circuit-breaker' lockdowns, like the one in Wales

But the Chancellor wants to show the public the cost of moving areas from tier two to three - and of 'circuit-breaker' lockdowns, like the one in Wales

Mr Sunak wants Brits to know the hit coronavirus is having on the economy

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Mr Sunak wants Brits to know the hit coronavirus is having on the economy

And financial figures could be published alongside tolls reporting deaths and new cases.

Those figures are currently only available to ministers.

Officials have been examining the best way to use economic data to ‘contextualise’ the information presented to the public since the start of lockdown, Mail on Sunday reports.

This could mean that the Treasury's internal calculations, or economic data from independent forecaster the Office for Budget Responsibility, could be shown.

And now Tory sources say they fear younger people's lives are being "trashed" - as the average age of a coronavirus victim is revealed to be higher than the average life expectancy.

Covid has so far cost the country more than £200billion.

In addition, 673,000 Brits have lost their jobs, and since February, GDP has dropped 9.2 per cent.

Blackpool is one of the areas that has been moved to tier three amid rising cases

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Blackpool is one of the areas that has been moved to tier three amid rising casesCredit: Mercury Press

In Wales, all non-essential shops have shut for 17 days for a 'firebreak' lockdown

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In Wales, all non-essential shops have shut for 17 days for a 'firebreak' lockdownCredit: AFP or licensors

Meanwhile, pubs and bars in Manchester are allowed to remain open only if they can serve a 'substantial' meal

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Meanwhile, pubs and bars in Manchester are allowed to remain open only if they can serve a 'substantial' mealCredit: ASP

Many in the city hit the town regardless this weekend - enjoying drinks alongside meals

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Many in the city hit the town regardless this weekend - enjoying drinks alongside mealsCredit: Splash News

Both Boris Johnson and Mr Sunak have battled pressure for a second national lockdown

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Both Boris Johnson and Mr Sunak have battled pressure for a second national lockdownCredit: Reuters

It's understood Mr Sunak plans to show the public the 'hit on GDP' of taking a region between tiers, or introducing a national 'circuit breaker' lockdown.

This month, the Treasury’s chief economic adviser Clare Lombardelli presented models showing the huge impact a second national lockdown would have to ministers.

This data reportedly led to the Government deciding not to impose a circuit-breaker - despite strong calls from senior politicians including Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Boris Johnson and his top scientists have repeatedly resisted pressure to impose new national restrictions.

Sir Bernard Jenkin, the MP who chairs the Commons Liaison Committee, told the paper: "The Government must be looking at both Covid and economic statistics.

"Publishing both to explain the basis of decisions would instil public confidence.

"It would lead to better public understanding and so better compliance with the restrictions and bring much-needed balance to the debate about how we should respond."

Many pubs and bars in tier three areas have been forced to shutter altogether

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Many pubs and bars in tier three areas have been forced to shutter altogetherCredit: Getty Images - Getty

Mr Sunak says shutdowns come at huge economic cost

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Mr Sunak says shutdowns come at huge economic cost Credit: Getty Images - Getty

Sources close to Mr Sunak say it's right that Brits understand the impact Covid has had on the economy

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Sources close to Mr Sunak say it's right that Brits understand the impact Covid has had on the economyCredit: Getty Images - Getty

But not all politicians back the plans.

Baroness Altmann, the Conservative peer and former Pensions Minister, said: "It’s not about Covid deaths versus the economy.

"It is about deaths versus deaths."

A source close to Mr Sunak said: "We have spent more than £200billion already over the past months. We have to be sensible.

"The view, not just in the Treasury but across Government, is that it is our responsibility to make clear to people, for them to grasp what the balancing act and the trade-offs that the Cabinet, the Prime Minister and the Chancellor are having to make every day."

Another said: "The average age for Covid deaths is higher than average life expectancy."

And a Tory MP said: "We are trashing the lives of young people to save 80-year-olds."

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Covid daily death toll DOUBLES in just a week as 151 die - and 19,790 cases

The average age of those who have died from coronavirus in England and Wales since the start of the pandemic is 82.4, analysis by University of Oxford researchers using Office for National Statistics (ONS) data has shown.

Life expectancy in the UK is 79.4 years for men and 83.1 for women, according to the latest ONS report.

Earlier this week, Mr Sunak revealed a fresh bumper furlough package which will pay even more wages to save the nation's boozers and restaurants - splashing out an extra £8billion.

One in two people living in England is now living in strict tier two or three measures

One in two people living in England is now living in strict tier two or three measures

It comes as the number of people testing positive for the virus has surged

It comes as the number of people testing positive for the virus has surged

New ‘tier 4’ Covid restrictions ‘could close restaurants and non-essential shops’ if current rules fail to stop virus

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