Set-out lockdown plan to help economy, says Philip Hammond

Coronavirus Updates

As the country enters its second month of lockdown, Former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond has joined forces with calls from Labour for the government to set-out its plans to restart the economy.

Speaking on the Today program, the former Conservative minister, who resigned in last year's election, said "The reality is that we have to start reopening the economy. But we have to do it living with COVID. We can't wait until a vaccine is developed, produced in sufficient quantity and rolled out across the population. The economy won't survive that long."

He went on to say, "If we are all going to have to wear face masks travelling on public transport, businesses need to know that now so that businesses that have the capacity to manufacture products like that can start planning to do so.”

This news comes as almost 8 out of 10 members from the Made in Group report that in the past 4 weeks, they’ve remained, to some extent, open.

Today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson refused to ‘relax’ the lockdown, calling the UK’s current position as ‘the moment of maximum risk.’ Meanwhile, the Chief Medical Officer of the UK, Chris Whitty has stated that a full relaxation of the lockdown can not take place until a vaccine is readily available, which could be up to 18 months away.

One of Britain's leading epidemiologists earlier warned the government that any lifting of the lockdown would have to be matched with other measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
Neil Ferguson, a professor of mathematical biology at Imperial College London, who sits on the UK government's scientific advisory committee, SAGE, said if lockdown measures were maintained only for the elderly and other at-risk groups, there could be many more deaths and that the impact of lockdown would be cancelled out.

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