Coronavirus: Route map to normality to emerge next week indicates PM

Author
Ian Mean
Director of Business West Gloucestershire | Business West
30th April 2020

Business will start getting a feel of a route map to some sort of normality next week.

That was the message from prime minister Boris Johnson who, looking fit and well, made his first appearance at the Downing Street press conference since his recovery from COVID-19.

But that route map will not be a quick road back.

This was obvious from what he said, being very cautious about exiting the lockdown but showing what I thought was a real sense of leadership.

We have missed that leadership.

It now looks as though business leaders are being asked to submit their ideas for exiting the lockdown by business secretary Alok Sharma by the weekend so that a business road map back can be developed.

He told us that he believed the economy will bounce back strongly and talked about mourning for people whose  business dreams have been shattered by the virus.

And he made the point that for the economy to bounce back we had to avoid a second spike of the coronavirus.

The Prime Minister paid tribute to his Chancellor, Rishi Sunak for his measures to help business survive.

And it is the key lifesaving measure from the Treasury, the furlough scheme, which is now coming under the spotlight as firms decide what they must do when it ends on 30 June.

Companies now have just over two weeks to decide what they will do in terms of their furloughed employees.

There are real concerns that we could see large scale redundancies when the government’s lifeboat cash aid ends, and the Treasury are under real pressure to extend it.

Make no mistake. I do not think that the road map out of the lockdown is going to be quick when it is next considered by ministers next Thursday.

This is despite Boris saying that we are now “past the peak of this disease and we are on a downward slope.”

But in the last 24 hours, there were still 674 deaths bringing total fatalities in hospitals, care homes and the community to 26,711.

These terrible figures of death through coronavirus which now threaten to take Britain above Italy as having the highest fatalities in Europe.

Boris Johnson is back leading the country, but the road back to any real normality for business is going to be a slow recovery.

But what we have now is a clear sense of leadership with major decisions on the economy needing to be piloted very carefully.

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