What will be the economic impact of the coronavirus?
By Joe Harker
Britain faces several months where many people must stay home as much as possible and buy only the essentials, not exactly the best news for an economy that relies on people going out and spending money.
It's all for a good reason, as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps through the world and social distancing measures are imposed to protect the public from the disease and save the NHS from being overwhelmed with cases.
However, what sort of economic impact is the coronavirus going to have on the UK and what could that mean for people?
Unemployment could double and the UK's economic output could drop by 15 per cent according to analysis from the Centre for Economics and Business Research.
Businesses are closed, jobs have already been lost and consumer spending has understandably plummeted as people are having to stay home instead of going out as though everything was normal.
They expect the economy to have shrunk by 0.5 per cent in the first three months of 2020 and predict it will be followed by "the steepest economic contraction since comparable records began".
It would be much bigger than the 2.2 per cent shrink at the end of 2008 which saw the banking crash occur, meaning the next three months could be the worst the UK has seen economically since at least 1997 where the CEBR's records begin.
To put it simply, an economy where many people are no longer able to work and consumer spending is down significantly is going to blow a hole in the output of the nation.
A recession is expected this year and it could be worse than the financial crisis 12 years ago.
The Counter Claim:
However, the BBC reports that while we are almost certainly already in a recession the situation which must be watched out for is economic depression.
A depression is more severe than a recession, with the economy shrinking for an extended period of time.
If Brits are without jobs and money after the coronavirus lockdown is lifted then public spending will be incredibly low. If the economy is going to bounce back quickly after the pandemic then people will need money to spend and jobs to return to.
The alternative would be disastrous for the economy, which isn't perfect but has many lives and livelihoods dependent upon it and needs to serve the public interest.
The government should not put the economy before lives and livelihoods, but they should attempt to guarantee that people who are stuck on lockdown now will be able to get back to their lives as soon as possible.
We won't know exactly how damaging the coronavirus will be to the economy until we get the proper data to analyse the impact.
However, we do know now that consumer confidence is at the lowest point in years, jobs are being lost and some businesses are closing for good as they cannot afford to shut down temporarily.