Commenting on the Prime Minister’s announcement that England is to enter into a full-scale national lockdown, the Chairman of the Independent Business Network, John Longworth, has issued the following statement:
“The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) in conjunction with a hysterical broadcast media have created the perfect environment for a pre Christmas lockdown. If SAGE’s insistence on this new lockdown has the desired effect of reducing COVID infections in the short term then they will doubtless claim victory heralding themselves as the heroes of Christmas saved. Of course we may then never know that their machinations destroyed our economy and people’s mental and physical health for nothing, as avoiding lockdown would have had a similar but longer lasting effect. It’s telling, however, that even the World Health Organisation (WHO) has opposed further lockdowns describing them as a cruel and blunt tool with questionable scientific merit.
“It is essential we allow the economy and businesses to recover rather than suffocating them. Doing otherwise risks long-term economic harm the unintended consequences of which will far outstrip and outlive those of Coronavirus. Government action to save the elderly is not cost free. It comes at the expense of younger generations who will be plagued by long-term joblessness, lower earnings and sustained periods of unemployment for the rest of their working lives.
“These measures also disproportionately affect the private sector and family owned businesses. It is only the private sector, not the public sector, that generates wealth. Family owned businesses constitute 83 per cent of the businesses in the UK. Many of these lack the deep-pockets of their multinational cousins, who are better placed to weather the economic storm the Prime Minister is stirring.
“As well as the devastating economic and generational harm, the path of self-harm pursued by the Prime Minister today risks long-term political isolation for the Conservative Party itself. A generation of voters will never again trust the party to successfully navigate through the crises encountered in the post-COVID world.
“There is a strong likelihood that a significant proportion of the population have resistance to Covid having encountered Covid type viruses previously. A further large tranche will have developed resistance as a consequence of this particular strain. We can see this from the very low numbers of deaths amongst the under 50’s. Many over 50’s would rather take the risk of infection than waste years of their lives experiencing unprecedented curbs on civil liberties and restrictions on the pursuit of happiness. Meanwhile the economy is damaged as never before except in war and perhaps permanently, business suffers and unemployment looms large.
“The money that the Government spends is not theirs and certainly not that of SAGE’s, it is ours, tax paying citizens whether income tax or VAT or the multitude of taxes governments invent to rob their citizens. The money the government borrows ultimately falls on the taxpayer.
“The balance of advantage in decision making now lies firmly with sensible measures such as those adopted by Sweden, not lockdown. The cost of government policies to the long term health of the economy and just as importantly to the nations physical and mental health is now unjustifiable.”