British Business Facing ‘Hammer Blow’ from Boris’s Lockdown, Warns Former Tory Leader

TOPSHOT - A woman wearing a protective face shield passes a billboard showing Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Manchester, north-west England on November 6, 2020, as the second lockdown comes into force in England. - A united effort to tackle spiking coronavirus infection rates has been called for as …
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British businesses are facing a “hammer blow” from the government’s decision to extend lockdown restrictions, warned the former leader of the Conservative Party, Iain Duncan Smith.

On Monday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned that the UK would not return to normality until at least Easter, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced further regional lockdown restrictions that will be imposed following the end of the second national lockdown on December 2nd.

Writing in the Daily Mail, Conservative MP and former Tory leader, Iain Duncan Smith, said that, in light of the economic damage that has already been inflicted by the lockdowns, he fears that more restrictions “will force vast numbers of firms out of business and cast countless people out of work”.

“The hospitality sector is collapsing, and more and more people will fall into unemployment as business can no longer be sustained,” Smith wrote.

The former Tory leader said that the government must provide the public with a “proper cost-benefit analysis” of the impacts lockdown measures will inflict upon the British economy “before it is too late”.

“Given that the economy is in free fall, borrowing is rising like a rocket and tens of thousands of people face major delays for non-Covid health treatment, I wonder if those advising the Government have any concept of the devastating consequences of such a proposal,” he said.

Mr Smith also revealed that MPs were briefed last week by the government’s medical and scientific advisors, who informed the parliamentarians that the effects of the second national lockdown would not be felt until Sunday.

Therefore he concluded that in light of the slowing tide of cases and deaths in the country, it was “perverse” for the government to put the country through the national lockdown.

Following the announcement that the vaccine developed by Oxford may be up to 90 per cent effective, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government is planning on rolling out 100 million doses starting in the new year.

“We are looking with high confidence now that after Easter, things can really start to get back to normal,” he said.

The British government has refused to rule out whether they will make the coronavirus vaccinations mandatory.

While the UK saw a record growth rate of 15.5 per cent between July and September as lockdown restrictions were eased, the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics released earlier this month show that on the whole, the GDP of the UK is still down 9.7 per cent from where it was at the end of last year.

On Monday, a “flash” reading of the IHS Markit/CIPS UK Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which tracks growth in the private sector in Britain, indicated that the UK may be heading towards a double-dip recession following the latest lockdown.

The index fell to a five-month low to 47.4 in November, down from 52.1 in October. Any reading of the index below 50 suggests that the economy is shrinking.

The chief business economist at IHS Markit, Chris Williamson, said: “A double-dip is indicated by the November survey data, with lockdown measures once again causing business activity to collapse across large swathes of the economy.

“As expected, hospitality businesses have been the hardest hit, with hotels, bars, restaurants and other consumer-facing service providers reporting the steepest downturns,” Williamson added.

In an interview with Breitbart London in October, a British businesswoman said that she “100 per cent” blamed the government for her business collapsing, saying that the lockdown “killed” her business and made her lose “everything I have”.

“It’s killing the economy, it’s killing people, stopping people being able to visit people in hospitals, in care homes, it’s damaging every aspect of life,” she lamented.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here: @KurtZindulka

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