by UnHerd
Wednesday, 8
July 2020

Rishi Sunak sparks the economy into life

An emergency stimulus is the electrical shock the UK needs
by UnHerd
During August the Government won’t just be permitting us to go out for a meal but also paying half the bill

Forget what he said about VAT, Stamp Duty or even jobs — the soundbite from the Chancellor’s summer statement today is “eat out to help out.”

During August the Government won’t just be permitting us to go out for a meal but also paying half the bill! Yes, T&Cs apply — but it’s still quite an offer.

As Sunak acknowledged, this is not something that any British government has ever done before — let alone a Conservative government. We can expect complaints about fiscal irresponsibility — and snobbish remarks about the money being spent in Nando’s and Wetherspoons.

In normal circumstances, eat out to help out would be a stupid policy (ditto the temporary cut to Stamp Duty), but these are special circumstances — extraordinary, in fact.

It’s like applying an electrical shock to someone’s heart — in most cases, an extremely bad idea, but not to someone in cardiac arrest. An emergency stimulus is exactly the right treatment for sectors like hospitality — and there’s no need to be subtle about it. Indeed, high profile, shameless economic populism is just what we need right now.

As Sunak reminded us, economic output fell during the lockdown by as much as it rose in the previous 18 years. When that gets back to some kind of normality we can start applying normal criteria to economic policy judgements. But not before.

On a side note, the body language between the Chancellor and the Prime Minister is worth watching. While the former turned in another assured performance, the latter gazed on with both approval and what looked like genuine affection. This wasn’t the rictus grin of a boss who sees a younger colleague stealing the show (and, in time, the top job). No, this was the proud father who can see that the next generation is ready to takeover — and looks forward to it.

Join the discussion

  • Fascinating, “Do little and touch” (Deloittes) as we used to say, a “private sector vampire”.

    As one of the first ‘customers’ of the NHS, I fully applaud its altruism, but throughout my adult life it seems to have been a bottomless pit into which zillions of pounds of public money, have been tossed with gay (as we used to say) abandon.

    Compared to the French and Swiss systems, which I have had occasion to plunder, it is far too generous, gullible and idealistic in this modern age of “me, me, me”.

    As I approach that soggy hole in the ground, that is forever England, I admire the the concept of the NHS but deplore its naivety.

    As the Bible says “to toil and seek for no reward” has been your watch word for nye on eighty years. Perhaps it is time to ‘toughen up’, because you are being, to use the vernacular, “ripped off big time”.

  • They used to call VAT, Purchase Tax, and like death it will always be with us.
    The interesting point is how long we can afford the luxury of 37% of the workforce being employed by the State.
    There is also the astronomical cost of ‘Gold Platted’, Index Linked, Public Sector Pensions, which currently stands at about forty thousand million, per annum.
    So far, not a word has been spoken about this dilemma. Somebody is going to have to pay for all this largesse, but who? Or are we just going to keep on ‘borrowing’ as we have done since 1916, and expect as yet, unborn generations of “suckers”, to pick up the bill?

  • Two months ago, Nigel Clarke one the “band of brothers ” on UnHerd revealed the horrifying fact that the ‘sainted’ NHS is serviced by no less than twenty seven QUANGOS!
    No wonder at the beginning of the Scamdemic, as you so appositely call it, we were exhorted to “protect the NHS”. Previously, I and many others, had been under the misapprehension that it had been there to protect us.
    Like you, I also have no faith that Boris has either the will or the courage to do anything about this.
    Thus like some malignant giant squid, its tentacles wrapped around every organ of the Private Sector, the Civil Service and its acolytes will slowly, painfully strangle this country to death.

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