Budget 2021: The political consensus on low taxes could be completely wrong

In the run up to most Budgets there is almost always one key question shaping debate: should the screws be tightened or the floodgates opened? This time round, a near unanimous consensus has arisen. Taxes should not go up, for fear of jeopardising the recovery.  Even the Leader of the Labour Party has signed up to […]

Forecasting Unemployment in London

An early end to furlough could spell trouble for London residents. According to the UK Government’s latest announcement, the end is now in sight. With restrictions expected to be fully lifted by the 21st June, the economic recovery will be in full flow. Many people, including the Bank of England, are forecasting a short, sharp […]

Vaccine passports: a free market and plentiful pubs mean they won’t work in the UK

As the country emerges slowly from lockdown, the debate over so-called vaccine passports gathers pace. Yesterday, Matt Hancock confirmed Britain was looking into the proposition for international travel. Countries such as Greece and Spain have a strong incentive to develop a system with us. Each attracts large numbers of British tourists in a normal year. Whatever the […]

Beware those who’d lock us down and throw away the key

Rather like dedicated Remainers, pro-lockdown enthusiasts never seem to give up. Their ardour will have been fuelled by leaks over the weekend of results from the epidemiological models. Apparently, even though quite soon all the over-70s will have been jabbed, lifting restrictions before the summer would lead to a massive third wave of the virus.  […]

Cash for Covid? Cash for jabs makes far more sense

As the snow fell on Sunday, I almost expected a Cabinet minister to address the nation that very evening: “Don’t go out in the snow. Don’t slip and sprain an ankle. Save the NHS!” It could have been backed up by a scientist brandishing a chart and a “model” to demonstrate that icy weather led to […]

Covid-19 has shown it is time to invest in Britain’s scientists

Let’s start the New Year with a very positive point. The speed of scientific innovation seems to be accelerating sharply. And it is innovation which ultimately drives our health, wealth and well-being. The types of problems which have previously taken years or even decades to solve are being cracked in record times. The development of […]

The Government scientists’ credibility is shot to pieces

Imagine.  No, not the silly childish song by John Lennon.  Imagine there were no vaccines available.  What would Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health, do? He might ask people to pay more attention to the scientific advice. But the plain fact is that the credibility of Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, and […]

It is science, not lockdowns, that will save the world

The various new vaccines announced over the past two weeks give real hope of a return to normal life. Of course, many practical questions remain. How will these vaccines be delivered? Do they stop the transmission or simply the symptoms of the virus? Exactly how effective will they be outside a controlled trial environment? But […]

The public are not to blame for the second lockdown

Justice secretary Robert Buckland last week blamed the public for England’s new lockdown. In particular, the fault was with people failing to self-isolate properly. Of course, in a purely technical sense Buckland is right. The virus spreads by contact with an infected person. If people do not self-isolate, Covid-19 will continue to percolate across the […]

Forget the polls endorsing lockdowns and look at how people actually behave

Economics is at long last storming the bastions of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). This citadel of epidemiologists and health professionals has for many months resisted the lessons which the so-called gloomy science can bring. In the context of Covid-19, economics is in fact a beacon of hope. This week, news broke of […]