No prizes for the losers in the race for the vaccine

However, he says the biggest long-term benefit from a rapid approval would be from limiting economic scarring.

This is the long-lasting damage caused by businesses buckling under the strain of the downturn and workers becoming unemployed as tectonic shifts reshape industries.

“Fewer businesses go under and structural unemployment stays a bit lower so the supply capacity and the ability of the economy to grow is not hurt as much,” Dales explains on the early vaccine scenario.

Firms going under waiting for a vaccine to arrive will make it “harder for the economy to grow because that business is no longer

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UK poised to suffer the biggest Covid blow of any major economy

The furlough scheme is being wound down ahead of its end in October. The bank’s consumer confidence indicator has also pulled back to its lowest level since mid-June, driven by unemployment fears.

Robert Wood, economist at Bank of America, said “caution abounds over medium-term spending plans” and consumers that saved during lockdown are now more hesitant about purchases.

Fabrice Montagne, chief UK economist at Barclays, also warned of rising consumer concerns, adding: “The fears of unemployment when policy support is phased out will likely act as a drag.”

However, spending in some of the ­industries hardest hit by Covid-19, including

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Calls to ‘save’ high streets miss big picture

Indeed, the distinction between online and bricks-and-mortar retail is increasingly blurred. Two thirds of the businesses that trade on eBay also have a physical premises. John Lewis is aiming to be a 60pc online retailer, from 40pc before Covid. There are also lots of firms that started online and then opened shops, and plenty of shops that have come online to help themselves to survive the pandemic.

Finally, the ugly sight of empty shops and boarded-up properties is certainly proof of some sort of failure. But this is not the national picture.

As the Centre for Cities points out, high

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Britain’s biggest businesses will work from home until 2021

Vodafone said that those employees who can work remotely “will continue to do so until the end of 2020” and BP said that the “overwhelming majority” will stay out of the office for the foreseeable future.

British American Tobacco said that workers have “managed the transition to working from home brilliantly and while we would all love a return to normality, until it is absolutely safe to do, we will be encouraging them to continue as they are”.

Rio Tinto has not asked any of its staff to return to its London headquarters, which remain closed, and Royal Bank of

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