For the sake of the young, this lockdown must end sooner rather than later

Linda J. Dodson

The burden of ‘righting the ship’ will be shouldered by the younger part of society

How will the UK’s response to coronavirus affect people of different generations? Last year I sat on a House of Lords Committee considering ‘Intergenerational Fairness’ following government interventions after the 2008 financial crisis. While this may seem like a strange tangent, there are crucial lessons to consider for the current Covid-19 crisis.

The Committee’s report concluded that the economic measures taken by the government to support the banks and pour money into the economy through quantitative easing had favoured home owners, stock holders and pensioners.

In short, older people did better than the young who were caught by the immediate impact of the crisis and then the cold wind of austerity. Businesses and jobs were lost, homes repossessed, health issues increased, and career progression and wage growth slowed.

Our national debt increased from around £500m in 2017 to more than £1.8 trillion at the end of the last decade. In spite of government efforts to “mend the roof”, interest repayments are now the government’s fourth highest area of spending.

It strikes me that the current government has a similar moral dilemma concerning the fairness shown to different generations in pursuing its Corona pandemic policy, but on a much much greater scale.

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