Sir Patrick Vallance wants a special pandemic advisory group set up in the wake of the pandemic.
Addressing the Covid Inquiry today, the Government’s ex-chief scientific adviser said the proposed pandemic preparedness centre should include economists.
His suggestion follows criticism that advice offered to No10 on the pandemic failed to assess the financial costs of lockdown.
Sir Patrick said the inclusion of economists would help assess the ‘difficult trade-offs that occur’ during a pandemic emergency.
He said many different models are being looked at, but he favours a ‘hub and spoke’ model.
This would, theoretically, see a single physical base for research that would extend to involve many universities that integrate different disciplines.
He added that individual academics would not spend all of their time working on pandemics, but a range of specialists could give 10 per cent to create an overall ‘critical mass’.
He called the proposed idea ‘advantageous’ for the UK, and said it would be an important part of integrating new challenges.
His comments followed those of Sir Chris Whitty, the Government’s chief medical advisor who also gave evidence at the inquiry today.
Sir Chris was also questioned about how economic advice could be better incorporated into the evidence offered to Government during pandemics.