Kate Andrews has done a great job in the Telegraph reminding readers that a major source of our current economic malaise – now approaching the highest tax burden since records began 75 years ago – is the cost and impact of the Covid lockdowns, a price which must never be forgotten. Here’s how she begins.
Ideally we’d never talk about lockdown again. We’d consign those draconian years to the history books and get on with normal life.
Unfortunately, there remains far too big a mess to clean up to bury those memories completely. The thousands of children who never returned to school, the millions of people on NHS waiting lists – these are people we must not forget.
But some lockdown legacies are discussed more widely than others. Those waiting lists are a big part of the public debate, rising to 7.6m (and counting) in England.
Lost learning also remains pertinent, as other impediments to schooling this year kept it in the news. Teacher strikes and crumbling school buildings provided cumulative reminders that, between March 2020 and April 2021, pupils were estimated to have had their learning hours reduced by a third.
What we don’t talk about as much are the long-term spending ramifications of the pandemic. …
[It] suits every political party not to talk about the longer-term spending trajectory Covid has set us on. If you dare look at where we’re headed, it becomes impossible to keep up the pretence that the sums of money we’re spending, or the promises we continue to make, are in any way sustainable.