It cannot all come from Government, why we all have a role to play in restarting the economy - Mark Casci

We will probably never be able to say definitively that the unprecedented restrictions placed on our freedoms and liberties were a necessary evil or not.

There will be report after report in the years ahead on the subject and it will be the source of political argument for longer. What is certain, however, is that shutting down vast swathes of our society and economy will be catastrophic to everyone, particularly young people.

The lockdown was brought in following the now infamous report from Imperial College warning of tens of thousands of fatalities and an overwhelmed National Health Service.

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In the respect of the latter, the lockdown was a success. The death toll has been horrendous but the uplift in available critical care provision, as shown with the Nightingale hospitals, was an impressive piece of work.

Temperature checks outside stores

That many of them have lain empty during the crisis is immaterial. They are there and available.

Now that the risk of an over-run NHS has been averted the focus is now on reactivating life as we knew it pre-Covid. It is here that the Government has been poor, having issued confusing guidance to the public and business as to what is safe.

A case in point lies in education which, in my opinion, has been by far the biggest loser in this crisis. One of the biggest misconceptions during recent times is that schools have been shut.

They have not. They have been open to children of key workers throughout the crisis with little if any reports of either pupils or teachers having become ill.

Lockdown is slowly ending

Some schools have returned to providing lessons for some children but millions of pupils will not receive any formal education until September at the earliest, adding up to nearly six months of their education being lost.

There has been a failure to provide assurances to parents and teachers that fully reopening is safe, despite the masses of proven science that clearly demonstrate the risk of infection to be extraordinarily low.

The other area that Government advice has been extremely weak upon concerns social distancing.

The two-metre rule is almost certain to have been scrapped by the time this article reaches you in its printed form and replaced with a distance half its length.

This will be welcome news for massive parts of our hospitality sector but frustrating for swathes of our retail industry which will have collectively spent millions of pounds of signage and logistical restrictions which have only lasted a couple of weeks.

The scale of the challenge facing our Government, and those around the world, should never be underestimated – with the problems it is being required to solve in some cases dwarfing even those faced during wartime.

Ministers are correct to begin reopening the economy. The data published this week from KPMG is warning of a contraction in Yorkshire’s economy of 7.1 per cent this year and unemployment rising to 11 per cent during 2021.

The impact this will have should not be underestimated. The far-left view that a decline in GDP should not mean a reduction of the quality of public services and life chances is economic thinking that should be confined to fantasy novels.

Reduced income for business means less need for employment, meaning redundancies and an increased burden on the state to support them. For those who do lose their jobs it means untold damage to their physical and mental wellbeing, along with the ability to provide for their children.

It means less tax revenue for local and national government to invest in hiring doctors and nurses. The time has come, therefore, for us to return to our senses and start living again.

More than four years of a far left Labour Party has sadly given thousands of people the notion that having to work for a living is some kind of fascism.

This retrograde thinking needs eradicating urgently or the lockdown measures will have been a complete waste, with the very thing it was designed to save having been damaged beyond repair.

So, wash your hands, keep your distance if you can, be sensible and – most importantly – get back to it.