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Shropshire Star comment: Businesses facing the real prospect of going under for good

By Star Comment | Opinions | Published:

You can survive submerged for a while by holding your breath. But only for a while.

Boris Johnson has warned us all that the current crisis will get worse before it gets better

It’s like that for businesses at the moment. Some face the real prospect of going under for good. It is not air that firms big and small are running out of, but cash. They have been hit by a perfect storm and for some it is a battle for survival. Manufacturing output in March crashed, and employment in the sector has nosedived.

Boris Johnson has warned us all that the current crisis will get worse before it gets better and as April gets under way with a full month of lockdown and disruption in prospect, the business outlook is looking yet more dire. Tackling the health impact of the virus is clearly the priority. However, the impact on the economy is going to be enormous. The government has taken measures that a few months ago would have been unthinkable. The United Kingdom is on a war footing and the State has taken control, promising to “do whatever it takes.”

Whether the measures already taken go far enough remains to be seen, but it looks likely that more will need to be done. There will be many businesses and workers struggling with the worry over their health – and their future employment.

As Britain grapples with the immediate crisis, the big question for the economy is what will be left when it is all over. If countless businesses have gone to the wall, and with them hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of jobs, the impact on the economy will last a generation.

We shall be left with an economic wasteland, with many business casualties and some severely damaged survivors. Recovery? There will be not much left economically alive to recover. Saving lives is paramount. Helping businesses come through is a long term investment which will save our future. And don’t think that that is something just for the government to sort out. The critical factor is how long the lockdown lasts.

To save lives and to save livelihoods, every one of us has an individual responsibility to do our bit to ensure we come through this as soon as we safely can.

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