Relaxing UK foreclosure would require strict rules, says advisor | News from the world


An economist who advised the government on how to facilitate the national foreclosure said pubs, shops and restaurants could reopen as long as there is a mandatory physical distance and fines for those who break the rules.

Speaking to the Guardian, Eyal Winter said the ministers could allow a broader resumption of activity, but only if accompanied by a tighter level of enforcement.

Winter said the Cabinet Office was deeply concerned that some people behaved inappropriately as soon as the foreclosure ended. One fear was that the pubs were very full. “People are starving for pubs. They are an important part of British culture, “he said.

Winter, an economist at Lancaster University, is part of a team of behavioral experts who have been advising the government since April.

His views have been shared with ministers as they explore a range of options on how the UK could emerge from the coronavirus crisis.

Winter has said that he opposes the opening of the British economy sector by sector. He argued that his plan would be more equitable than a gradual relaxation of the restrictions, which could fuel resentment among those who are still unable to work.

He said the government should follow a German-style approach, with clear dates and targets. “One of the most important things is to have a program, to say” in two weeks, we will do this and that “,” he said. “You need to clarify the rules and explain to the public the purpose of each one.”

He was skeptical that official “nudge” warnings would keep people out of bars, putting them at risk of contracting the virus or unknowingly spreading it to others. One solution would be for owners to ration the amount of beer they serve, two or three quarts, he said. Customers would then be politely invited to return home.

Store owners and owners should be responsible for enforcing the new rules and monitoring the number of customers, he said.

He predicted that theaters and cinemas would also reopen, but would sell half as many tickets as before, with gaps in the seats. Prices could be increased to cover revenue shortfalls.

A similar empty “headquarters” policy should be introduced on planes, he said. The journey would begin again with a “low version of social estrangement”. Winter was dismissive of Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary, who said last week that he would not bother to fly his planes in this “silly” scenario. Winter highlighted the recent collapse in the world price of oil. The restrictions “would not be forever,” he said.

Some changes, such as the use of Zoom and other working at home technologies, were good, he said. Overall, Winter said he was confident that the world would eventually return to its state before the virus. It would probably take two years, assuming the planet avoids future pandemics.

“Some people have an apocalyptic view of this. I am old enough to remember September 11. Then we had exactly the same impression. We thought, “It’s over. We will lock ourselves in shelters. We will stop flying. “It never happened,” he said. He added: “It will take a long time to return in January 2020. But we will get there. “

Winter – who is also a professor at the Center for the Study of Rationality at the Hebrew University – spoke of his home between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. He also advised the Israeli government, where the death toll from coronavirus was significantly lower than that of the United Kingdom. He is scheduled to hold further discussions on Tuesday with the Behavioral Sciences group in the Cabinet Office. The group transmits political ideas to the government. Not all are accepted, said Winter.

Another prominent Cabinet Office adviser is Daniel Kahneman, the Israeli-American economist and Nobel Prize winner, famous for his work on the psychology of judgment and decision-making. Kahneman declined to comment.

Winter said the group had discussed the grueling psychological toll the lockdown had on individuals. Some “took more risks”. Others experienced high levels of anxiety, which left them open to scam or irrational spending sprees.

He predicted that crime and violence would likely increase after the foreclosure was completed. It also provided for a period of social division, with grievances among those who felt they had suffered more than others. Marking some workers as essential and others redundant was unwise. This could leave citizens feeling they have been treated unfairly, he said.

The Cabinet Office confirmed that their team had spoken to Winter about the exit lock strategy. He said the government had sought advice from a wide range of experts, including academics, health professionals and business leaders.

Boris Johnson was hesitant to explain his thinking about ending the lockdown. This is causing frustration among some Conservative MPs, as well as the millions of workers who have seen their incomes evaporate. The position of the United Kingdom is increasingly abnormal: other European countries have announced timetables for the reopening of schools and non-essential businesses.


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