A poll found that the majority of Britons want government to prioritize quality of life over economic growth throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
GDP figures from January to the end of March, which are due to be released this week, are expected to drop significantly following warnings from the Bank of England that they could collapse by almost 30% this year, causing the worst recession in three centuries.
Millions of people in the UK face financial worries during the pandemic, many being placed on government leave as businesses continue to struggle throughout the epidemic.
But despite fear of the economy, eight in ten want ministers to focus on the nation’s health in the financial sector during and after the crisis, according to YouGov’s survey.
A majority of people in the UK want government to prioritize the health and well-being of the nation over economic growth during the coronavirus crisis
And six in ten Britons say health and well-being should always be a priority.
Fran Boait, executive director of Positive Money, who commissioned the research, said, “It is clear that the vast majority of the public think that we should be more concerned with people’s health and well-being than economic growth. .
“The government should not be tempted to pursue policies that stimulate GDP at the expense of life, well-being and the environment.”
In a grim assessment last week, the Bank of England warned that GDP could drop 14% this year, in what would be the biggest recession in 300 years, since the great freeze in 1709 – when temperatures plunged in Europe for months.
Estimated 14% drop for 2020 would be the biggest recession in 300 years
“The spread of Covid-19 and the measures to contain it have a significant impact on the United Kingdom and many countries around the world,” he said in a statement.
“Activity has fallen sharply since the start of the year and unemployment has risen sharply. “
In a statement, the Bank of England added: “British households have entered this period of economic turmoil in a more solid position than they were before the 2008 financial crisis.
“While the political response will provide substantial support to households, the sharp decline in economic activity will put pressure on the finances of some households.
Governor Andrew Bailey released gloomy Bank of England forecasts last week
“We are alert to the risks that could emerge once the suspension of payments measures are completed, including borrowers seeking to refinance themselves in the coming months. “
Governor Andrew Bailey added: “The three political committees of the Bank have taken additional steps to reduce the cost of borrowing, put the banking system in a position to lend and support the functioning of financial markets.
“However, the magnitude of the shock and the measures necessary to protect public health mean that a significant loss of economic output is inevitable in the short term despite this very important political support. “
“As our scenario suggests, we expect the economy to recover over time, albeit much faster than the recovery from the global financial crisis.
“Nonetheless, we expect demand effects in the economy to continue for about a year after the closure begins.
“We expect there to be longer-term damage to the capacity of the economy, but in the scenario, we believe these effects are relatively small. “
Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled the government’s roadmap to unlock the economy in the next three months on Sunday, encouraging those who cannot work from home to return to work.
The “exit strategy” also hinted at the possibility of reopening some stores in June and aimed to restore the hotel industry, including bars and restaurants, in July.