Delay to Freedom Day to wipe billions off economy


The economy will suffer a hit of £55m a day if Boris Johnson confirms plans for a four-week delay to the final stage of the Covid-19 reopening roadmap, a leading forecaster has warned.

Analysts at the Centre for Economics and Business Research released the figures as the Prime Minister prepares to push back the lifting of all remaining restrictions until July.

The beleaguered hospitality industry will suffer the lion’s share of the £1.6bn hit – equal to around 1pc of overall monthly growth – if capacity limits on pubs, restaurants, theatres and cinemas remain in place. Nightclubs have been shut since the pandemic began.

Kay Neufield, head of forecasting at the CEBR, said: “The Government needs to acknowledge that most of the economic pain will once again be borne by those businesses that have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic so far – pubs, restaurants, nightclubs and many other businesses in the hospitality and cultural sectors are desperate to reopen,” adding: “The longer restrictions are required, the higher the risk of an insolvency wave later in the year.”

The pub trade is hoping for a lift from the delayed Euro 2020 tournament, but could lose as much as a quarter of its estimated £104m takings if the “rule of six” remains for indoor gatherings.


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