Dealing with the Covid pandemic has required greatly increased public spending on PPE, testing, intensive care facilities and vaccine development and delivery. Further major expenditures are being incurred in mitigating the impact of Covid lock downs and restrictions through income support, furloughing workers and maintaining an enterprise base for future economic recovery. This current expenditure, coupled with losses of productive capacity has diminished our national wealth and placed a lien on our future that will need to be paid down. While some bounce back of economic activity is expected once Covid restrictions can be eased, further Government financial support and direction will be needed to strengthen the recovery, help generate new productive employment and reorient economic activity in line with pressing environmental goals and new Post-Brexit trading relationships. Living with the pandemic has also highlighted regional and ethnic disparities and health and food security issues that will need to be addressed. The Government’s Post-Covid support will need to be highly selective in view of the prevailing constraints on public finances. Setting the strategic thrust and and sectoral priorities for the Government’s recovery programme is therefore a key challenge.
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