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What does the future economic landscape look like?

As we enter a second month of lockdown, attention is now turning to what the future economic landscape will look like. To discuss this and more, Professor Trevor Williams will join ICAEW for a one-off webinar. Rachel Underhill, Senior Business Strategy Manager at ICAEW reports.

May 2020

While people and organisations are still contending with the immediate and urgent concerns of COVID-19, some are also contemplating what the post-virus business landscape will look like. Questions around how London will phase out of lockdown are being debated heavily by policy makers; practical steps on use of the tube, air conditioning and use of lifts whilst seemingly operational will be key to economic recovery as it enables workers to return as safely as possible. With workers returning to businesses in at least some capacity will then help the linked industries - but will London ever be the same again?

Joining ICAEW for a special one-off webinar to outline his thoughts on the UK’s future economic outlook is Professor Trevor Williams, a former Chief Economist for Lloyds Bank.

This webinar will be taking place on 12 March and you can book your place here.

During the webinar, Professor Williams will examine some of the key themes emerging, what will happen to national and global GDP, what the long-term effects will be on demand and productivity, and how will the tax burden change.

“There will be economic damage, but people are learning how to cope and businesses are adjusting,” says Williams. “When the lock-down starts to end – as it surely will gradually in the next few weeks and months, many lessons will have been learnt and firms that survive will be more resilient and productive.”

He is clear that this pandemic cannot be directly compared to previous economic events. It has not been caused by bubbles or “inappropriate economic policies”. As such, we cannot directly compare the recovery with the recovery after events such as the 2008 financial crisis. Similarly, it is wrong to think of policy choices as a direct trade-off between addressing the health crisis and safeguarding the economy.

The societal impacts of the pandemic should also be viewed with the same level of importance as the economic impacts: the significant outlay of public finances to support the economy comes alongside the recognition and celebration across the country of key workers. Will such changes have long-lasting impacts on public services, particularly the NHS and social care, and tax needed to fund such services?

In his latest blog, Williams states that “tough decisions” will have to be made about prioritising what the most critical aspects of public expenditure are.

It is a worrying time for many individuals and businesses on both a health and economic footing. But what coronavirus has shown is that people and organisations can be innovative, adaptable and resilient. An understanding of the broader economic outlook which such attributes will both shape and respond to will be crucial for the future.

You can book your place to attend the webinar on 12 March here. 

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