ICAEW.com works better with JavaScript enabled.

Post-COVID-19 economics: what will be the new normal?

29 April 2020: 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.

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. Is a rapid economic recovery likely? Will the business and economic repercussions be with us for years to come? What will be the new normal? 

Williams, a former chief economist for Lloyds Bank, is joining ICAEW for a special one-off webinar to outline his thoughts on the UK’s future economic outlook. Register here to watch the full webinar.

During the webinar, 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,” he says. “When the lockdown 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.”

Williams 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.

Register here to watch the full webinar.