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The view from the Chair

Aloysia Daros reflects on the effect of a global pandemic that has upended expectations for the beginning of 2020.

When I wrote the 'state of the nation' article in December, I could see the industry and our profession looking forward to a degree of normality after a fairly fraught year in 2019. I used phrases like: “A stable basis for forward plans”, “Brexit boost” and “known risks” and, if asked, I would have expected this newsletter to be commenting on Sajid Javid’s first budget together with the progress of the Brexit negotiations and the Agriculture Bill.

As usual, I could not have been more wrong. We saw a change of Chancellor shortly before the Budget, a Budget which was virtually devoid of fiscal changes – so much so that one wondered if a couple of pages had fallen out of the speech on the way to the House of Commons, and a pandemic which hit the world like a bolt from the blue and which has triggered a wave of public expenditure from a Conservative government almost beyond imagination. We have seen perhaps the deepest and sharpest recession since the 1930s, 30% wiped off world stock markets and a reduction in personal liberties which in many respects goes beyond those seen during wartime.