Perhaps one reason the government has been so slow in developing a decisive economic programme to mitigate the fallout from the Covid-19 crisis is that we don’t have the data. And without the data, it is easier not to panic.

But let’s try to think through the numbers, starting with what we can learn from the rest of the world. The US knows that 22-million people ( are now out of work, taking its unemployment rate to 17% from next to nothing. It is easier to let go of employees in the US than here, but even in the UK, where companies can get 80% of their salary bills paid by the government, they are expecting the unemployment rate will double to 10%...

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