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13 May 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

Lunchtime summary: The cost of recession

By Samuel Horti

The UK economy shrunk by 2 per cent in the first three months of the year and officials estimate the cost of the pandemic to the Treasury at nearly £300bn, according to reports. But the UK’s chief statistician has reminded us that a recession isn’t just about finance: an extended downturn and slow recovery could cause a “significant number of deaths”, Professor Ian Diamond told MPs.

An “L-shaped” recession, as opposed to a “V-shaped” recession where the economy quickly bounces back, would push people into poverty and long-term unemployment, he said. “We know that people in the lowest deciles of income have higher mortality rates, and if you increase that, you are likely to see an increase in deaths,” he said. His comments came after Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the UK faces a “significant recession“.

In other news this morning, police in England have been told they cannot enforce two-metre social distancing rules, but police in Wales can.

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