Daily Express

No ifs or buts, we really are all in this together


OUR revelation­s today about the lost tax revenue to the Treasury of £130billion is yet another part of the economic catastroph­e being faced by this country and the global community. While the cost of the bailout will be as much as £300billion, we know that there are more things that will add to the coronaviru­s bill.

Not least is the threat of three million unemployed, not seen since Margaret Thatcher had to rebuild the country after Labour’s atrocious legacy from the 1970s.

But we also have to recognise that Britain will be caught up in a global recession that may even turn into a new great depression.

This is a gloomy outlook but we need to be realistic as a country even though we should not underestim­ate our ability to rebuild again.

In the end poverty will kill more people than coronaviru­s and we cannot have excellent public services and an NHS without the economic growth to pay for them. The trade unions should probably take note.

But the impact on the economy does mean that tough decisions will have to be made. On one side tax evasion and avoidance should be squeezed and prevented at all costs. People who practise it should be seen as social pariahs.

But on the other hand we will have to see public spending tightened and we all may need to pay a bit more tax.

Certainly, there needs to be fewer public sector employees on six-figure salaries for which Whitehall, councils, quangos and, yes, the BBC better take note. Perhaps MPs can lead by example with a pay freeze.

The Government will need to continue to invest but maybe we will have to decide whether new realities now mean high-speed broadband is more important than high-speed rail.

In the end everyone will have to do their bit to get us out of this mess. In a phrase which the former prime minister David Cameron used a lot after the banking crash in 2008, we are all in this together. That means we stand and fall by the effort we make collective­ly.

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