Schools lead the way
AFTER a fractious and exasperating summer of exam chaos, humiliating U-turns, Covid shroud-waving and union sabre- rattling, finally something to celebrate on the education front.
The start of the great return to school yesterday was the single most important step towards getting Britain back to some semblance of normality.
Even just weeks ago, there was significant doubt over whether it would be achieved on time. But in an uplifting show of collaboration ministers, head teachers and parents have made it happen.
True, there will be troubles ahead. There are still issues over distancing, testing and face masks, and there are bound to be some spikes in infection, which will require immediate and concerted local action.
But the process has begun on time. Thankfully all parties agree that the deterioration in the mental health and educational prospects of our nation’s children simply couldn’t go on.
Their return to school is a massive boost. Now it’s up to white-collar Britain to follow the example and get back to the office.
Recent figures suggest that for all the traumas of the past six months, the economy may yet bounce back more quickly than was anticipated.
Manufacturing activity is up for the third month in a row, the housing market (helped by the stamp duty holiday) and car sales are experiencing a mini-boom and the Bank of England expects GDP to rise by a record 20 per cent in the second half of this year.
But this recovery is merely embryonic – and extremely weak. If it’s to continue, Britain simply must go back to work.
Only a mass return to towns and cities will revive the myriad urban businesses that rely on footfall.
And it’s the only way to bring about the increase in productivity needed to get Britain back on the road to prosperity.