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Royal College of Nursing Chief Executive Donna Kinnair hopes the pandemic will show politicians they can no longer run health services on a shoestring and Professor of Economics David Blanchflower fears we could see unemployment rates of up to 20%
The current lockdown looks set to continue for weeks if not months.
But already people are beginning to think about what the world might look like once the crisis has passed.
The Mirror spoke with experts on what they think the future will look look like once the lockdown has lifted.
Retail Champion Clare Bailey
Smaller businesses in our high streets have been required to close for the immediate future.
It is a worrying time for business owners but government support should help.
People are already planning for recovery, and a post-crisis surge, when people flood back to pubs, restaurants and shops.
Businesses need to start maximising the opportunity to turn footfall into sales.
The enforced digital transformation will help smaller businesses in the longer term.
Perhaps a positive outcome will be people falling back in love with their high street – hopefully leading to a greater sense of community and a focus on shopping locally.
Our shopping habits will likely have changed fundamentally.
We will still enjoy the social element of visiting shops but people will feel more comfortable shopping online, so retailers will almost be forced to offer a seamless online-physical experience.
The proportion of sales transacted online is predicted to grow as a result of Covid-19.
Professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London Tim Bale
The Tories are currently riding high in the polls – but it’s more a reflection of our desire to pull together as a nation than anything else.
Once new Labour leader Keir Starmer is in place and we eventually begin to wonder whether the Government might have handled the coronavirus crisis better than it did, then things could change surprisingly rapidly – especially if it turns out that
a decade of unnecessary and counter- productive austerity made us more vulnerable to Covid-19 than other countries.
It’s also going to be trickier than many Tories imagine to roll back the more supportive and higher spending state they have suddenly created.
Indeed, trying too hard to do that could well cost them the next general election.
GMB Union National Secretary Rehana Azam
The people who have stepped up to keep us safe, fed and watered have been our nation’s unsung heroes.
I don’t think any of us will look at supermarket workers and couriers the same way again.
We won’t take for granted how food gets to our shelves. And I can’t fathom a world where we’d return to treating care workers as unskilled, minimum wage labour.
Our carers are looking after the most vulnerable and putting themselves and their families at risk for less than a tenner an hour and £94 a week if they get sick.
The flaws in our welfare system and in the lack of money in our public services have been laid bare.
You can’t put that genie back in the bottle.
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Royal College of Nursing Chief Executive Donna Kinnair
People who give their working lives to the health of others are often shown great appreciation but the public support in recent weeks has been something else.
Politicians and decision-makers have been fulsome with their praise for nurses too and it’s my job to hold them to it for years to come.
England’s NHS had 100,000 unfilled jobs and beds being cut before this pandemic began.
The staff who keep the lights on deserve a better deal on the other side of this.
That goes for their pay, education and training and the tools to do the job.
One part of this pandemic’s legacy must be for politicians never again to run services on a shoestring.
Director of the British Foreign Policy Group Sophia Gaston
Since the EU Referendum, Britain has been struggling to define its role in an increasingly volatile world – with a rising China and the Western alliance under strain, Covid-19 has only deepened these challenges.
China’s mishandling of the early stages of the pandemic has seen its relations with the United States fall to a new low.
The European Union also failed to encourage its member states to work together, hoarding its own supplies as Italy fell into crisis.
Across the West, nations have turned inwards rather than looking for ways to cooperate.
The big challenge will be to once again make the case for openness and connectivity.
If the UK is to achieve its vision for “a truly Global Britain”, we will need to lead from the front.
Education expert Dr Stephen Curran
I don’t think things will be the same ever again in education.
On one hand, parents will have learnt how difficult teaching really is and appreciate the role of the teacher, who acts “in loco parentis”, and how teachers make a huge contribution to a child’s development.
But because they have home-schooled their own children for a whole term, from now on parents will also scrutinise what teachers are doing more than ever.
They won’t just accept that the teacher knows best. They will have understood what works and what doesn’t work as a learning objective.
None of this is a bad thing, as it will make the educational system in the UK more accountable and parents will also value it more.
TheTravelMagazine.net’s Sharron Livingston
As soon as the veil of danger draped over us by Covid-19 begins to lift, so will our intrepid spirit.
Travel companies will entice with dreamy pictures and bargain prices and assurances of hygiene, sustainability and eco-credentials.
The thuggery of unkempt tourism will be a thing of the past as we look to preserve our environment.
Cruise companies will find ways to entice us back with assurances of safety, luxury and rock-bottom prices. So will hotels.
The likelihood is that airlines will offer less choice in the short term. Prices will be low and they will reduce their carbon footprint.
Professor of Economics David Blanchflower
For economy watchers like me it is hard to understand what is really going on as everything is so fast moving.
It is a struggle to work out how high the unemployment rate, for example, will go. The best guess we have now, based on half a million signing on for Universal Credit in nine days, is well over 10% and maybe even go over 20.
The Government has put lots of measures in place to help but they likely won’t be enough.
Shops, gyms, golf courses and sports have closed down and it is unclear how many will reopen.
Many more people are going to work from home and commute less and maybe this is the end of the mall and big high street store with many of us switching to online shopping.
Many of the changes will be permanent.
Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain Harun Khan
Already most of us are learning to give up our usual activities for the greater good.
We see the sacrifices made by others, many of whom will have paid the ultimate price with their lives.
There are individuals from all walks of life – young and old, immigrant and non-immigrant, Leaver and Remainer – pitching in for the same purpose: to help those in need.
Post-Covid Britain will look past the things that previously divided us. Instead, we will recognise and appreciate our collective sacrifice, unite in this shared experience, and treasure belonging to a society which gives so much for the sake of others.
Environmental Scientist Angela Terry
People will understand the importance of supporting their local farmers and suppliers.
We are learning that when you rely too much on imported food it is harder to stock up when supply lines are compromised. By supporting local farmers and getting milk delivered, we help protect our countryside.
We are learning that many of us can work from home – we don’t need to constantly drive or fly and can be just as effective through video conferencing and co-working platforms.This saves money and pollutes less.
As life slows, we are learning to reconnect with nature, and appreciate how crucial climate action is.
Animals are becoming more bold as humans stay indoors. More moles, stoats and weasels have been spotted. We must remember how beautiful our environment is when we aren’t trampling all over it.
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