The UK government’s COVID-19 guidance attracts criticism

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COVID concern indices have taken a dive as people feel more confident, with personal worries dropping the most – by nearly 11%. Respondents in our weekly survey are encouraged to see the number of infections drop further and some treatments for COVID-19 emerge. The ability to meet people outside is improving the public mood and increasing the feeling of safety – but the UK government’s latest COVID-19 guidance offers little peace of mind. 

Doubts over guidance and motivation for lockdown easing


Over 40% in our research panel are ‘very’ to ‘extremely’ worried about the UK government’s latest COVID-related guidance – suspecting that data is being back-fitted to fit new rules. 

Some respondents are concerned over a lack of evidence-based measures and feel that the government is just focused on getting re-elected. Many say the UK’s path out of lockdown is ‘totally mismanaged’ with lockdown easing having started because the economy needs it, not because it is safe. 


A lack of trust in current measures 


Some weekly survey participants think the rules outlined by the UK government do not follow any clear logic and have been miscommunicated. This adds to long-standing concerns that rules are not being followed. Recent news about the rate of infections rising again in Beijing and some US states, as well as ongoing anti-racism protests do little to appease worries about a second peak – in the UK and internationally. 

Some UK pension professionals are taking precautions because the infection rate is still not low enough in their view – they shop infrequently, avoid travel and continue to work from home. 

While our research panel hopes the COVID-19 outbreak will be contained by October, many believe there is a general lack of awareness of the very real possibility that the virus will continue to impact our personal and professional lives for a long time. Some say that the UK should have maintained the 2m rule as a consequence, others that face masks should be mandatory in all public places, including shops. 

Balancing saving lives and the economy 


While this is a difficult balance to strike, the UK government has not made clear where its priorities lie – with saving lives or rescuing the economy. Our research panel also believes that it will be hard to keep politicians accountable for past and future policy mistakes. 

These concerns have extended the expected minimum duration of the pandemic’s macro effects by a significant 18%. This now takes us well into October 2022 – a reading last seen a month ago. 

A recession will likely affect different sectors in different ways, but the coronavirus may alter the way we live and work long-term – in particular whether and how we travel, take holidays, rent office space, rely on digital tools and live in cities or the countryside. 

The economic impact from the pandemic differs widely from country to country, so it remains to be seen whether protectionist politics and supply chain disruptions will prevail. A major additional unknown for the UK is the risk of a no-deal Brexit, leaving the future of London as a financial hub and the fate of the broader UK economy undecided. 

Where do you stand on the steps being taken to ease lockdown and reopen the economy? Click here to take next week’s survey.


 

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About the COVID Concern Index 

This short weekly survey helps gauge sentiment of our community on the pandemic. The results are distributed each week via the community newsletter. 

The COVID Concern Index values should be used as indication only and do not constitute advice. Their values are bound by the choices available in the survey on which they are based. 

COVID Concern Index:                                 

  • 0 = respondents are not worried at all            
  • 100 = respondents are extremely worried 

Expected minimum duration of outbreak:                                         

  • Lowest possible value = 1 month 
  • Highest possible value = 6 months 

Expected minimum duration of macro effects:

A methodology change took place on 15/04/2020, affecting data from 21/04/2020 onwards. 

Prior to 15/04/2020:      

  • Lowest possible value = 3 months 
  • Highest possible value = 12 months 

Following 15/04/2020:  

  • Lowest possible value = 3 months 
  • Highest possible value = 60 months 

Concerned about the coronavirus outbreak and its macro implications? Click here to take part in the weekly COVID-19 survey.