And now for a break to… watch a sea slug and its decapitated head:
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The prospects for a consumer spending boom after lockdown have been downplayed by a senior Treasury official, amid warnings that wealthier families have saved more than low-paid workers during the pandemic.
Charlie Bean, a former Bank of England deputy governor who sits on the government’s budget responsibility committee, said it would take several years for households to spend £180bn in extra savings accumulated mainly by retirees and higher-paid workers during the crisis.
Casting doubt over forecasts for rapid growth in spending once Covid rules have been relaxed, he told MPs on the Commons Treasury committee: “The idea that people will make up for lost consumption by spending it all over the next few quarters once the economy has reopened, I find implausible. It is much more likely it’ll be spread out over several years.”
Ministers are hoping such a surge could kickstart Britain’s economic recovery once lockdown restrictions have been removed this summer. Andy Haldane, the Bank’s chief economist, argued in a Daily Mail article last month that the economy could benefit from “enormous amounts of pent-up financial energy waiting to be released, like a coiled spring” as shop, pubs and restaurants reopen.
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