I am beginning to become profoundly worried by the utter incompetence of the UK government.
No one knows how many people have lost their jobs this month. It may well be millions.
It is highly likely that many, and quite probably most, self-employed people — and there are 5 million of them — have seen their incomes disappear, overnight.
Half the UK corporate sector — of maybe 1.5 million active companies — might be in the same position.
Almost none of those companies can access any government support as yet. When they do, some might get tiny grants which give them no chance of survival. The government backed loan schemes will not be available to almost any of them.
Vast numbers of those who lost their jobs will now be waiting weeks for paltry benefits.
Those who are ‘furloughed’ may well not be paid until end April at the earliest, when the government can reimburse their employers who will not otherwise be able to pay them.
The self-employed still have no idea if they will get any help at all and the indications from the Chancellor today are that this could be months, and not weeks, away.
And all this is despite the fact that it is known that 40% of UK non-pensioner households have too little saved to pay even a month’s worth of household bill. But they’re going to be asked, in many cases, to last for at least two months.
They cannot do that. It is not possible. And if the government does not appreciate that fact then the reality of it will hit home very soon. That is because mothers (in particular) who cannot feed their children first of all steal and then they riot.
Unless the UK government can get cash to people — employed, self-employed and unemployed — very, very soon then social order in this country is going to break down. I give us a fortnight at most, and literally nothing the government is doing right now is even close to preventing this happening.
And if it happens there are no resources to deal with it, including beds for the casualties.
The time for emergency cash injections has arrived. They may not need to be big — but something has to happen, and very, very soon because no one in their right minds should let this breakdown happen, and yet the chance if it occurring is growing by the day.