Meg Lee Chin

Rishi Sunak's idea to prop up the business and property sector is a big mistake. He thinks businesses will go into hibernation and then miraculously "bounce back" after coronavirus.

But this would waste vital energy and resources when they are most needed. Further, this pent up energy could become a recipe for social unrest.

Instead, entrepreneurs should adapt their businesses toward the provision of much-needed goods and services. Boris had the right idea to encourage car manufacturers to build ventilators. He can (and should) go a lot further.

Clothing manufacturers & retailers could make masks, goggles, face shields, surgical clothing & gloves.
Restaurant workers, baristas, bus and cab drivers could provide local delivery services.

Media people could work with teachers to provide online educational material.

With everyone shut away, there isn't much work to do. Therefore the workweek could be reduced to 20 hours and instantly double the number of jobs. The government could provide a £1,000 a month Universal Basic Income to prevent rioting and keep money flowing in the economy. The housing bubble could be allowed to deflate. This would ease the burden on workers (who mostly rent).

The goal should not be to "bounce back" to the unequal society with exorbitant rent, property prices and wasteful material indulgences which we have now. Instead, we could turn a disaster into an opportunity for a better and more equal society.

Let's not make the same mistake as in 2008 when we bailed out the banks.

Maybe then after coronavirus has subsided, we can re-examine our lives and see if hanging out in cafes, drinking coffee, driving fast cars, and showing off our wealth was so important after all...

#universalbasicincome #coronavirus #covid19 #ubi