Two years since lockdown – Why I will spend this week mourning the financial ruin of a generation
In this guest article, serial entrepreneur Simon Dolan, who took the government to court multiple times over the legality of lockdown and covid rules, looks back on the events of the last two years.
I knew it was coming. The torrent of media coverage looking back on two years since the announcement of lockdown like a grossly nostalgic showreel. Carefully crafted articles painting a picture of British resilience and celebrations on the end of coronavirus restrictions.
I regret to inform you that I will not be spending my week reminiscing about the NHS clapping or Captain Tom – I will be spending it in mourning. For not only does this week mark two years since our liberties were stolen, it marks two years since the financial ruin of a generation.
In that time, we’ve seen our free, prosperous, and vibrant country plunged into the deepest recession for 300 years. We’ve seen the lives of the public dictated by draconian Government rules that have threatened the fundamentals of freedom of choice in this country.
And though we may temporarily be enjoying an easing of coronavirus restrictions, the past two years have taught us that the UK Government is far too quick to reimpose fierce restrictions that are not only detrimental to the health and wellbeing of the nation but to supply chains and businesses that are already struggling to get back on their feet.
The country is currently facing a degree of economic damage genuinely comparable with the costs of a major war, and the impact of the government’s unnecessary and illogical lockdowns will be felt for decades to come.
Now, with Russia’s war in Ukraine causing further market disruption, pandemic hit businesses are being pushed to the point of no return. Firms are grappling with inflationary pressure at levels not seen in twenty years, as well as higher interest payments, soaring fuel and energy costs.
The government’s failure to advocate for, and facilitate, SMEs, will only exacerbate this problem. The number of SMEs going bust in England and Wales has jumped to the highest level since the start of the pandemic, and many firms are already struggling following the end of governmental support. Uncertainty is rife on both macro and micro levels, and disruption to key markets is testing many companies’ resilience.
Lower business rates, grants, or safety net support is critically necessary, and we must act quickly to protect any part of the UK’s precious entrepreneurial spirit. Sadly, this week’s spring statement was, as expected, another woefully disappointing performance from the government.
That is why I have continued to speak out for business owners that are feeling the pressure now more than ever.
I have long argued that the restrictive measures imposed during the pandemic have been a disproportionate risk to the public, in comparison to a butchered economy. Last year, I engaged in a fraught legal battle with the Government, only to be told that Ministers, who acted without prior approval in parliament, were legally justified. Once seen as an outsider, my legal team and I have watched the tide of public opinion turn in our favour.
We all know the toll lockdown has taken not just on the economy and our professional livelihoods, but our mental and physical health. Workers and employers of all ages were hit by these dreadful measures. Young people were stuck indoors and allowed to stare at screens for hours on end…and what was it all for? Since the UK first entered lockdown in March 2020, little has attracted so much attention and controversy. The decision brought social and economic life to a total halt, and the doomsday scientific models used by the government to justify their illogical lockdowns have since been entirely contradicted.
Yet as things stand, I fear we are going to be trapped in a vicious cycle of restrictions being slightly scaled-down only for these to be ramped back up and allowed to decimate businesses once again. With the war on Ukraine adding even greater economic pressure, now is the point of no return for many companies, who will not be able to survive unless we permanently restore the fundamental pillars on which the UK is based – freedom of choice and movement.