Questions and answers about coronavirus and the UK economy

How is the coronavirus crisis shaping self-employment?

The self-employed have been hit particularly hard by the recession. Government support has been generous for many, but others have fallen through the cracks. Looking ahead, there are signs that self-employment is starting to undergo significant changes.

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Covid-19: Economics meets epidemiology

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How is coronavirus affecting the UK’s retail sector?

UK retailing has been deeply affected by Covid-19 – but the effects are far from uniform and, to an extent, they are accelerating structural changes already happening. Re-opening has seen some reversal of the damage from lockdown, but the long-term direction of the sector remains unclear.

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Data: Tiers, jobs and infection rates

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How feasible is working from home in developing countries?

People’s economic experience of Covid-19 depends partly on whether it is possible for them to work from home. Fewer jobs can be done at home in poorer countries, which means that workers are at risk of either losing their jobs or becoming exposed to the virus while at work.

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How can competition authorities tackle price rises in a crisis?

From the outset of the pandemic, there were reports of retailers charging exceptionally high prices for certain products, notably hand sanitiser. Investigations by the Competition and Markets Authority have played an important role in quelling the practice.

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Who has financed higher government spending during the pandemic?

Borrowing by the UK government has hit peacetime highs this year. Often such increases in public debt rest on borrowing from abroad – but in this crisis, a sharp rise in domestic saving by households has offset public spending. In effect, the government has borrowed from taxpayers.

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How is professional football coping with coronavirus?

Playing without spectators prevents football matches from becoming Covid-19 super-spreaders, but it has potentially devastating financial consequences for lower tier clubs. The empty stadiums are also revealing the influence of crowds on refereeing decisions.

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Should the government be planning tax rises and public spending cuts?

A big rise in government borrowing has been an essential policy response to the health and economic effects of Covid-19. History indicates the importance of supporting the economic recovery rather than worrying about what is a temporary shock to the public finances.

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