Next stage of inquiry into economic impact of coronavirus (Covid-19) launched
24 April 2020
The Treasury Committee launched the first stage on 18 March when it issued a call for evidence on the speed, effectiveness and reach of the Government's and Bank of England's immediate financial responses to coronavirus. The Committee will continue to highlight gaps in support to the Treasury.
The terms of reference for the next stage have been published today. In this stage, the Committee will examine the operational effectiveness, cost and sustainability of the Government's and Bank of England's support packages.
The Committee will also examine the impact on the economy and different sectors, the implications for public finances, and how the Government can work towards a sustained recovery.
Commenting on the launch of the inquiry, Rt Hon. Mel Stride MP, Chair of the Treasury Committee, said:
“The Treasury Committee hit the ground running with its scrutiny of the economic impact of coronavirus. Through virtual evidence sessions, calls for evidence and correspondence, we've shone a light on the hard edges and delivery challenges of the Government's and Bank of England's schemes.
“As well as continuing to do this, we'll begin to examine the effectiveness, cost and sustainability of support measures as they are beginning to go live.
“The Committee will continue to work constructively with, and hold to account, the Government and financial services sector to ensure as swift an economic bounce back as possible.”
Commenting on the launch of the inquiry, Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, said:
“The initial Government response to economic cataclysm caused by coronavirus was well judged. It rewrote decades worth of policies in days, to set up mammoth support mechanisms that underwrite huge sections of society.
“Yet understandably with such a rush job, many people have fallen through the cracks, arguably many more than was first anticipated. Some cracks, like those for limited company directors, were deliberately created. Others, like recent job switchers and the newly self-employed, were likely simply unforeseen by-products of trying to create a robust system.
“What matters now is how the state reacts to help those who through no fault of their own have no support. We cannot allow there to be an attitude that everything is done and dusted. The principle needs to be overtaken by the practical. That's where this Treasury Committee inquiry can play a crucial role. It needs to, and I hope will, expose the flaws where they are flaws and help recommend solutions that work for the individual and the taxpayer.”
Torsten Bell, Chief Executive of the Resolution Foundation, said:
“The UK is experiencing an unprecedented economic crisis, which has required an unprecedented policy response from economic policy makers in the Treasury and Bank of England.
“With the scale and duration of the crisis still highly uncertain – and its legacy even more so – this major inquiry offers a vital opportunity to both assess the policies announced and crucially the delivery of those policies.”
Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Business, said:
“The Government has come forward with a raft of hugely welcome support mechanisms to help small firms through this national emergency.
“Good intentions are nothing without delivery, however, and the forensic, cross-party scrutiny of this Committee will play a big role in ensuring help reaches the smallest businesses that need it most.
“As we look to recovery, this inquiry will help lay the foundations for what comes next in terms of government assistance as we emerge from the lockdown.”