Secret Covid dossier on economic damage & worst-hit ‘red’ areas revealed after ‘frustrating’ Tiers impact report

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A SECRET disaster dossier detailing the devastating economic impact of the pandemic is reported to have been drawn up at Number 10.

The Covid-19 sectoral impacts dashboard is thought to place a dozen sectors – including hospitality, aerospace, tourism and sports – in the “red” zone, meaning a raft of job losses for those working in them.

The new report is a ‘deep-dive’ into the economic impact of the pandemic after MPs were frustrated by the Tiers impact report
The PM observing the quality testing of the Covid 19 vaccine yesterday in Wrexham, North Wales

It comes after the new tier impact report was blasted by frustrated MPs as “rehashed” and “cooked up”.

Toughened up new Tiers rules will come into law on Wednesday, when the second lockdown ends, which will plunge nearly the entire country into harsher restrictions.

But backbenchers insisted that they didn’t have enough information on the economic hit that could be to come if the Tiers system stays in place until March, as is planned.

And tonight the Government put forward 48-page document filled with cut and paste information from the Office for Budget Responsibility’s forecasts and other Department of Health information.

But the unpublished dossier, seen by The Times, is said to offer a deep-dive into the economic carnage wreaked over the two lockdowns and tier systems.

Each sector is given a rating of red, amber or green depending on how badly hit it has been.

An insider familiar with the document told The Times there is a “lot of detail” contained in the new report that failed to make its way into the hands of MPs yesterday.

More than 70 Tory MPs now plan to rebel against the new Tiers system that will come into force Wednesday.

Yesterday’s report laid bare that pubs were the hardest hit industry from the lockdown, and stressed that with every rising per cent rise in unemployment, there was a two per cent rise in serious health conditions over time.

But it didn’t contain claims that Micheal Gove was told that 500,000 could lose their jobs if Tier 3 was shoved onto London, and didn’t reference the extra 50,000 which may still lose them.

In fact, the document was unable to provide any localised information at all.

In it it said: “It is also clear that restrictions to contain COVID-19 have had major impacts on the economy and public finances, even if it is not possible to forecast with confidence the precise impact of a specific change to a specific restriction.”

One Tory MP said: “It reads like an essay from one of those essay-plagiarising websites.

“If anything it’s made the mood worse.”

Mel Stride MP, Chair of the Treasury Committee, raged tonight: “On a number of occasions, I’ve requested from the Chancellor and Treasury officials that they publish an analysis of the economic impacts of the three tiers.

“With little over 24 hours until MPs vote on the new tiered system, this rehashed document offers very little further in economic terms other than that which the OBR published last week.

“It’s frustrating that there is little here that sets out how the different tiers might impact on the specific sectors and regions across the country.

“Those looking for additional economic analysis of the new tiered system will struggle to find it in this document.”

Sir Desmond Swayne told The Independent: “It doesn’t appear to offer any new data.

“It has the feel of being cooked up to meet the demand from the CRG, rather than to inform ministers in their decision.”

And Mark Harper of the Covid Recovery Group, blasted: “Even with so little time, the Government’s analysis seems to be collapsing under the glare of scrutiny.

“Before the current lockdown, incorrect death and hospital capacity modelling was leaked into the public domain to justify it, we asked for full details.  We have asked repeatedly for the information that vindicates these hospital projections and they have not been forthcoming.

“We are now seeing that, once again, the wheels are coming off the Government’s arguments.”  

MPs have demanded information on the economic consequences of lockdown for weeks.

Earlier today Cabinet minister George Eustice admitted the tiers were “draconian” and “unfair” to some.

But he stressed that it was necessary to keep infections low when England comes out of the national lockdown on Wednesday.

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