Self-isolation rules could still be costing the economy £2bn a month, says IEA economist


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Mark Littlewood writes for The Times

Tax and Fiscal Policy
Commenting on reports that the Prime Minister will end the legal requirement to self-isolate, Julian Jessop, Economics Fellow at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“It is hard to quantify the economic impact of scrapping legal requirements to self-isolate, as the rules have already been substantially eased.

“There is always a possibility that ending the restrictions may make people more nervous, or lead to a renewed surge in cases, though the risks here are now much lower.

“Nonetheless, the requirement to self-isolate could still be keeping more than a million people from working, or 3 per cent of the labour force. Businesses may be able to find temporary fixes to limit the damage, such as asking other staff to work longer hours. However, these rules could still be reducing GDP by at least 1 per cent, costing the economy £2 billion every month.

“The UK economy is already bouncing back after the lifting of Plan B restrictions and the threat of Omicron subsiding. Ending the legal requirement to self-isolate should add to the positive momentum.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

Contact: Emily Carver, Head of Media, 07715 942 731

IEA spokespeople are available for interview and further comment.



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