Spring is late this year. The March to June quarter – usually a hopeful time that ushers in new life and the promise of a fresh start – was wiped out in 2020 by COVID-19. Many families have spent weeks at home worrying whether they, their relatives and friends would survive to face any sort of future worth having.
Well, it has certainly not been pretty, but there have been some truly uplifting moments, along with shining examples of what can be achieved in adversity. We are all sometimes guilty of seeing what we want to see, but, if you look beyond the grim predictions of the doubters and career ‘gloomsters’ in the media and politics, you can spot the green shoots poking through.
Surely no one who would begrudge Captain Tom Moore his recent knighthood by the hand of the Queen. After all, the 100-year-old did raise over £30m through sheer grit and determination when others – those who should have been out there doing their bit – spent their time on self-promotion and political sniping.
In similar vein, who can now doubt the value of our NHS? The selfless way in which nurses, doctors, carers and other staff put themselves on the line – some paying the ultimate price for their courage – has done more to further the cause of this 72-year-old institution than any publicity campaign could ever hope to achieve. Future funding should not be an issue now.
Meanwhile, our brilliant scientists at the University of Oxford have developed a vaccine that promises to combat the virus; the Government is so confident that it has ordered 100m doses in advance of further trials. Elsewhere, £14m has been pledged for firms to make an extra million face masks a week so that the public can follow new guidelines without affecting supplies to the NHS.
One the wider business front, the Bank of England’s Chief Economist, Andy Haldane, has told a Treasury Select Committee that the UK economy has recovered roughly half the fall in output suffered at the height of the pandemic in March/April. The country really is bouncing back.
Rising unemployment is obviously a worry for most businesses. However, all UnitBirwelco sites are now open, including Immingham which suffered a period of closure. Those who have been working from home are slowly coming back. We are very much part of the recovery and are looking forward to a challenging but healthy future.