By Emmanuel Sebbag, Third Year, History
The handling of the Covid-19 pandemic could be a defining issue for our generation along with setting the course of our nation for the next several years.
While we can venture a guess at what that future might entail, what seems undeniable is that our national response will continue to affect our lives long after the vaccines are administered, and lockdowns lifted.
Understanding and having a voice in this nationwide crisis is essential for students because, while we may emerge from this pandemic comparatively unscathed, we may be the ones shouldering the future economic burden.
The current government has rightfully tried to navigate this difficult period by investing in healthcare and vaccines as well as offering public support through programs such as the furlough schemes. However, this may have created an illusion of stability, precariously maintained by government loans, which threatens to come crashing down when we are forced to tackle this deficit in the coming years.
We are now beginning to understand the damage that this pandemic has caused. A recent announcement showed that the 2020 GDP was down 9.9 percent, making it the worst annual decline since the year 1709. While a recession is by no means a surprise, the extent of it may be.
A struggling economy is a worry for students in any situation. The difficulties of securing a job following university even in a stable economic climate have been well publicised and criticised over the last few years.
We are now beginning to understand the damage that this pandemic has caused
The adjustment process that businesses will now have to go through after the pandemic, and the growing pains that come with it, are justifiably cause for concern among those entering the job market.
While this relates to the more immediate problems we expect to face, with each pandemic relief policy introduced by the government, the national debt continues to loom larger and larger in the background. However, the news is not all bad.
The speed with which the vaccine has been rolled out has encouraged many to be cautiously optimistic that the UK economy may be on the upswing.
I’m certain that everyone appreciates the immediate and desperate needs of all of our family and friends, which the government has tried to address in their response. The pandemic has placed a responsibility on all of us to support the vulnerable in our society and keep this country afloat in a time of crisis.
But that does not mean that we should be unaware of the potential repercussions that this may have.
Given the long-term effects that the government’s actions may have on our society, it is of vital importance that students be aware of the current situation and voice their concerns as the nation considers its future.
Featured Image: Unsplash / Matt Smart
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