LONG term recovery, the acceleration of a cashless society and the new lockdown were debated by columnists and contributors in yesterday’s newspapers.

The Guardian

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the Covid crisis and the economic crisis were entering a ‘dangerous new phase.’

“With the UK economy collapsing by 25% in March and April – a fall twice as bad as those in Europe and the US and now only halfway back to pre-crisis level – a recovery plan is needed,” he said. “Millions of people – not 200,000 as now – must be tested every day if the mass return to the workplace is not to result in a second wave of the disease.”

He said that with the furlough scheme set to end on October 31 new job protection measures were needed.

“Having led the country through one big crisis after 2008 – I had to learn quickly, and learn from my own mistakes,” he said. “ I found back then that it was not enough just to do day-to-day crisis management, or even to be one step ahead of events; the real challenge is to anticipate the next problem but one.”

He said he feared those in charge had not given enough thought to engineering a long term recovery.

“I am shocked that now – with the world’s economies simultaneously damaged by the pandemic and an economic shock far worse than back then – the world’s leaders have done so little work together in response,” he added. “A strong alliance encompassing trades unions and businesses can not only press for a recovery plan but also revive the spirit of cooperation and unity across our country – and, through a newfound solidarity, give the British people what we need most: hope.”

The Scotsman

Mike Elliff, chief executive of Tyl, said the ripple effect of the pandemic had ‘indisputably’ accelerated the nation’s shift away from cash.

“When the UK first went into lockdown, shoppers were forced to abandon the high street, salons prepared to close, and pubs rung for last orders in a lockdown that would go on to last for nearly five months,” he said. “The level of resilience that we saw from our country’s small businesses in the face of such adversity was admirable.”

He said restaurants started offering home deliveries and salons started offering gift cards.

“Such a shift in consumer preference toward contactless payments required an immediate and substantial leap in technology and recent Tyl research found that UK SMEs moved to accept contactless payments at an increasingly rapid rate,” he said. “Cards also offer a more secure form of payment than their cash counterpart, with customers able to freeze their account at the touch of a button.”

He warned that we should remember those who might struggle with a move to a cashless society, such as the elderly or those without access to a bank account.

“At Tyl, we are committed to supporting those in need and have pledged to donate a percentage of each transaction to charity,” he added.

“We recognise the need for communities to lean on one another and are working closely with our merchants to develop ways for them to support their local customer base as we look to a post-Covid future.”

The Daily Mail

Sebastian Shakespeare said Sir David Frost’s son George - who dealt with the loss of his father and brother in his 20s - had decried the ‘ridiculous’ handling of the pandemic and the new ban of meetings of more than six people.

“’It’s the biggest knee-jerk reaction — so much more than the symptoms have merited,’ George tells me.

“He points out that the Covid-19 death rate is extremely low —comparable, in fact, to the 12 people under the age of 35 who die each week from undetected heart problems.

“’Are we banning sport among that age group? Of course we aren’t!’ fumes George.”

Working in the hospitality industry George fears for the future, he said.

“’The Government-led reaction to this will be looked back on with shame and incredulity,’” he said.

“[His brother] Wilf’s return, adds George, would be the perfect Christmas present for his ‘incredibly stoic’ mother Lady Carina Frost, daughter of the 17th Duke of Norfolk.

“’She’s lost her son and her husband. It is utterly insane she can no longer have friends over.’”