The Bank of England forecasts are out and they make for grim reading. The experts on Threadneedle Street predict that inflation will soar to 13 per cent, with Britain expected to undergo five consecutive quarters of recession. Interest rates are being hiked to 1.75 per cent – the biggest jump in 27 years – and there’s increased fears about what this all means for a looming winter heating crisis.
In such circumstances, you might expect it to be all hands to the pump in Westminster to try to calm fears. But over at 10 Downing Street and the Treasury, it seems that there’s a more relaxed approach to Britain’s current economic woes.
For Mr S hears that while Boris Johnson is currently on holiday, his next-door-neighbour Nadhim Zahawi is currently away from his desk too. Simon Clarke, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, is also believed to not presently be working in Whitehall either. Both men are believed to working wherever they may be, with Zahawi expected to be doing meetings remotely. He told Mr S:
“For me, like I'm sure lots of others, there is no such thing as a holiday and not working. I never had that in the private sector, not in government. Ask any entrepreneur and they can tell you that. Millions of us dream about getting away with our families but the privilege and responsibility of public service means that you never get to switch off, that’s why I have had calls and briefings every day and continue to do so.
Given that today’s forecasts have been in the calendar for months, it seems a little odd then that no-one in Downing Street considered the optics of both the Prime Minister and the Chancellor being away in the middle of a cost-of-living catastrophe.
Crisis? What crisis?