Top civil servants warned of ‘deep scarring effects’ of lockdowns

Officials at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform reported that the lifting of level 5 restrictions before Christmas did not have an ‘immediate and positive impact on the labour market’

15th February, 2021
Top civil servants warned of ‘deep scarring effects’ of lockdowns
More than a fortnight after the second lockdown was lifted in December, only 17,000 claimants of the PUP had returned to work in retail, while 40,000 continued to claim the payment. Picture: Getty

Fewer workers than expected returned to their jobs in December as large sectors of the economy reopened, raising fears within government of the “deep scarring effects” of “stop/start public health restrictions”.

Internal briefings at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) show that officials worried in mid-December that the lifting of level 5 restrictions at the beginning of that month had “not resulted in the same immediate and significant...

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